If you live in a humid climate, you know how uncomfortable it can be when the air is thick with moisture. You may feel like you can't breathe, your clothes stick to your skin, and your hair is always frizzy. This is why air conditioning is so important: it cools your house and conditions the air to control the humidity. When the humidity levels inside your home are off, it can impact your comfort and health.

Humidity levels that are too high can make breathing difficult and cause skin irritation. When the humidity level is high, the air feels thicker and stickier. Similarly, when the humidity levels inside your home are too low, you might experience nosebleeds, dry skin, and problems with allergies. So, what humidity level is uncomfortable? The human body generally prefers a humidity level of between 30 and 50 percent. Humidity levels above 60 percent can cause discomfort. Let's take a closer look at how humidity affects your comfort level.

What is relative humidity?

Humidity is the amount of water vapour in the air. It affects comfort because it influences two primary factors that affect how people feel: temperature and air quality. The higher the humidity, the more difficult it is for your body to lose heat, which makes you feel warmer. The relative humidity is determined by the temperature of the air and the amount of moisture in the air. Warm air can hold more moisture than cool air, so when the temperature and the amount of water are the same, the relative humidity will be 100 percent. When the air is 100 percent saturated, it’s said to have reached its dew point. Once the air reaches its dew point, the moisture condenses on windows, refrigerators, and other objects in your home. As the temperature increases, the relative humidity will decrease. When the temperature decreases, the relative humidity will increase.

What happens when the humidity level is too low?

Indoor humidity levels that are too low can have several impacts on your health, comfort, and home. When the humidity level inside your home is too low, the air will be dry. If the humidity in your home is too low, you may experience discomfort from a dry perspective. Low humidity can cause skin dryness and irritation, leading to itchy skin, eczema, and other skin problems. It can also cause respiratory problems, such as dry throat, nasal congestion, and difficulty breathing. Air that is too dry can also increase the number of dust mites, which can aggravate allergies and asthma. In addition, low humidity can cause wood floors, furniture, and other wooden objects to shrink and crack. You can use a humidifier to help increase the humidity levels in your home.

What if your indoor humidity level is too high?

The air could become too moist when the humidity level inside your home exceeds 50 percent. If the humidity in your home is too high, you may experience discomfort from excess moisture. This could manifest as clammy skin, a stuffy nose, or difficulty breathing. You may also see condensation on windows and other surfaces, which could cause damage to wooden and metal furniture. Additionally, if the moisture levels inside your home are too high, it could lead to the growth of dangerous mold and mildew. If the humidity is significantly increased, you will likely need to use a dehumidifier to lower it.

Altogether, humidity's effect on comfort is significant. It can make you feel too cold or too hot and make you feel more tired and less productive. To be as comfortable as possible, it's essential to keep humidity levels in your home within a reasonable range.