The Health Effects Of Too Much Humidity In Commercial Buildings

In Tampa, Florida, where MaintenX is headquartered, humidity levels are high for most of the year. This is exacerbated from May until September, most Floridians can expect to battle the humid weather on most sunny days. The typo inside and enjoy the A/C, but not every facility is built to combat high humidity. This can cause serious problems for you, your staff, and facility tenants. 

Most researchers agree that ideal humidity levels are between 30% to 60% for both comfort and human health. But, why is that? Many people don’t realize that excessive humidity can put them at risk for health complications, and can reduce indoor air quality in a building of any size. 

Humid weather coincides with heat. While your body has a natural defense to extreme temperatures — sweating — humidity reduces the effectiveness of sweating to cool the body down. Moisture is already saturated in the air, which means sweating only makes you feel sticky and can even raise your body temperature higher. 

The second way your body combats this is by sending blood to the extremities and away from the internal organs. This helps keep you cool, but can cause muscles to cramp or you to feel lightheaded. If you feel these symptoms, it’s a clear sign that you need to escape the heat and cool down. However, not all health risks of humidity exposure are this clear. 

According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Health, increased humidity levels can directly lead to an increase in dust mites and fungi in an environment. These contaminants can cause allergies to flare up or can cause harm to people with respiratory issues such as asthma. Mold and fungus growth can also damage your building, especially in areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, or areas with high moisture content. 

It is also well-documented that viruses are more likely to spread in areas where humidity levels exceed 60 percent. Humidity provides a warm, wet environment for bacteria and viruses to grow, and these pathogens can quickly spread through your ventilation system and harm the staff. In recent months, many businesses have been taking extra precautions to clean their HVAC systems to stop the spread of COVID-19 as humidity levels rise. 

But, it’s not just germs that stick around when humidity levels are high. Harmful chemicals are often released by cleaning products in a process known as “off-gassing.” These chemicals are more likely to be trapped in humid air and can cause health problems such as eye, lung, and throat irritation. In order to keep your facility safe from these harmful substances, you need to be proactive in your HVAC maintenance. 

High levels of humidity inside commercial facilities are oftentimes caused by an improper HVAC system or system maintenance. An HVAC unit that is improperly sized, that has inadequate ventilation, or that has not been properly maintained will not allow you to control humidity levels for your tenants’ comfort and safety. However, the solution is simple with MaintenX HVAC preventative care. 

At MaintenX we prioritize your facility’s needs and ensure that no matter what, your HVAC system runs at peak efficiency. We work hard so that your facility can work harder. For more information, contact your local MaintenX team today!

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