Humidity testing measures the amount of water vapour (water that has turned from a liquid to an invisible gas) in the air. The amount of water vapour in the air depends upon the air temperature. For example, warm air can hold more moisture than cold air. Relative humidity (rH) is the ratio of moisture in the air compared to the maximum amount of moisture that the air can hold. BSure offers humidity testing in Auckland and the North Shore.
When the air contains as much vapour as it can possibly hold for the current temperature, the humidity level is said to be at 100% and the air is saturated. This is referred to as reaching its dew point. It is at this dew point stage when water droplets or condensation becomes visible in the home on windows, walls and other objects. A relative humidity of 0% would indicate that no water vapour is present. Humidity levels can change throughout the day.
Why the level of humidity in your home should concern you
Knowing the relative humidity in your home is important as it can affect your comfort, your home and most importantly your health!
The ideal relative humidity for health and comfort in your home is around 40-50%, although in the winter months it may have to be lower in order to avoid condensation on the windows.
The Negative effects of High Humidity
When indoor humidity is too high (above 55%), people tend to consider the room to be hot and stuffy even though the temperature may be at a level that is normally comfortable.
Negative effects of High Humidity on your Health include:
- Personal discomfort – our bodies become less efficient at releasing heat so we sweat. This however is the least of your problems when it comes to high humidity!
- Respiratory problems, skin rashes, stomach problems – due to mould (mildew) spores which thrive in high humidity and can be extremely toxic once they get in your body. If mould is clearly visible inside your home you have a problem that needs immediate attention. Even if you can’t see any mould it could be spreading through the vents, or behind walls.
- Asthma and allergies – dust mites love humidity and they are one of the biggest enemies for sufferers.
Negative effects of High Humidity on your Home include:
- Mould – which develops in extremely humid and poorly ventilated areas, such as basements. At its worst it can spread inside walls and into the foundations, compromising the buildings structural integrity.
- Damaged woodwork – humidity slowly bends the woodwork inside of a house. Floorboards begin to creak and bend and furniture gets damaged.
- Peeling paint and wet stains on the wall – this is a sign that humidity levels are out of control.
The Negative effects of Low Humidity
When the indoor humidity drops below 25% the dry air also reduces comfort.
Negative effects of Low Humidity on your Health include:
- Dry, irritated eyes – due to the airs moisture balance.
- Dry, scaly, itchy skin – as the low humidity reduces the amount of moisture in your skin.
- Cracked skin which provides an easy route for bacteria and toxins to enter your body increasing your risk to sickness.
Negative effects of Low Humidity on your Home include:
- Peeling wallpaper, plants drying out – due to the dry air.
- Hardwood floors and/or wooden furniture cracking or separating at the seams – because they lose their moisture and contract.
Negative effects of high or low humidity on your wallet
- Health problems which will cost you money with trips to the doctors, for medicine etc.
- Replacing damaged floorboards and woodwork around your home which could set you back a small fortune!
It is clear that both high and low humidity can have drastic consequences upon your health; your home and your bank balance. Okay, so where we see it we can deal with it, but what about those areas where the mould is invisible to us but growing and thriving rapidly? This is where BSure can help. We can measure the humidity levels of a building and let you know what you may or may not be dealing with.
Humidity Testing can give you peace of mind
Relative humidity is measured with an instrument called a hygrometer. Here at BSure we can test both new and old properties to determine humidity variance. If a reading is higher or lower it points to possible leaky home problems which we would then investigate further with our other equipment and moisture testing services. Forewarned is forearmed so book your building inspection now!