Have you ever gone down into a basement and it smells like a wet dog? How about walking down a creaky hallway, trying not to wake family members in your house? Both are signs of a humidity problem in a home and should be remedied for maximum comfort – and, in some cases, safety. Here’s how you can check your home humidity levels.
Signs Of Humidity Problems
There is no better initial instrument to check for a humidity issue than using your five senses. A musty or moldy smell is a very big indicator that an area of your home has too much moisture. Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air, says that mold can grow at a 60 percent humidity level. That means you may be able to see mold growth in places where you are getting too much moisture.
When it comes to the other end of the spectrum – not enough moisture in your home – you’ll be able to see it, hear it, and feel it. You may see cracks in wood flooring or furnishings. You may hear your floors and doors creak a little bit more – especially in the drier winter months. And you may feel some of the more uncomfortable signs of low humidity – static electric shocks, dry skin, and chapped lips.
Unfortunately, some of these signs of a humidity imbalance can be more than uncomfortable, but also lead to heath issues and damage to your home. With low humidity, the chapped skin and lips can mean more colds and viruses or skin infections. In your home, it can mean warping doors, splitting furniture, peeling paint.
And with high humidity and mold comes a big list of concerns – allergy and asthma problems, and pests eating away at any wood rot happening in your home. And if neglected too long, that mold can lead to respiratory issues and structural damage to your home.
Instruments To Help
Besides using your senses to determine if you have a humidity problem, there are instruments and tools to help you get a more accurate sense of what you are dealing with when it comes to humidity in your home.
Keith says one of the better instruments is a hygrometer – or humidity gauge – and that many new digital thermostats have them built in.
“That makes it very convenient – we already look to the thermostat for temperature, so why not have both on the same device?” he says. “Many can be set up to display it on the main screen along with temperature. Some require you to push a button to see it. Some that are internet-linked will show you temperature and humidity on your smartphone or tablet.”
Keith says that most of the thermostats that have built-in humidity sensors will also control a humidity appliance such as a humidifier or a dehumidifier. He says to check with a pro to see what options there are for your system because a whole house humidifier/dehumidifier is one of the best solutions for remedying moisture issues. For other solutions check out our article on home humidity solutions.
If you need a separate device to read humidity, look for a quality digital device, says Keith. “Low priced humidity gauges are not accurate,” he says. “Spend a few extra dollars to get a precise instrument.”
Managing your home’s humidity levels will leave you feeling healthier and more comfortable while protecting your house at the same time.