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Does your home often feel dry? Or too muggy? If you are experiencing chapped/dry skin, or difficulty breathing while in your home, you may need to get your humidity level checked out.
Humidity levels that are not between the averages of 30- 50 percent can be potentially dangerous for your health.
You can personally check your humidity level in your home by using a hygrometer.
A hygrometer is an appliance that is designed to calculate the amount of humidity in a room or building. While a hygrometer can't actually prevent mold from growing, it can warn you to take any steps necessary before the problem occurs.
Hygrometers can provide the accurate levels of relative humidity and absolute humidity. Relative humidity is the percentage of humid moisture in the air. Absolute humidity is the actual amount of moisture in the atmosphere.
There are two commonly used types of hygrometers: Mechanical hygrometer and wet and dry bulb psychrometer.
Wet and Dry Bulb Psychrometer
This is the easiest way to measure humidity. This type of hygrometer is equipped with two mercury thermometers, where one has a wet bulb and the other has a dry bulb.
Because of the evaporation of water on the wet bulb the temperature will drop and read a lower temperature than what is displayed on the dry bulb. The difference between the two temperature readings equal the amount of relative humidity in the atmosphere.
A mechanical hygrometer requires a little more effort to determining humidity levels in a room.
- This tool was first created in 1783 by a physicist named Horace Benedict de Saussure.
- Mechanical hygrometers work by using an organic material, typically a piece of hair where its behaviors can predict the amount of humidity in the air.
- If you've ever noticed how human hair tends to frizz when there is a lot of moisture in the air or it is very hot outside, then it will be easy for you to understand how this tool works.
For example, the piece of hair is attached to a spring and needle instrument that exposes the hair to humidity. Based on the reaction of the hair, the humidity level can be classified.
Although a wet and dry bulb is more accurate and easy to understand, a mechanical hygrometer is still as effective.
How to Reset Your Hygrometer
Should you need to ever reset your hygrometer, you can do so by using at-home methods:
- In a room with normal, consistent temperature, place your hygrometer in a cup or container filled with salt water on a counter space. Leave it to sit for 10-12 hours.
- After the allotted time, the hygrometer should read a standard relative humidity level of 75 percent.
- This process should be performed at least once a year to ensure your hygrometer is always providing accurate results.
Hygrometers are the go-to source for measuring humidity. This tool can be used in laboratories, manufacturing sites and storage vicinities. Even meteorologists use hygrometers to report the most accurate amount of relative humidity in the community.
Hygrometers are widely used because they come with hard-to-beat features.
Many hygrometers are built with alarms that will alert you when the humidity level in your home is under that 30 percent or over the 50 percent average humidity level.
Hygrometers can serve as a great way to keep you, your family, home and belongings healthy. They can also come with humidistats, which control the operation of your humidifier or dehumidifier.
Even though there are many ways to measure humidity, hygrometers prove to be the most accurate.
- Some people use plants as an indicator of humidity.
- Plants tend to have drastic reactions to weather, so identifying the changes that occur can give you a good idea of how humid it is.
- For example, when humidity is low and the atmosphere is very dry, pine cones will expand their spine openings. This may be similar to how a mechanical hygrometer works, but may not be as precise when measuring specific amounts and percentages such as relative humidity.
When rooms or areas are overly humid, a stale, mildew odor can form. Even mold can form in some areas. Mold can lead to many health issues and also damage the upholstering of your furniture and belongings.
Not enough moisture in your home can cause the paint on the wall to chip off and instruments to warp. All of these problems can be easily avoided with the purchase of a hygrometer.
What Can Happen if You Do Not Properly Measure Relative Humidity
Not taking the proper precautions and measuring humidity in your home can lead to serious health conditions. This is why it is very important to take advantage of tools used to monitor humidity in your home. If you do not have the tools needed to perform humidity calculations, your first warning of low or above average relative humidity can be a trip to your physician.
- Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion can occur when there is too much humidity. This is common during summer where the temperatures are high. Not drinking enough fluids during humidity peaks is a main cause for heat exhaustion.
- Dehydration: Dehydration can also lead to heat exhaustion. When humidity is high and causes your body to sweat profusely, you are not only losing water supply from your body but also putting more activity on your than it can bear.
- Dry Skin: When humidity levels are low in your home, your skin may become flaky and dry. Some people even experience chapped lips as well.
- Heat Stroke: This is by far the most serious health risk that one could encounter from high humidity levels. Taking all of the described precautions above will help prevent your body from suffering from a heat stroke.
If you use a humidifier in your home or building, it could be a good investment to purchase a hygrometer as well if your unit doesn't already come with one.
The sole purpose of a humidifier is to increase humidity and moisture in the atmosphere. But what if your home became too humid or too dry? That could potentially cause mold and bacteria to form in some areas.
Having a hygrometer could keep track of that moisture level and alert you when it is going over the designated amount.
A hygrometer is even a good tool to use with a dehumidifier. If your dehumidifier is not functioning properly, your hygrometer would be the first warning you receive of the issue. Humidifiers and hygrometers are like a combo deal. Some recent models of humidifiers and dehumidifiers are built with hygrometers. These type of appliances are built with modern technology that performs an all in one process: Humidifies air and monitors relative humidity.
Because there are different types of hygrometers, there a many components that make up the appliance.
- The psychrometer, as described earlier, has two thermometers attached on each side. It also comes with two bulbs, where one is shielded with muslin.
- A mechanical hygrometer is furnished with a spring and needle device that allow both to work together to pull the hair tightly.
- Hygrometers such as electrical and chemical hygrometers uses similar tools on substances such as lithium chloride and phosphorus pentoxide to measure humidity.
- Most parts on hygrometers are fairly simple to understand and assemble.
- Instructions are usually provided on ways to upkeep the parts for a long life and maximum use.
Humidified air is always necessary in homes with small children, individuals with allergies or cod-symptoms or individuals wanting purified air.
In rooms that contain a mass amount of equipment and technology humidity levels have to be monitored very closely.
A hygrometer can help prevent equipment failures, foods from spoiling and even a bad frizzy hair day. No matter how humidity affects your day to day routine, a hygrometer can make life a lot easier for you. Pairing your humidifier with a hygrometer can ensure that your home is taking the ultimate safety precautions for a healthier atmosphere.
Depending on how hands-on you like to get with home-improvement technology, you could select a hygrometer like the psychrometer that doesn't require a lot of work on your end or a mechanical hygrometer that allows you to perform humidity experiments testing hair.