If you’re new to Houston, chances are you’ve moved here from a drier climate. That’s because Houston ranks high on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) list of the 10 most humid cities in America. Living in a humid home town has its advantages—including smoother, softer skin and fabulously voluminous hair—but it also has disadvantages, from the annoying to the downright dangerous. Here are a few tips on why and how to control the humidity in your Houston apartment, especially in these hot, super-humid summer months:
High levels of humidity can be hazardous to your health. If you’re prone to any of these health issues, take extra care in the Houston humidity, and consult your doctor for specific humid-weather advice.
- People and pets are more likely to suffer from heat-related illnesses when the humidity level is high. Our bodies use evaporative cooling—letting moisture from sweat or panting evaporate, taking heat with it—to regulate our temperatures. When the air is already very moist, we can’t cool ourselves as effectively.
- Respiratory allergies are often worse in humid climates, since humidity helps mold, mildew, and dust mites grow.
- Asthma tends to get worse with higher humidity. Heat, added to the mix, makes symptoms still worse, since the heavy, humid air puts pressure on the lungs, and the heat puts pressure on the entire respiratory system.
- More research needs to be done to confirm this, but many doctors and patients suspect that humid air puts pressure on joints, making arthritis symptoms worse.
Indoor Humidity Control Tips
You can keep Houston’s legendary humidity under control inside your apartment. Here are the top tips to keep in mind:
- Choose an apartment with an air conditioner, and use it. One of the ways air conditioners cool your home is by removing moisture from the air. To keep your AC in top humidity-control condition, set the fan to automatic and make sure drip pans and drain lines stay clear.
- Buy a dehumidifier. You can buy simple, chemical dehumidifiers for less than $10, or invest in a more complex, more powerful machine.
- Avoid carpeted floors when you choose your apartment, and put away rugs during the peak Houston humidity months of July and August. Rugs and carpets absorb moisture and provide a breeding ground for allergy-aggravating dust mites.
- Choose houseplants wisely. Some plants add moisture to the air, while others, like Boston ferns, absorb it.
- Use the exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen. They’re designed to suck indoor humidity out and away.
- Limit activities that increase home humidity. For example, don’t boil water or simmer liquids, and take cooler, shorter showers.
Posted by Melanie Belasco Levy on 07/19/12