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Indoor Air Quality Too Damp? Here's What's Going On

April 23, 2013 | Blog

Located right on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, the Coastal Bend can get quite humid during the long cooling season. Excess humidity can degrade your home’s indoor air quality, especially if your HVAC system isn’t prepared to handle it.

Relative humidity measures the amount of water vapor that’s present in the air. The relative humidity in Corpus Christi often approaches 90 percent in warmer months, leaving the air outside uncomfortably hot, stuffy and basically unbearable. The same can happen inside if your home’s indoor air becomes saturated with large amounts of moisture.

Ordinary activities within the home can reduce indoor air quality by raising relative humidity:

  • Normal household activities such as cooking, showering or cleaning
  • Moist firewood and house plants
  • Wet shoes or clothing
  • Devices that intentionally generate humidity (humidifiers, facial saunas, etc.)
  • Unvented gas or kerosene heaters

When water vapor loses its gaseous form and transitions back to a liquid, condensation tends to form on the coldest nearby structures. Condensation becomes more pronounced in the presence of high humidity and extreme temperature differentials. A home suffering from excess moisture in the air often has problems with damp, rotted or moldy insulation, walls and other building materials.

To keep condensation from forming, most HVAC experts recommend that a home’s relative humidity remain below 60 percent during warm months and below 40 percent during periods of cold. Your air conditioner, combined with a whole house dehumidifier, should be able to easily control excess amounts of humidity in your home, thereby ensuring better indoor air quality. For contractors and homeowners, simply sealing air conduits, wall and ceiling cracks, junctions and areas around switches and outlets produces an effective air barrier that can help keep moisture-laden air out of walls.

CCAC, Inc. has more helpful indoor air quality tips for homeowners living on the Coastal Bend. Contact us today to learn more about keeping excess humidity at bay.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about Indoor Air Quality and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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