Indoor Air Humidity
No matter where your building is located, indoor air humidity can affect the comfort of your customers and employees, as well as proper functioning of your HVAC systems. Managing ideal indoor humidity levels should be a priority for every facility managers, especially when it comes to indoor environmental quality.
Humidity levels can have a huge impact on your IAQ. Viruses and bacteria that cause respiratory illnesses thrive in environments with extreme high and low levels of humidity. Allergens such as dust mites and mold spores also thrive best in environments with high humidity. Noxious chemicals, such as ozone and formaldehyde, are also more likely to form in high humidity environments.
During the summer, the average indoor air humidity levels in your building should fall between 30 and 45%. In the winter, some facilities may require levels lower than 40% to avoid condensation on windows. ASHRAE recommends a 45 to 55% humidity range to manage illnesses and their health effects. If you do not control humidity levels in your building, it can cause discomfort, chemical reactions, and health disorders.
How Can I Determine if My Building is too Humid?
When determining whether high humidity is present in your facility, you can look for visual signs, such as frequent window fogging, moisture build-up on ceiling tiles, and mold. Additionally, your building may have a musty odor, or the air may feel “stale.”
High humidity doesn’t just cause health issues like asthma, eye irritation, wheezing, and lung infections – it can even damage your furniture, walls, and floors. High humidity levels are most prominent during the summer and is often found in buildings with poorly functioning HVAC systems and/or inadequate ventilation. By maintaining indoor humidity levels between 40 and 60%, you can help reduce adverse health effects caused by high humidity.