What Is a Sufficient Humidity Level Outside?

For most people, a relative humidity level of 45 to 55 percent is considered pleasant. Humidity levels differ greatly from location to place and season to season. It’s critical to be mindful of humidity levels both outside and within your home, as high or low relative humidity levels might have significant health consequences.

The amount of water vapour in the air around us is measured by humidity levels. Humidity can be measured in two ways: absolute and relative humidity. Absolute humidity refers to the amount of water vapour in the air, whereas relative humidity refers to the ratio of absolute humidity to the highest attainable absolute humidity for the current temperature. Cooler air can store less water vapour than warmer air.

The relative humidity level approaches 100 percent as more water vapour gathers in the air. When clouds generate rain, this indicates that the humidity level within the cloud has reached 100%, and the air must expel the extra moisture as rain. At the ground level, 100 percent humidity can indicate that rain is on the way. Rain at ground level, on the other hand, does not always imply that the humidity level in that location is at 100%.

While many people believe that temperature is the most important component in determining their level of comfort, relative humidity can have a big impact on how we feel. High relative humidity, when combined with high temperatures, can be hazardous to youngsters and the elderly, as the body has a harder time cooling off when both the temperature and humidity are high. Humans sweat to keep our bodies from overheating in hot weather, but too much water vapour in the air can prevent sweat from evaporating off our skin, leaving us overheated.

Low relative humidity levels, like high humidity, might give the impression that the air is cooler than it actually is. Low relative humidity might also cause health problems. Because cold winter air can store less water vapour than warmer air, the air feels dry in the winter. Cold air combined with low relative humidity can induce respiratory issues, dehydration, dry and itchy skin, and an increased risk of colds and other infections.

Both high and low humidity have an impact on your living environment. If the interior of your home has a humidity level of 45 to 55 percent during the summer, there is a greater probability of mould forming in your home. If your home’s air has a low relative humidity level throughout the winter, there’s a greater likelihood of wood floors or surfaces shrinking and warping, as well as fungi growing in the structure.

In the winter, when the humidity level is low, use a humidifier to keep your home at a comfortable humidity level all year. Placing water containers near your heat ducts, as well as living house plants, can assist raise the humidity in your home. If your home’s relative humidity level is too high during the summer, try using a dehumidifier, air conditioning, or exhaust fans to reduce the humidity level to 45 to 55 percent.

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Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.

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