During the winter, the comfort of your home and energy bills can be affected by the relative humidity of your home.
The term relative humidity (RH) refers to the amount of water vapour in the air at a certain temperature. For example, at 50 percent relative humidity, the air is holding 50% of the total moisture it can hold. The capacity of the air to hold water decreases as temperature decreases and increases as temperature rises.
For example, when the outdoor temperature is cold and the outdoor relative humidity is 70%, a home that has the thermostat set at 22°C has an indoor humidity level of around 6% – this is drier than the relative humidity in most deserts which is 25%!
Dry interior air will take moisture from where it finds it including from bodies. As a response, the evaporation of moisture from the body results in cooling so it is likely the thermostat to stay warm will be constantly turned up which of course leads to high energy bills. We have all experienced being in a dry centrally heated environment and it can be uncomfortable and cause sore throats, dry noses and so forth.
However, if relative humidity indoors is maintained in the region of 35-to-45 %, this minimises the need for the air to replenish moisture, and little or no evaporation from bodies takes place. This means the thermostat can be turned down by a few degrees while maintaining comfort. The resulting energy cost saving is significant. You may save as much as 15% on energy costs.
The most efficient way to maintain the right level of humidity in your home is to rely on your air conditioning system. Your air conditioning system depending on type may include a whole house humidifying system or for stand-alone units will control the humidity in the space where it is needed. This is achieved by using a digital thermostat with humidity control. Comfort and cost savings in winter just when you need them.
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