Finding a Comfortable Climate

How to find the comfort level that's right for you.

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Question: I attended a couple of air-conditioning schools as I worked aboard Navy submarines and ships. I was taught that the human body is at its most comfortable and efficient state with the ambient air at 65 percent humidity and 72 degrees.

You've written that you like your home at 40 percent to 60 percent humidity and 66 to 68 degrees. I find that rather on the cool side.

Answer: The comfort level of humidity inside a metal ship at sea and that inside a wood house on land may be different. The temperature at which the human body is comfortable is also different for different people in different situations.

For instance, the body feels warmer in winter if the interior humidity is higher, while that same person feels cooler in summer if the interior humidity is lower, assuming that the room temperature is the same.

In the winter the comfort level is around 70 degrees, but in the summer the comfort level is approximately 68 degrees (although I prefer 65 degrees), so I don't know where the 72 degrees comes from.

We do know that the comfort level is associated with both temperature and humidity, and my column was intended to encourage the reader to experiment with the humidistat, not so much the thermostat, to find a personal comfort level and to save on the costs of heating a home.

(Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors.)

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