The term humidity refers to the vaporized water existent in the air surrounding us. We commonly hear of relative humidity i.e. the percentage of water vapor measured in the air at a specific temperature. Absolute humidity is the total mass of water vapor in particular volume of air at a given time. It is a well-understood fact that warm air can hold greater quantity of water vapor than cold air. Since air conditioner and heater both alter the air temperature, the humidity level indoors changes significantly with their use.
Humidity Levels And Comfort
The relative humidity level for comfortable condition of the human body is between 20 and 60 percent. For home environment an average 35 to 40 percent relative humidity is optimum given an outside temperature of 20°F or more. But during winter, water vapors on windows and inside of walls occur, raising the humidity level inside. This may cause damage to the structures. In such a case, you need to adjust both your air conditioner and heater to lower degrees. The air conditioner lowers the temperature, which induces condensation on the inner sides of windowpanes. A heater, on the other hand, speeds up the process of evaporation from moisture contained in household items. However, running a patio heater in times of higher humidity inside can counter the problem to some degrees. With air conditioner and heater units, using a humidifier is the best option.
The most obvious signs of discomfort caused by low humidity levels indoors are dry nose and throat, itching, dryness of skin and hair, and irritation of the respiratory tract. To increase the humidity level, instead of an air conditioner and heater, you can use a humidifier. The increase can be brought about in three ways. First, by evaporating more water inside. Here you can use your heater to speed up the process. Take care not to set the heating level too high or you can possibly harm both your health and the indoor plants. The second way is to let air circulate through your room from a wet pad or by discharging a very fine mist of water into your room. For this, you have to add water manually on a regular basis until the desired level of comfort is attained. The third method employs direct introduction of moisture into the room, by means of a furnace.
While using air conditioner and heater for regulating temperature indoor, always use a humidity control unit so as to prevent the levels of humidity from going too high or too low and cause possible health problems as well as structural damage.