Monitoring the relative humidity (RH) in your home is essential for year-round health and comfort, as well as protection for your home and belongings.
Knowing the RH in living spaces, basements, crawl spaces, and attics – even during the winter months – is helpful in understanding the effects of temperature and moisture in each environment. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends that for health purposes, RH remains between 30% – 60%, depending on the season. RH levels outside of this range can also warp wood floors and cabinetry, contribute to microbial growth, create musty odors, and leave you feeling uncomfortable.
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It is important to understand that you can’t measure relative humidity without also measuring the temperature of the air; the two go hand-in-hand. RH is just the ratio of actual moisture or water vapor in the air as compared to total saturation. Depending on the temperature, it can vary too; warmer air needs more moisture to reach its saturation point, while colder air has a much lower saturation threshold. That is why it’s called “relative” humidity – it’s all relative to how much water the air can hold.
Humidity can also be measured with a device called a hygrometer. There are several different types of hygrometers available, which can vary greatly in price. The better monitors will typically provide additional information, such as temperature and dew point, and deliver warnings when there are conditions that could be problematic. This is especially important in crawl spaces, basements, and attics, where moisture problems can easily go undetected since they aren’t frequently visited.
Last Updated on Jan 28 2021
By Nikki Krueger