Heat rises. The same goes for humidity. Your 2nd floor can an overabundance of heat and humidity when your insulation isn’t sealed, if there are leaks in the ductwork or if you have an oversized HVAC system.

Second Floor Window

The good news is, it is possible for your HVAC system to efficiently maintain the temperatures throughout your entire home.

Indiana is known for its frigid winters and its hot summers. One key factor that plays a role in the comfort of the interior of your home is the humidity levels in the air.

Relative humidity is uniquely expressed as the specific percentage of water vapor within the air. By maintaining relative humidity, it is possible to keep all aspects of your home – such as the top and bottom floors – cool within the summer months and warm within the winter months.

The Nature of Humidity

It is actually quite normal for the second floor of a home to be more humid than the first. If the indoor air becomes warm, it has a higher level of moisture. This means it has a higher level of humidity. The humid air is actually less dense than that of dryer air. As a result, it starts to rise. Generally speaking, normal levels of relative humidity for a second floor are anywhere from 1% to 5% greater than the relative humidity of the first floor of your home. If the humidity in the second floor exceeds the 5% mark, there is likely a problem that should be immediately corrected.

What Problems Cause Humidity to Exceed Normal Rates?

There are three common issues that may occur in our Richmond Indiana homes that would cause the relative humidity of a second floor to exceed the normal level of 5%. These include insulation issues, leaks within the ductwork, and an HVAC system that is oversized for your home. The following outlines a little information about each of these issues:

  1. Insulation Issues – During the warmer months, the air from outside of the home enters into the home through leaks in the insulation at the top section or attic section of the home. This then pushes the cooler air coming through your HVAC system through the bottom level of the home. Many professionals refer to this as the “stack effect”. If the attic and the basement area are properly insulated and are completely sealed, most of the outdoor air will remain outdoors.
  2. Leaks within the Ductwork – If you live in a two-story home, you may have one HVAC system controlling the first floor and another HVAC system controlling the second floor. If this is the case, the second system could be increasing the amount of humidity on your second floor. All HVAC units are designed to actually remove a certain degree of moisture from the air within the home. If the ductwork has leaks, it will pull in the very hot and very moist air from your attic directly into the HVAC unit. As time progresses, this moisture will exceed the dehumidification capabilities of your system and cause the second floor to be excessively humid.
  3. Oversized HVAC System – HVAC units that are too large are known for only operating for short periods of time and then completely cutting off. Professionals refer to this as “short cycling”. In short, this means that the system does not run long enough to remove the right amount of moisture from the air. This means that the humidity will increase on the second floor and may well extend past the upper normal range of the 5% relative humidity.

The Changing Humidity Levels

In the State of Indiana, the temperature changes that occur throughout the year are considered to be drastic. The warm air in the summer months is capable of retaining higher levels of moisture, which immediately leads to high levels of humidity.

Not only does high humidity levels impact your overall comfort, but it can impact your overall health, too. This stems from the fact that the humidity creates the perfect conditions for various types of bacteria, viruses, and pathogens to flourish and spread. If your home’s humidity levels are too high, it may also impact the structural integrity of the home.

Humidity can cause devastation to your comfort, your health, and your home. If you have this issue, it is imperative to have it resolved immediately.

How to Check Humidity Levels

If you want to know your humidity levels, you may check it with a specially-designed device called a “hygrometer”. These may be purchased online or at most home improvement stores. If you are not comfortable with checking your own humidity levels, you may also contact a professional HVAC technician to perform the task. In addition to determining your home’s humidity levels, the technician will also be able to identify why you are experiencing the issue and outline the measures necessary to correct the problem.

old room in house

Correcting Humidity Problems

If you have an issue with humidity, you could identify and correct the issue yourself if you have the tools and knowledge; however, if you need a little assistance, you may contact an HVAC technician. We here at Reynolds Plumbing and HVAC are highly trained in all aspects of humidity control and the correction of all issues that result in high levels of humidity in the home – be it the ground floor, the second floor, or the entire house. In addition to residential services, we also offer commercial services.

We have been dedicated to serving clients in the Wayne County area for over three decades. In addition to thorough HVAC services, we also offer plumbing services. If you are in search of whole-building care, maintenance, and servicing, we can help! If you are a homeowner in need of comprehensive services, we can help you! We combine work that is high-quality, the best parts and components, with a high level of customer service to ensure that all of your needs are taken care of – from the top of the home to the bottom! For more information, contact us today by calling: 765-966-0994