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The Effects of Summer Humidity on Home and Health

Southeastern Wisconsin has been feeling the heat these past few weeks, a welcome change from a chilly overcast spring. It is the optimal season for lake residents and water lovers to be enjoying their dream home. While Lake Country homeowners are relishing playing on the lake in the heat and humidity, their beloved homes may be suffering from some of the problems caused by high humidity levels and extreme heat. As humidity levels fluctuate with the temperatures season to season, controlling the interior levels solves many residual problems.

Controlling the humidity within the home is important year-round, as a balanced humidity level ensures the health and comfort of the residents while protecting many of the elements of the home itself. Most custom-built homes today are equipped with whole-home humidity control systems that manage humidity levels within the home year-round, a standard accessory to the HVAC system that protects the home and the homeowners. It should also be a priority addition in any luxury renovated home.

Health concerns with high humidity are most commonly affiliated with the respiratory system, affected by both the heaviness of the air as well as airborne irritants thriving under the conditions. Excessive humidity, or moisture in the air, makes it more difficult for anyone to breathe, as dense air creates more resistance to airflow in the airway. However, excessive humidity is particularly dangerous for those affected by a chronic lung condition such as asthma or COPD. Additionally, dust mites and molds that thrive in damp, humid conditions are consistently associated with asthma, respiratory infections, bronchitis, cough, dyspnea and other respiratory afflictions, in both allergic and nonallergic individuals.

Other effects of high humidity can be equally detrimental to our health, with effects more pronounced and dangerous depending on age and physical condition. High humidity hampers the body’s cool down mechanism, as the high moisture levels in the air prevent it from absorbing the water excreted from our body, in the form of sweat, in high temperatures. When the body works harder to cool itself down, it leads to heat exhaustion, dehydration and chemical imbalances in the body.

The health of your home can also be compromised by high humidity levels. The biggest concerns include mold & mildew growth, masonry, carpentry & woodwork, framing elements, and ventilation. In short, excessive, prolonged humidity on the home’s interior is not only uncomfortable and unhealthy for occupants: it can compromise the structural integrity of the home. The easiest way to manage humidity levels is to regularly monitor ventilation and airflow throughout the house. This is mainly achieved by scheduling regular service checks for the HVAC and humidity control systems to ensure proper functioning and clear pathways throughout the home.

Southeastern Wisconsin is known for its climate swings, sometimes within the course of the week. The heart of summer versus the heart of winter provides the full spectrum of extremes in terms of temperatures and humidity. Protecting your custom-built dream home allows for it to protect its occupants from the negative impact of these extremes, ensuring it is equipped to handle both ends of the spectrum.

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