How High Humidity Affects Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality affects the health and well being of every person who steps through your doors, but it’s often overlooked by building managers. Controlling air quality feels like a mountain of a task, but it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Keep reading to learn how you can improve the air quality in your building.

What is Indoor Air Quality?

Before we get started, let’s define indoor air quality. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), indoor air quality, which is sometimes called “indoor environmental quality” is a term used to describe “how inside air can affect a person’s health, comfort, and ability to work.” Indoor air quality takes into account the temperature, ventilation, humidity, and chemical quality inside a workspace.

What Affects Indoor Air Quality?

While many factors contribute to indoor air quality like occupants, byproducts from a production process or outside environmental conditions, poorly designed HVAC systems are the largest contributor to poor IAQ. While dust in ductwork, fumes from duct cleaning solvents, improper ventilation, and refrigerant leakage are all HVAC-related contributors of poor air quality, humidity reigns supreme as enemy number one.

According to OSHA, humidity is one of the biggest contributing factors to poor indoor air quality. High indoor humidity can be a catalyst for mold and mildew growth. It can also facilitate healthy growing environments for bacteria and viruses, which can cause respiratory diseases and infections.

The Problem with High Humidity Levels

In addition to potentially causing structural damage to your building and causing extensive damage to your equipment and furniture, high humidity can also cause a wide range of health problems for building inhabitants. A few effects of high humidity levels include the following:

Mold growth on walls and porous objects (such as wood, books, and paper), and a prevalent musty odor. For humans, symptoms of mold growth include severe lung infection, eye irritation, nasal congestion, wheezing, and skin rash.

Dust mites hang out in locations with high humidity levels, and can severely affect those with asthma or dust allergies. Symptoms can include those of hay fever or an asthma attack.

While it may seem like all problems stem from high humidity levels, that’s not the case. In fact, low humidity levels are also an indicator of poor air quality. Here are a few effects of low humidity:

  • Employees suffer from sore, itchy eyes, as well as dry throats, skin, and headaches
  • Static electricity is prevalent throughout the building and can cause static shock, bite-like marks around the ankles, and general itchiness
  • Computer failure or shut-down due to high levels of static electricity

Solve Your Humidity Problems with Therma-Stor

The professionals at Quest are experts in commercial humidity. When you team up with us, we’ll analyze your building, discuss your indoor air quality issues, and help you find a solution that works for you. To learn more about the effects of humidity on indoor air quality, or to schedule a consultation, contact the team at Quest today.