As humidity levels rise in our homes, we tend to feel more uncomfortable. Moist air makes it more difficult for the perspiration on our skin to evaporate, so we experience that clammy feeling that can propel us to the thermostat, turning the temperature way down to cool off. By the same token, when conditions are too dry, our skin and mucus membranes in our respiratory passages may dry out, leading to cracking and discomfort.
If you have a baby at home, you may have some concerns about baby room humidity. The fact is, proper humidity levels for an infant are pretty much the same as for older children and adults: between 30 and 60 percent.
Maintaining Proper Humidity Levels
In summer, warmer air holds more moisture, so we usually strive for home humidity on the lower end, while in winter, with drier air, we might want a little more humidity. Either way, it's a good idea to have a hygrometer in your home so you can track the relative humidity -- particularly if you're concerned about the baby, or anyone else whose health is affected by too much or too little moisture.
Your HVAC system regulates humidity by drawing moisture out of the home's air so that you feel more comfortable. However, if the home feels too dry or too damp, you may want to help the HVAC system along by adding or subtracting moisture.
If the home is too damp, make sure there are no plumbing leaks or any other obvious problems that may be contributing to high moisture levels. You may also want to install a whole-house dehumidifier. Portable models are available, but they must be emptied and moved from room to room, whereas a whole-home model disposes of the moisture through plumbing.
Likewise, if the home is too dry, you can add a portable or whole-home humidifier.
There are many different models, so talk to our HVAC consultant about the one that will work best for you and your baby room humidity. Visit the Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar website for more on ideal humidity and most other HVAC topics, or call (408) 868-5500.