Long time readers of the blog will know that air conditioning was invented to deal with humidity; the cool air was just a happy accident. Printers needed to control humidity because fluctuations in water saturation would cause the paper to shrink and warp. Moisture in the air can cause serious problems for your health and home, but air that’s too dry can be problematic as well! Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of air that’s not just right.
Air that’s too humid can cause a lot of grief. The first problem is that we get cool by sweating; it’s not the sweat itself that cools you down, though! Sweat actually uses principles not too different from your air conditioning; when it evaporates, heat is drawn away from the body, because the warmth is used as energy in the transformation between liquid and gas. When air is too humid, it’s saturated with water vapor, so your sweat can’t evaporate properly; we feel particularly sweaty on humid days because the liquid isn’t going anywhere!
Humidity can wreak havoc on your home as well; high water vapor saturation in the air leads to water on the ground, on the walls, and elsewhere. This can lead to paint and wallpaper peeling, stains, and water damage; it also encourages the growth of mold, insects, and other things you don’t want in your house!
Too little humidity is just as bad as too much. You may have experienced exceptionally dry air in a desert; your skin begins to look like the desiccated landscape, cracking and splitting and drying out. Your respiratory system is meant to breathe in air that’s semi-saturated with water; air that’s too dry will make your throat sore, cause you to cough, and generally make your day less pleasant. This is especially risky for sufferers of asthma or other respiratory illnesses.
Dry air is bad for your health as well; remember the paper shrinkage that caused us to invent air conditioning in the first place? The same problem that affected that paper and your skin affects hardwood floors, instruments, and myriad other items; when things dry out, they shrink, and the shrinkage damages them.
Fortunately, you might just have a climate-controlling, humidity stabilizing machine in your very home! Air conditioned air was designed to maintain the right level of humidity in your home, so don’t think it’s just for cooling off! When you feel your home is too humid, or not humid enough, it might be a problem with your unit, so it’s worth calling your local air conditioning systems company and having them take a look at your system. There could be problems with filtration, ventilation or the refrigerant charge; all of this is especially true if you can’t seem to get the temperature of your house right. Don’t risk your health, your family’s health or your home to the dangers of fluctuating humidity, get in touch so you can breathe easy!