4 Health Benefits of Monitoring Temperature and Humidity at Home
There are plenty of untrue stories and lies about smart homes floating around, but one of the worst mistakes in thinking is the idea that smart homes are nothing more than cheap and silly things. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
We’ve explored the practical benefits of a smart home on many occasions, but did you know that there are health benefits as well? That’s right. One or two smart purchases could extremely improve your quality of life at home.
Are you full of doubt? That’s fine. I just ask that you keep an open mind as we explore said health benefits in this article. You may be pleasantly surprised by how reasonable and non-cheap and silly they are!
- Better Quality Sleep at Night
Heat waves are now a serious talking point in our society. For most people, the worst part of a heat wave is the sudden spike in cooling costs to reach a comfortable home temperature. For money-saving folks, the worst part of a heat wave is the beginning of restless nights and the inability to get a good night’s sleep.
But as we all know, sleep deprivation isn’t an issue that only happens during heat waves. In 2008, NPR claimed that “roughly 60 million Americans are affected by insomnia each year.” That number is likely higher now.
As it turns out, recent research shows that sleeplessness could be caused by sleeping at the wrong temperature. Most people think that colder is better but too hot and too cold can harm sleep quality.
When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature, the temperature your brain is trying to accomplish, goes down.
If the room becomes uncomfortably hot or cold, you are more likely to wake up … and the comfort level of your bedroom temperature also especially affects the quality of REM (fast eye movement) sleep, the stage in which you dream.
So what’s the ideal range for sleep? Between 68-72 F.
In a lucky way, there are smart home devices that can automatically set your home’s temperature to a comfortable level while you sleep, all without wasting energy for no good reason.
- Prevent Growth of Mold and Bacteria
According to the University of Central Florida, there are four critical needed things for the growth and spread of mold:
Presence of mold spores. Mold spores are not only too small to see with the naked eye, they’re literally everywhere in the air and there’s no practical way to escape them, so don’t worry about this.
Food for the mold. Most molds can live off of anything that’s organic, but you’ll mostly find mold in areas with wood, paper, and organic fibers. Keeping clean can stop mold.
Warm temperatures. Mold tends to grow at the same temperatures that are comfortable for humans, so unless you’re prepared to be uncomfortable, temperature control isn’t a good way to prevent mold.
High humidity. Most molds need a lot of water to grow and do well, a relative humidity of 70% or higher, which is why mold is common in bathrooms and in areas hit with water leaks.
Bacteria also need water to grow and do well and can start growing with speed at a relative humidity of 50% or higher. Mold can be an irritant (e.g. eyes) and can cause breathing and lung related issues while bacteria can cause serious sicknesses (e.g. Legionnaires’ disease).
By controlling the humidity in your house, you can limit the amount of mold and bacteria and so improve your health.
- Help Reduce Physical Discomfort
Temperatures and humidity outside of the best range for humans can cause a lot of direct discomforts also.
I mean, most of us know what it feels like to suffer through a lengthy heat wave or to be surprised by a cold snap that we weren’t prepared for, right? The unlucky among us have to deal with both swings year after year.
But did you know that humidity also plays a huge role in our day-to-day comfort at home? In fact, humidity, the amount of moisture in the air, can be more impactful than you might think.
When the air is too dry, you can experience discomfort in the form of your eyes drying out, inflammation in your sinuses and your airways due to dry mucous linings, and your skin becoming chapped or irritated due to lack of moisture.
Low humidity is a big problem during the winter due to widespread and growing heating, but it can also be a long-lasting event if you live in a dry area. So what’s the ideal relative humidity for your house? Between 30-50%, any higher will feel hot and sticky and encourage the growth of mold and bacteria.
- Better working conditions and getting a lot done
The last benefit of carefully supervising and controlling the temperature and humidity in your home is all mental. Good surrounding conditions can have a positive influence on your mental state, leading to more positive thoughts and actions.
On the one hand, this seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? It’s hard to do good work when you’re hands are frozen and shaking, just as it’s tough to focus when you’re hot, sticky, and melting in the heat.
But if it’s so obvious, let me ask you: what is the ideal temperature for best work working well and getting a lot done?
If you answered with “room temperature,” or about 68-70 F, then you’d actually be wrong! Room temperature is the best temperature for sleep quality, but it’s not quite best when it comes to getting work done and reducing the amount of mistakes you make.
And if you answered below room temperature, you’d also be wrong. In fact, according to a 2004 study by Cornell University, warmer is better: So if you want to be more productive, whether you’re working from home or stuck in a cubicle, think about raising the temperature to (more than two, but not a lot of) degrees above room temperature.