People spend over 60% of their lives indoors, making indoor air quality, including correct temperature and humidity levels, critical to personal health and comfort.
Office environments that are air conditioned during the summer and heated in the winter will suffer from low humidity without correct humidification. Prolonged exposure to a dry atmosphere will affect the health of staff, increase absenteeism and lower productivity.
One of the first noticeable effects of dry air is electrostatic shocks, which occur below a threshold of 40%RH. Other less recognizable effects include dry itchy skin, contact lenses prematurely drying out and causing discomfort, sore eyes and throat, and an increase in dehydration.
Tests have shown that the transmission of airborne viruses, such as influenza, are greater at a low humidity. Maintaining an optimum humidity will reduce airborne transmissions on an office and reduce absenteeism.
The recommended level of humidity for human health is between 40-60%RH. To maintain this level large offices will employ industrial humidification systems within the central air conditioning system. However, in-room humidifier systems are available that can introduce moisture directly and discretely to a room’s atmosphere.
Correct humidity levels are essential to health. Deviations from the mid-range of relative humidity (RH) of 40-60% can reduce air quality by causing an increased growth of bacteria, viruses, fungi and mites. Bacteria and viruses thrive in an environment where the air is too dry. Studies have shown that when the indoor RH drops below 40 percent, absenteeism due to illness increases. Conversely, if the air is too moist (above 60%), allergies and asthma increase due to the growth of fungi and mites.