February 26, 2018
Have you ever wondered why some winter days sting colder than others, and some summer days are almost suffocatingly hot? More often than not, the culprit is humidity.
Humidity is a measurement of the amount of water in the air we breathe--typically in the form of water vapor. Humidity plays an important role in your overall comfort, and too high or low humidity can cause health problems.
You may have heard the term “relative humidity” and “absolute humidity” during a weather forecast.
Absolute humidity is the total amount of water vapor that is present in a certain amount of air. If temperature changes, so will absolute humidity; for example--warmer temperatures have higher absolute humidity because air is able to hold more water vapor at higher temperatures.
Relative humidity is the most common way to talk about humidity, and is usually what you’ll hear humidity being expressed as in weather reports. Relative humidity is the ratio of the current absolute humidity to the highest possible absolute humidity, depending on the current temperature--which means relative humidity is reported as a percentage, and the higher the percentage, the more humid the air.
Humidity is always present in our air, and while we typically associate it with outdoor weather, it’s incredibly important to remember that humidity indoors can also affect our health.
Aside from playing a major role in our overall comfort, too high or too low humidity can also lead to health problems--so it’s important to maintain your air’s humidity to just the right amount.
Indoor humidity should be kept between 20% and 60%.
High humidity indoors can be very uncomfortable--causing the air to feel stale and warmer than it truly is. Humidity over 60% can also cause mold and mildew growth, affecting allergies and other health hazards.
If your indoor humidity is below 20%, you’ll start to experience eye, nose, skin, and throat irritation. If you wear contact lenses, they can become irritated as well.
The best way to have healthy humidity in your home is by understanding its exact levels with the help of an indoor air quality monitor, like Awair.
There are plenty of plants that act as natural humidifiers in your home, such as the areca palm. If you want constant control of your humidity levels, the useful Awair Glow can automate humidifiers and dehumidifiers in your home, depending on your air quality at any given time.
The airborne pollution caused by catastrophic wildfire seasons caught many people off-guard and unprepared. Miles away from blaze sites, people were experiencing the health symptoms of inhaling high PM2.5 and ozone (O3) concentrations. Although exposure to wildfire smoke may only last a few days or weeks, the impacts on your health can be much longer-lasting.
While it’s easy to visualize “air pollution” as images of cars idling or toxic gases coming out of smokestacks, the indoor environment can also be impacted in subtle ways. Since air quality is largely invisible, it’s crucial to monitor its effects at home and in businesses because pollutants can come from inside sources, such as household cleaning chemicals and upholstery polishes, or outdoor air can enter buildings and impact human health. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has said that “Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.” Everything from aerosol sprays to building materials can play a role in releasing harmful byproducts that pose threats to health, safety, and comfort.
One of the biggest challenges you can face as a renter is how to make your apartment feel like your own. It isn’t easy decorating and expressing your personal style while having to draw within the lines of the long list of rules on your lease. If you’ve gotten creative and figured out a few ways to change up the apartment’s aesthetic to make it feel like more like your apartment, you’re on the right track! There’s another way you can take control of your apartment like any homeowner beyond decorating, and it involves how healthy you choose to make your space.