As we head into the warmer months of the year now is a good time to take a look at the importance of indoor air quality to our health. Many believe that winter is the time to be concerned about respiratory viruses. The thinking goes that when the weather warms up, we spend more time outdoors and this lowers the risk. More clean air dilutes the virus, therefore a lower risk of transmission results. If this were true, however, the SARS-CoV-2 virus would have abated in the summer of 2020. Since that didn’t happen, it’s important to look at other factors, such as humidity. Facilities managers in particular need to focus on what is the best indoor humidity for the health of building occupants.
What is Relative Humidity?
Humidity is a measure of water vapor in the air. The absolute humidity in a space is that mass of vapor divided by the mass of dry air. To determine relative humidity, we take the ratio of absolute humidity to the maximum possible humidity at a given temperature, expressed as a percentage. Therefore, a room with a relative humidity (RH) level of 50 percent is a room half full of water vapor. Determining the best indoor humidity as it relates to IAQ helps building managers create safe indoor environments.
What is Best Indoor Humidity?
For students in classrooms and workers in office buildings, relative humidity is important to their comfort. Temperature also plays a role in our comfort indoors and it affects RH as well. When indoor temperatures rise and the level of water vapor in the air remains the same, RH increases. Conversely, when temps fall, RH does as well. This leads us to the question of, What is the best indoor humidity level to keep people safe?
While it is true that viruses remain viable at high RH levels, they also remain viable at low RH levels. The best indoor humidity level is between 40 and 60 percent. Relative humidity in this range also lowers the risk of allergies, asthma, bacteria, and dust mites. Therefore, controlling relative humidity to this range helps reduce the spread of viruses and contributes to the overall comfort of building occupants. Landing in this range of best indoor humidity levels requires proper IAQ through humidification and dehumidification. It also requires testing and monitoring to ensure this level is maintained.
Pure Air Solutions to Achieve the Best Indoor Humidity
Pure Air Control offers several services to help buildings achieve the best indoor humidity.
Building Health Check
It starts with a Building Health Check to evaluate the indoor environment by HVAC zones. Both visual inspections and lab testing determine the biological conditions of a given building. Collected samples, analyzed by our Environmental Diagnostic Laboratory, get tested for the presence of mold, bacteria, and other particulates. Temperature, relative humidity, and wall moisture are also measured.
HVAC Hygiene Assessment
Our HVAC Hygiene Assessment is another useful tool for gaining the best indoor humidity levels. This assessment includes a visual inspection of the AHU and other HVAC components. Collected samples from the AHU undergo analysis by the EDLab and the resulting report details steps for remediation and improvements.
Building Remediation Sciences for the Best Indoor Humidity
Cleaning and disinfection are also important to get the best indoor humidity. For example, our Building Remediation Sciences focuses on the hygienic cleaning and restoration of HVAC systems through the HVAC New Life system. It includes the cleaning of the air handling unit and coils with high-temperature, high-pressure steam as a part of the PURE-Steam cleaning as well as PURE–Duct and PURE-Decon that clean and disinfect the HVAC system.
IAQ Guard 2.0
Pure Air Control helps maintain the best indoor humidity levels, and IAQ in general, through monitoring. Our IAQ Guard 2.0 system uses sensors to measure air quality. This real-time data alerts a remote team to any threats to IAQ. It also helps building managers control energy costs. The relative humidity reading captured by this device provides building managers and other stakeholders with a risk assessment for microbial growth. It helps establish a healthy indoor environment for all.
Get the Best Indoor Humidity
Pure Air Control Services creates and maintains healthy buildings. We work with schools, universities, healthcare facilities, and commercial and government organizations to achieve the best indoor humidity possible. To learn more, contact us at 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.