South Africa is a country of extremes; from the hot and wet tropical climate of Durban to the cool and windy Cape. The battle to stay comfortable in this see-saw environment can be a challenge which is why we all need some form of climate control in our offices and homes. However, there’s so much more to a comfortable environment than heat and cold. One of the key factors to maintaining our health and that of our surroundings lies in the humidity level of our space.
Why The Concern Over Humidity Levels?
Humidity levels are determined by the amount of moisture in the air. Too much humidity makes us feel lethargic and sweaty and can result in respiratory infections. Too little equates to a dry atmosphere which brings with it dry eyes, skin irritations and dehydration.
No matter what is going on outside, we want to know that our homes and offices are comfortable enough for us to work productively, sleep well, and stay healthy. While we may initially think of heat versus cold, or draughty versus stuffy, the humidity level of our environment is of vital importance.
Humidity Levels and Your Health
In a home or office with too much humidity, germs are going to thrive. Warm air holds more moisture than cold air and a warm, damp environment provides the perfect breeding ground for mould.
Mould is insidious and can impact our health, even when we can’t see it. The long-term effects of exposure to mould are:
- Congestion in sinuses and chest
- A constant cough
- Persistent upper respiratory tract infections
Overly humid conditions add to our misery by reducing our body’s ability to cool itself by moisture evaporation on the skin. Not only does it feel hotter than it is, but the risk of hyperthermia is real. An overly humid environment makes us sleepy and reduces our capacity for productive work – and of course, it completely messes with our hair!
In winter, the colder air is dryer resulting in static, dry hair and skin and an increased predisposition toward respiratory illnesses. Our bodies absorb moisture from the atmosphere and an overly dry environment tends to suck the moisture from our bodies. Our noses and eyes feel itchy and dry, our natural defences struggle to get rid of airborne bacteria, and those of us who are predisposed toward asthma or other respiratory ailments will find that the cold air can exacerbate our problems.
It’s that ideal middle point that creates a comfortable and healthy setting.
Humidity Levels and Your Home
In areas with wild swings in humidity levels (Durban, we’re looking at you) our homes and furniture can take a hammering.
Organic pieces of furniture (such as wood or canvas) react to their environment much the same as we do as humans. They dry out in cold dry conditions, and they absorb moisture and swell in humid conditions. Because of this expansion and contraction as the moisture in the air rises and falls, we may see cracking, splitting or bowing of our favourite pieces.
Window beading absorbs moisture from the condensation on the glass and then shrinks away from the frames during the dry season and picture frames may start to deform.
Conversely, electronics suffer from increases static electricity during dry periods; paint splits and peels from the walls…you get the picture.
With the health of our family, our staff and our furniture reliant on a steady and comfortable humidity level, we need to explore our options. The obvious choice is a quality HVAC system which will work quietly and efficiently in the background and take care of the cold, heat, damp or dry conditions outside so that they don’t impact us indoors.
Thankfully, Toshiba systems do exactly that. Keep your cool and talk to the Toshiba team today.