North Carolina summers are notoriously hot and humid, but when this humidity gets too high indoors, problems can occur. Recommended humidity levels indoors are between 30 and 50 percent, but can often exceed that during the hot summer months, especially during a particularly rainy season.
High humidity can cause many problems in your home such as mold, mildew, dust mites, rust, wood swelling and doors sticking, in addition to creating a generally uncomfortable environment. A humid home can also cause health problems, such as allergies with itchy eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing and difficulty breathing, and may worsen asthma.
You canâ€™t do anything to control the hot, humid North Carolina climate, but you can take several steps to reduce an overly humid indoor environment.
Here are some simple tips for reducing humidity in your home:
- Make sure your home is airtight. Caulk any structural cracks or gaps and use weather stripping around doors and windows.
- Cut down on those household tasks that produce water vapor. Take shorter showers and use cooler water. Cook using the microwave rather than the stove as much as possible. When boiling water, do not remove the lid.
- Use energy-efficient ceiling fans to keep indoor air moving and keep the air drier.
- Install exhaust vents in bathrooms and over the kitchen range.
- Schedule an annual air conditioner tune-up with your HVAC contractor to perform maintenance that is crucial for the dehumidifying function of your AC.
- Vent your clothes dryer outside.
- Get rid of carpet, which holds in moisture.
- Install a dehumidifier. A whole-house dehumidifier installed in the HVAC system can reduce humidity to a safe and comfortable level.Â Portable dehumidifiers are also quite effective, but have to be emptied daily.