Humidity: What it is and how to deal with it

Humidity is something that you deal with every single day. Whether you’re inside your home or outside in the elements, humidity exists, and it varies with the weather conditions. In excess, it can make you feel uncomfortable and sweaty, but in deficits it can make your skin feel dry and stale. In this article we will discuss humidification and dehumidification and how they are applied to your HVAC system.


We have currently been dealing with a frigid cold front throughout the United States. Temperatures have decreased below freezing and as you might expect, the average humidity levels in the atmosphere have dropped. This is because colder air cannot handle as much humidity as warmer air.


Consider this for example, it is 41 degrees outside, and the relative humidity is 100%. That equates to 0.2 grams of water in the atmosphere. Since you would be very uncomfortable at 41 degrees indoors, you decide to heat your home to 73 degrees. The absolute amount of water in the air stays the same, but the relative humidity drops to only 33%.


This same principle holds true in the summer as well. At 86 degrees and 80% humidity, the air holds 0.8oz/m3 of water. Obviously, you do not want your home to be 86 degrees inside, so you cool it down to 78 degrees. When this happens the humidity level rises to 100%, meaning the air cannot hold any more moisture.


Why does this matter? Well, humidity greatly influences your comfort level inside your home. The answer is not as simple as turning up or down the thermostat. By controlling humidity and temperature together, you can find your optimal level of comfort no matter what time of year or environmental circumstance.


For some people, your situation might call for additional humidity. For others, you may need a decrease in humidity. Correcting the humidity levels in your home can help alleviate the following symptoms:

  • Sinus congestion
  • Asthema/respiratory issues
  • Dry throat
  • Nose irritation
  • Dry cough
  • Cracked lips or hands
  • Feeling sweaty and/or cold
This Aprilaire humidifier works with your central air system to keep your whole home comfortable.
This Aprilaire humidifier works with your central air system to keep your whole home comfortable.

If you need additional humidity, you can consider having one of these humidifier options installed in your house:

  • Bypass humidifier – a bypass humidifier adds humidity to your home by using the fan inside the air handler and a water panel. Although a less efficient option it is often a cheaper alternative to other humidifiers.
  • Flow- through humidifier – flow-through humidifiers are like bypass humidifiers, but they have their own fan, so they can add humidity even when the air handler is not running.
  • Steam humidifier – steam humidifiers are often the most effective and expensive option. They use boiling water and air from the air handler to add humidity to your home.



In situations that need dehumidification, in addition to the symptoms listed above, you may notice that your house has mold spores, musty odors, mildew, and a build up of bacteria in certain areas. Excessive damp air can also contribute to damage to your home’s structure and items you have stored.


If this is your situation, you can consider adding a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier removes humidity from the air by taking in moisture through a high-efficiency air filter. That wet air is pulled through the dehumidifier which contains a cold evaporator coil. Once the humid air condenses on the coil, the water droplets are expelled from the house through a condensation line. The new, cold air is then warmed by the condenser coil and supplied to the area(s) that needs it.


So, what are some steps you can take to address the humidity levels in your home? The first step is to contact our office and have one of our technicians address your situation. There are plenty of options we can take to monitor and adjust the humidity levels in your home. To begin the process now, you can view some of the products we have available by following the link to our website! Whatever your situation is, Speir Heating & Air aims to provide you with the best solution possible. We have the knowledge and experience to give you a comfortable home to live in!