Is Low Humidity Bad For Electronics?

Is low humidity bad for electronics? Electrical appliances should be kept away from water. High humidity scenarios are risky for electronics. Averagely, high humidity levels start from 50% and above. The relative humidity measures the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere.

Environments with relatively low humidity levels are likely to lead to electrostatic discharges (ESD). In normal conditions, water vapor in the atmosphere works to dispel static electricity, and this stops build-ups, which might lead to electronic discharges. Dry air is the best medium for static electricity to travel on. When this happens, it can create serious problems for most electronic appliances.

The damages can be irreversible. Having said that, humidity levels that go below 30% are bad for electronics. Electronic devices are designed to perform optimally in humidity levels that are ideal for human beings starting from 30% to 50%.

What Are The Effects Of High Humidity On Electronics?

High humidity levels can cause damages to the interior components of an electronic. The damages are caused by the possibility of having condensation in the components. Condensation is likely to occur when warm air in the electronics comes up against cool surfaces.

This condensation will lead to rusting and corrosion of electrical components hence damaging them. Short circuiting between the electrical components in the device is likely to occur if the device is powered on before the condensation evaporates.

Short circuiting may lead to devise failure. When condensation comes into contact with dust or debris, it can clog-up vents and cover components, leading to poor cooling of the interior components.

High humidity is the reason why printed wires on electronics get corroded. The life of transistors in most electronics is likely to be shortened if the electronic appliances are used in areas with high humidity levels.

How To Control Humidity Levels In Your House

Having known the risks paused by low humidity and high humidity levels, it is essential to learn how to control them. Two different main approaches can be used to control indoor humidity levels. You can either use a humidifier or a dehumidifier.

The two devices perform different functions; one will increase the humidity level in your home or office while the other will reduce the humidity level.

Humidifiers are useful appliances when your home or office’s humidity levels are low. Low humidity levels are common during the winter; when your HVAC systems increase the room temperature, the air becomes dry. Dry air is a sign of low humidity levels in your home or office.

It can lead to drying of your skin, lips and lead breathing problems, and this is as far as human beings are concerned. In electronics, extremely dry air is the leading cause of electrostatic discharges in electrical components.

Low humidity can also be witnessed during the summer in dry climatic regions by frequently running an air conditioning system that will eliminate air moisture as it runs.

There is a wide range of humidifiers you can get in the market. You can get a smaller design that is portable or ideal for a small room or office or get a larger one for humidifying an entire house.

The latter is placed in a central place, and mostly they are attached to the furnace. This is to reduce the excess dry air from the furnace.

Humidifiers are the most effective way of increasing humidity levels in your house or office. Other options of increasing humidity levels include;

  • The use of vaporizers.
  • Placing bowls of water in different positions in your house
  • Boiling water on your stove
  • Creating a steam bath

Even as you are looking to increase your indoors’ humidity levels, you should be on the watch out since excess humidity is also harmful to electric appliances.

Using a dehumidifier is another sure way of controlling the humidity level in your home or office. Besides the risk of condensation in electric appliances resulted from relatively high humidity, your wooden furniture is also at risk of getting damages. According to statistics, around 13% of American homeowners use dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture from the air, which will create the best environment for your electronics.  You can either get a dehumidifier for your home or even your office.

Similar to a humidifier, there are various sizes of a dehumidifier. There are portable dehumidifiers and whole-house dehumidifiers placed in a central position. While the whole-house dehumidifiers are expensive, they are efficient and effective in lowering the humidity level in a house than portable ones. It is recommended that you go for a silica-gel-based dehumidifier instead of one that contains calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is a corrosive chemical.

Other ways of reducing indoor humidity levels include;

  • Turning on the fan: You can stop the accumulation of humidity in one area of your office or home by running a fan. It will spread the moisture around the room, which can stop building up moisture in your electronics.
  • Proper insulation of your home: If you live in humid areas, proper insulation of your home can prevent excess moisture from getting to your house. Proper insulation prevents humid air from outside from getting to your house.
  • Proper ventilation: Sometimes, your interior may be more humid than outside; in such a case, it is advisable to open your windows and allow fresh air in. The less humid aid from outside will reduce the amount of moisture in the air inside your home.

Final Thought

Both low and high humidity levels are bad for electronics. While electrostatic discharge is likely to happen on electric components running in an environment with dry air, a high humidity environment can condense the components.

Condensation can lead to corrosion and rusting of electrical components; on the other hand, ESD completely damages your device’s internal electrical components.

To minimize the risks caused by high and low humidity levels, you need to ensure that your office or home has the right humidity levels. A considerable humidity level forms a protective film on electrical surfaces hence acting as a conductor to dispel electric charges, which prevents ESD.

One can use different approaches to control the relative humidity level in their houses. The most common and effective method is the use of humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

When choosing a dehumidifier, you should avoid picking one that uses calcium chloride instead of a silica-gel-based one. Relative humidity levels that range from 30% to 50% are ideal for the performance and durability of electronics; work on achieving that range in your home or office.

There are cases where some electronics will come with instructions on the humidity levels required for their best performance.


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