Humidity, all that muggy air. It can make you uncomfortable on those warm summer days and nights which isn't much fun. In New Zealand, we experience humid weather, even in an air-conditioned home, there can be a rise in humidity levels. This isn’t good, for so many reasons.
Aside from the lack of comfort, a rise in excess air moisture can actually lead to building and property damage, can have dramatic and ongoing health repercussions for your family, and can have an impact on your hip pocket too, as energy bills increase due to running your heat pump at a higher temperature more often to counter the effects.
The recommended humidity for indoor environments is between 30% to 50% relative humidity (this simply means the amount of water vapour the air contains compared to the maximum amount it could hold at any given temperature). Levels any higher than this are unhealthy and inefficient.
Luckily, indoor humidity can be lowered through dehumidification (or increased in a dry winter through humidification). There are also times of the year when your indoor environment doesn’t necessarily need heating or cooling to be in a comfortable range, but may still need humidity control.
Some clever ducted and split system heat pump units offer the latest in cutting edge technology, which means they not only provide efficient cooling and heating for your home, but can humidify, dehumidify, ventilate and purify the air!
With some systems, you can activate the dehumidification of your home environment with the single touch of a button on a user-friendly remote control. So if the humidity has drained your energy temporarily and you can’t even get off the lounge, it doesn’t get any easier than that!
Let’s take a topline look at some of the problems high humidity levels can cause to your health, your comfort and your home:
- A moist home becomes a welcome breeding ground for allergens such as dust mites, mould and mildew
- you could therefore be susceptible to a range of symptoms of allergies or asthma
- your body can’t cool down effectively because the humidity doesn’t allow your sweat to evaporate quickly. (This is why a humid day feels so much worse than any other day at the same temperature)
- small black spots (mould spores) are prone to grow on the walls or in areas with high humidity, such as the bathtub or shower
- mould can also multiply unchecked on clothing or furniture
- musty or mildew smells linger in an excessively humid climate
- water stains may appear on the walls or ceilings of your home
- you may see frequent condensation on the windows in certain areas of your home
- you’ll experience higher than usual humidity in rooms with poor ventilation or no ventilation (especially areas like bathrooms)
The benefits of dehumidification
With these health and environmental concerns, it’s easy to see that the benefits of maintaining proper humidity control in your indoor environment cover so many areas… from personal comfort to the actual health of your family. Here’s why removing some of the excess moisture in the air through dehumidification is so important when heat pump your home. Improved comfort levels
It seems obvious to say, but dehumidification reduces humidity levels, which means levels of comfort are immediately increased. Dehumidification will help you feel more comfortable without dramatically lowering the thermostat settings on your heat pump (which means it’s more energy efficient too). You’ll immediately feel less clammy, less sweaty and less tired, as the air will feel less heavy. A healthy home
Dehumidification helps to keep indoor air at a reasonable humidity level, which helps to keep every member of the family healthy. In a nutshell, it helps you all breathe easier. Common allergy triggers, such as dust mites, mould and mildew thrive in an excessively humid environment. So if you or any family member suffers from allergies or asthma, high humidity can severely aggravate these symptoms. In fact, these allergens can even make a normally healthy person ill. Some common reactions to these moisture-loving allergens include:
- a stuffy nose
- itchy, watery eyes
- sneezing, wheezing, difficulty breathing
- skin rashes
- a diminished immune system
- diminished resistance to respiratory allergies and infections
Daikin’s split system heat pumps is approved to carry the blue butterfly symbol by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ's Sensitive Choice® program, which was introduced to help identify products that best suit people affected by asthma and allergies.
A better indoor ‘smell’
Indoor air that is free from damp, mould and mildew smells fresh and inviting. Dehumidification helps reduce odours that can accompany mould and mildew in your home, thus getting rid of that “musty” smell.
Protected clothes and fabrics
Excess moisture or humidity in your home increases the potential to develop mould on your clothing, furniture, bedlinen, towels, curtains and any other fabrics. Dehumidification can alleviate this problem.
Dehumidification can help to protect your property too – so you won’t find signs of rust or corrosion on things like computer equipment, electronics and tools.
Everything is fresher!
A less humid environment in your home means clothing will dry faster, and even breads and cereals will remain fresh longer without getting stale.
Less cleaning time
Dehumidification helps to reduce dust in your home. Less dust means you won’t have to clean as often.
Lower energy costs
Dehumidification means lower energy costs because it helps your heat pump run more efficiently. High humidity makes it seem warmer than the actual room temperature, so you may set your thermostat lower to cool your home off more. However, with the flick of switch to a dehumidification setting, you’ll be able to set your thermostat at a higher temperature, thus reducing energy usage and your bills. Also, this can have an energy-efficient knock-on effect - since you won’t need to lower the temperature as much, your heat pump won’t be constantly running.
‘Goodness, it’s humid today!’
We’ve all said that. We’ve all felt the impact. So when you consider a future heat pump system, consider how important dehumidification might be to you, your family and your home. Factors such as a predisposition to allergies or asthma and other health concerns, particularly respiratory ailments, will certainly play a big role in helping you make a decision, as will personal comfort, freshness and the energy savings you can enjoy from a smoother running heat pump unit.