Age-Friendly Homes

Is it Cold in here, or is it just me?

We all know that fresh air is good for us – but do you know how to keep your indoor air healthy?

Is it Cold in here, or is it just me? Keeping a healthy home is important for everyone.

We all know that fresh air is good for us – but do you know how to keep your indoor air healthy? When is the last time you checked your indoor humidity levels? The more humid the air in your home is, the colder you are likely to feel – and the higher your heating bills will be too!

In the colder winter months it is only natural to want to keep the warmth inside and the cold out. But, by hunkering down and closing your windows, you might inadvertently be adding to the problem of cold and damp weather. You might even be creating unhealthy humidity levels inside your home.

There are many daily activities that can cause high humidity, including:

  • Us – we breathe… a lot!
  • Showering and Bathing
  • Washing and Cooking

And the more of these we do, the higher the humidity level will be. Moreover, the problem is compounded further by a lack of ventilation due to a missing trickle vents in windows, closed-tight windows or not using air handling units. The truth is, without extracting some of that damp air, we are creating unhealthy homes that can make us ill.

High levels of humidity are damaging to our health and our pocket! High humidity:

  • Makes a space feel colder, after all, you are sitting in a damp-air soup that takes longer to heat up than dry air and feels colder to the skin
  • Promotes the growth of mould, some of which produce toxic mould spores
  • Increases the risk of respiratory infection

Healthy Humidity

The healthy range of humidity in the average home is between 45-55% (but a range of 40-60% is sometimes acceptable). We at Living Well at Home Ltd will often come across homes with excessively high levels of 80% or more – and the household had no idea!

Image of a £10 monitor called a Hygrometer. This measures the humidity and temperature of a room.
For just £10 you can monitor the indoor humidity of your home

It is easy to purchase a device that will let you keep an eye on your home’s health. A low-cost monitor (called a hygrometer) like the ThermoPro TP50 from just £10 will measure your humidity and room temperature reasonably accurately (within 2-5%). Or alternatively you could opt for an all-singing, all-dancing monitor that will measure humidity and other forms of pollutant in the home. These range from £120 to well over £3,000 (!) – but are a worthwhile investment in our opinion!

What to do if you have high humidity at home:

Try to work out the specific causes of the humidity:

  • If your windows lack trickle ventilation think about sporadic ‘flushing’ of the air. To do this, open all your windows and doors for 5-10 minutes at a time, to replace all the indoor air. If you do a quick ‘flush’, the fabric of your home shouldn’t lose too much heat, it is just the air that you are replacing.

(In the longer term, think about getting trickle vents installed into the frames, or replacing your windows)

  • If you dry your freshly washed clothes indoors all the time, think about investing in a Dehumidifier. This is a compact, plug-in machine that sucks damp air in and extracts the moisture from the air.
  • Think about whether your bathroom, kitchen and utility has a good quality extractor fan. We like the Humidistatically controlled versions, where the fan is activated once the humidity reaches a certain critical level. As a result, regardless of whether you are using the bathroom or not, the fan will do its work.
  • Finally, if you are planning a Grand Design then a high quality air handling system will do the work for you.

HomeCheck service

If you want a more comprehensive assessment of how healthy your home is then our range of HomeCheck Services can help you. Find out more here:

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