How a Hygrometer Works

Does your home often feel dry? Or too muggy? If you are experiencing chapped/dry skin, or difficulty breathing while in your home, you may need to get your humidity level checked out. Humidity levels that are not between the averages of 30- 50 percent can be potentially dangerous for your health. You can personally check your humidity level in your home by using a hygrometer.

A hygrometer is an appliance that is designed to calculate the amount of humidity in a room or building. While a hygrometer can’t actually prevent mold from growing, it can warn you to take any steps necessary before the problem occurs. Hygrometers can provide the accurate levels of relative humidity and absolute humidity. Relative humidity is the percentage of humid moisture in the air. Absolute humidity is the actual amount of moisture in the atmosphere.

What Makes a Hygrometer Work?

There are two commonly used types of hygrometers: Mechanical hygrometer and wet and dry bulb psychrometer.

Wet and Dry Bulb Psychrometer

This is the easiest way to measure humidity. This type of hygrometer is equipped with two mercury thermometers, where one has a wet bulb and the other has a dry bulb. Because of the evaporation of water on the wet bulb the temperature will drop and read a lower temperature than what is displayed on the dry bulb. The difference between the two temperature readings equal the amount of relative humidity in the atmosphere.

Mechanical Hygrometer

A mechanical hygrometer requires a little more effort to determining humidity levels in a room.

  • This tool was first created in 1783 by a physicist named Horace Benedict de Saussure.
  • Mechanical hygrometers work by using an organic material, typically a piece of hair where its behaviors can predict the amount of humidity in the air.
  • If you’ve ever noticed how human hair tends to frizz when there is a lot of moisture in the air or it is very hot outside, then it will be easy for you to understand how this tool works.

For example, the piece of hair is attached to a spring and needle instrument that exposes the hair to humidity. Based on the reaction of the hair, the humidity level can be classified. Although a wet and dry bulb is more accurate and easy to understand, a mechanical hygrometer is still as effective.

How to Reset Your Hygrometer

Should you need to ever reset your hygrometer, you can do so by using at-home methods:

  • In a room with normal, consistent temperature, place your hygrometer in a cup or container filled with salt water on a counter space. Leave it to sit for 10-12 hours.
  • After the allotted time, the hygrometer should read a standard relative humidity level of 75 percent.
  • This process should be performed at least once a year to ensure your hygrometer is always providing accurate results.

What makes it effective?

Hygrometers are the go-to source for measuring humidity. This tool can be used in laboratories, manufacturing sites and storage vicinities. Even meteorologists use hygrometers to report the most accurate amount of relative humidity in the community. Hygrometers are widely used because they come with hard-to-beat features. Many hygrometers are built with alarms that will alert you when the humidity level in your home is under that 30 percent or over the 50 percent average humidity level.

Hygrometers can serve as a great way to keep you, your family, home and belongings healthy. They can also come with humidistats, which control the operation of your humidifier or dehumidifier.

What are HEPA Vacuums?

HEPA (High‐Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums differ from conventional vacuums in that they contain filters that are capable of trapping extremely small, micron‐sized particles. A true HEPA filter can trap 99.97 percent of all airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns. To illustrate how small this is, a human red blood cell is usually between 6 and 8 microns wide.

For Mold Remediation, these vacuums are a vital tool in removing loose particulate prior to any application of chemicals or demolition, as to minimize spread contamination.  HEPA vacuums are also recommended for cleanup of dust that may have settled on surfaces outside the remediation area.  Care must be taken to assure that the filter is properly seated in the vacuum so that all the air must pass through the filter. When changing the vacuum filter, remediators should wear PPE to prevent exposure to the mold that has been captured. The filter and contents of the HEPA vacuum must be disposed of in well-sealed plastic bags.

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Mold on Contents

Removing mold from contents can be an exhausting process resulting in many man hours. Some items can be saved once mold grows on them, and others can not.  When mold has grown on contents, it’s also important to remember that not all chemicals and cleaning methods are alike and safe for certain surfaces.  Here’s some of the cleaning methods mostly used for mold remediation:

  •  Dry Cleaning:  Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning.
  •  Wet Cleaning:  An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues.
  •  Spray and Wipe:  Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning.
  •  Foam Cleaning :  Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned.
  •  Abrasive Cleaning:  Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.
  •  Immersion Cleaning:  Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.

Certain surfaces and stains can be damaged by chemicals, so each affected content must be treated differently.  Like always, paper products are the most susceptible to mold growth and most paper can not be remediated.  If stored items are in boxes and those boxes have mold growth on them, it doesn’t mean the contents inside are trash.  Rather, each item should be removed and inspected prior to making a decision.  Hiring the wrong mold remediation company could lead to further damage or a complete loss of the contents, while cross contaminating an area or other items.

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Floods & Storage

Many homes use basements and some bedrooms for storing items.  Two mistakes that often occur are homeowners storing too many items, with some boxes being empty or filled with trash and two, they store items so high and so tightly packed to the wall that they can never see if there is a problem lurking.  Pictured below is an example of a home that had a minor leak that went unnoticed for several weeks because of boxes stored from floor to near ceiling.  The leak then caused damaged, not only to the stored items, but also the walls and floor.  If the home would have had a better system for storing such items, most of this issue could have been remediated and repaired prior to causing extensive loss to building materials and personal contents.  Too many packed items is also a major fire hazard and if you can not afford to part with any item, then considering a storage unit may be helpful in times like this.

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