Common Misunderstandings about Relative Humidity


Understanding relative humidity is the first step in dealing with humidity problems in your business. Unfortunately, this can be a bit trickier than one might assume.

Keep reading to get informed and better understand these top 3 common misconceptions about relative humidity. Then click here to check out our blog post, “What is relative humidity and why is it important” to get the full scoop.

relative humidity in forest

Ventilation Can Fix Relative Humidity Problems

One of the biggest misconceptions about relative humidity is that ventilation can lower humidity levels in a space. Unfortunately, that’s not always accurate. In Green Grass Climates like the Midwest or East Coast, there is typically more humidity outdoors than indoors so if you increase ventilation, you’ll only make the problem worse. The exception is during the winter months where the outside relative humidity is quite low.

Ventilation combined with dehumidification is integral to lowering RH and achieving comfortable atmospheric conditions, but ventilation alone could simply cause more damage. A better solution would be to design a ventilation and dehumidification system to work together with cost and efficiency in mind.

Air Conditioning Lowers Relative Humidity

Unfortunately, lowering the temperature of an area actually increases the possible relative humidity instead of lowering it. If you decrease the temperature without removing water, the same amount of water takes up more of the available space in the air meaning the relative humidity increases. Air conditioners are good at removing sensible heat (temperature), and not as good at removing latent heat (water).

Lower temperatures also make evaporation more difficult, which is why “cold and damp” are two adjectives usually put together to describe areas with moisture problems like basements and garages.

In order for air conditioning to be effective, it must be used alongside a dehumidification system. The water can then be removed from the desired area and discarded without damaging stored goods or equipment.

Heat Can Control Relative Humidity

Like lowering the temperature, raising the temperature is an oft-used but ineffective method for dealing with high RH. Just like lowering the temperature without removing water will increase RH, increasing the temperature without changing the water content will lower RH.  Sounds good right? Well high temperature can have other detrimental effects like discomfort, poor equipment performance, structure and product damage, and it can invite pests.

Learn About Dehumidification as it relates to Relative Humidity

Designed for commercial and residential areas, dehumidification can be used in marine, medical, food, and storage applications, among others. If you’re having a problem regulating relative humidity in your space, contact the team at Therma-Stor to find out if dehumidification might be the right option for you.