Humidity is an ever-present hazard in Boca Raton, Florida. There is no way to avoid the high humidity levels outside, so it’s important to understand what this excessive moisture means for your health and how you can handle it in your home. Managing indoor humidity properly will help you to stay comfortable and avoid many potentially serious health problems.
Humidity and Heat Exhaustion
Most people think of high humidity as a major discomfort, but they don’t always associate it with serious health problems. In hot weather, your body produces sweat as a cooling mechanism. However, humidity makes it difficult for the heat to evaporate off your skin. Though you’re probably sweating and feeling plenty damp, the air’s soaring moisture levels keep the perspiration on your skin. This, in turn, will cause the body to gradually overheat.
As heat exhaustion sets in, you may experience cramps, dizziness, weakness, or fainting. Your body may sweat excessively in an attempt to keep your temperature under control, but this causes its own problems. As you lose moisture through your skin, your body will become dehydrated. This can cause your fingers and limbs to swell uncomfortably as your body tries to retain emergency stores of water in response to what you’re losing.
The answer to all these problems is to drink plenty of water, take frequent breaks, and give yourself time to adjust to the high temperatures before exerting yourself physically. Make sure your home is a comfortable haven from the humidity where you can recover from the threats outside.
Mold and Mildew Growth
Mold and mildew thrive in hot, humid environments. If there is excess moisture in the air for an extended period, you can be sure that these growths will find a favorable spot to take hold in your home. Florida’s perpetually humid weather makes mold and mildew a near-constant threat. If these contaminants have made a home in your flooring or walls, they can spread quickly and compromise the structural integrity of your house.
Mold exposure can cause many health problems including congestion, throat irritation, coughing, and other respiratory issues. Some people are more sensitive to molds than others and may experience fever and shortness of breath. Mold can also cause asthma symptoms to worsen.
Indoor Air Pollutants
High humidity levels can actually cause several unexpected indoor air pollutants to worsen. Building materials that off-gas dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde will do so more easily in a humid environment. Dust mites also thrive in these environments. Though you can’t see much of this happening, you may feel the effects in the form of increased respiratory infections and fatigue.
You can minimize indoor air pollutants with an air cleaner such as an air purifier or cabinet air filter. You will also greatly improve your indoor air quality if you change your HVAC filter once a month so that it can remove pollutants effectively and enable efficient air conditioning and humidity control. However, these efforts will only minimize the effects of high humidity. You’ll have a bigger impact if you control the humidity levels to begin with.
Higher Cooling Costs
Living with high humidity will take a toll not only on your health and comfort but your wallet as well. You will perceive temperatures as being much higher when you have a lot of humidity in the air. Though you may set your thermostat to 75, it can feel closer to 80 if your home is humid. You may crank up the air in response, but your efforts won’t be as successful as you’d like. The better answer is to lower the humidity by installing a whole-home dehumidifier. That way, you won’t need to rely on your air conditioner to get rid of the excess heat.
If you are suffering from the effects of high humidity in your home, Preferred Air Conditioning & Mechanical, Inc. can help you take control. Contact us at (561) 202-1422 to discuss your options for improing indoor air quality throughout your home. We can add a whole-home dehumidifier to your HVAC system, which will go a long way toward improving comfort and health.
Image provided by Shutterstock