An ideal indoor humidity level in your Cincinnati, OH, home is 30% to 50%. If the indoor humidity level increases past 50%, your skin could start to feel clammy. Wood floorboards, trim, and furniture may swell, which could lead to cracking. High humidity promotes the growth of dust mites, mold and mildew, and other allergens. It can also be a problem for your electrical system and electronics. Consider these six ways humidity can cause electrical problems in your Cincinnati home.
1. Mold Growth
Mold and mildew thrive in moist, warm, and dark environments. High indoor humidity levels could result in mold growing on your home’s wiring and within important mechanical and electrical systems. In a heat pump, mold growth on the coils reduces heat exchange. The heat pump could draw too much current and overheat. An overheated heat pump will automatically shut down. Mold growth on the wiring or heat exchanger of a furnace can also lead to overheating. Air filters that fill with mold may cause an air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace to overheat.
2. Corrosion of Fuses or Circuits
Excessive humidity is a problem for fuse boxes and circuit breaker panels. The moisture could cause the fuse to corrode, which may prevent the flow of current. It’s also possible that the current could continue flowing through the wires if the corrosion causes the wires to fuse into place. In a circuit breaker panel, corrosion of the wiring may cause the current to keep flowing when a circuit trips. If the wires are stuck in place as a result of the corrosion, this could lead to a dangerous situation.
3. Rusted Wires
Wiring can rust if it’s exposed to high humidity. The moisture may degrade the insulation. It could also corrode the ends of the wires where they come into contact with the outlet, fuse box, circuit breaker panel, or switch. Damaged contacts or wires could cause the circuit to spark or have a fault when you try to use it.
4. Corroded Outlets or Switches
Your home’s electrical outlets can be damaged by high humidity levels. If moisture condenses on a perimeter wall at night, water could drip into the outlets or collect around the openings. Water within the outlet could cause a short circuit. If you plug an item into a wet outlet, you could get shocked or electrocuted. This can also happen with switches. Water within the circuitry of a switch may cause current to flow through the water. You could get shocked or electrocuted when flipping the switch. Switches can also get stuck into an “on” position if the wires become corroded from the moisture within the walls.
5. Internal Damage to Electrical Appliances
Electrical appliances may experience interior damage from high humidity levels. If the moisture condenses out of the air and gets into electrical appliances, phone chargers, and electronic devices, it can ruin their circuitry and microchips. Wires and connections can rust, and the control panels and processors may become corroded. There’s no reliable way to repair electrical damage caused by moisture.
6. Damage to Insulation
The insulation in your home’s walls and attic may absorb the excess moisture in the air. If the insulation gets wet, it may not protect the wiring from overheating. If the wiring overheats, this could result in an electrical fire in your home’s walls. The insulation on the wiring itself can also degrade if it gets wet. If the insulation falls apart around the conduit, electrical box, or connections with an outlet or switch, it could overheat. The result could be a short circuit or arcing. These are dangerous situations that could lead to sparks, shock, or electrocution. Arcing within your home’s walls or attic could also lead to a fire.
At Wingate Heating Cooling Plumbing & Electric, our trusted electricians repair all types of electrical issues. You can also turn to us for reliable heating, air conditioning, and plumbing repairs. We install and maintain heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems. Our duct cleaning and indoor air quality solutions improve your health, comfort, and well-being. If you’re a business owner in the Cincinnati area, you can also count on us for precise commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services. To learn more about how excessive indoor humidity levels can affect your home’s electrical system, get in touch with us at Wingate Heating Cooling Plumbing & Electric any time.