The relative humidity in your house at any point can affect the level of comfort you’ll enjoy. If the levels are too high or too low, your heating and cooling systems may not work optimally, and health problems may arise. So how much humidity should you allow in your house?
Experts recommend humidity levels that are between 30% to 50%. In the summer, your home will feel comfortable with humidity levels of 30% to 45%. In the winter, you need to keep it lower than 40%. Ultimately, when it comes to how much humidity should be in your house, many people have personal preferences.
The rest of the article will explain what humidity in a home means and what happens when it is too high or too low. You’ll also learn how to manage high or low humidity at all times.
What Is Relative Humidity?
Relative humidity refers to the quantity of water vapor present in the air at any given point. It is expected as a percentage of the amount needed for saturation under the existing temperatures. The value will go up or down, depending on the temperature and other environmental factors. The 30-50% range is regarded as ideal for any inhabited space.
How to Measure Humidity in Your House
There are two tell-tale signs of high or low humidity indoors. Increased static electricity and cracking paint show low humidity while fogging, condensation, and mold formations are excellent pointers of high humidity.
To be absolutely certain about your humidity levels, however, you need to use a hygrometer. You can go with a no-frills option like the Cigar Oasis Caliber IV or an option that hooks up to your smartphone like the Govee Wireless.
What Are the Dangers of High Indoor Humidity?
The excess moisture in the air in a high humidity environment poses a number of problems, including the following:
Growth of Microorganisms and Contaminants
Excess moisture in your house encourages the growth and spread of bacteria, fungi, mold, viruses, and mildew. Dust mites also thrive when indoor humidity is higher than 70%.
These organisms and contaminants can cause damage to your home, and also negatively affect the indoor air quality. When you breathe in poor quality air long enough, you could develop respiratory illnesses.
More Frequent Allergic Reactions
Since high indoor humidity encourages the growth of contaminants, allergy sufferers, and people with conditions like asthma will experience more episodes.
Allergic rhinitis is another major allergic reaction to high humidity levels indoors. It causes wheezing, coughing, watery eyes, and more.
An Uncomfortably Clammy Indoor Environment
High humidity indoors will cause your home to feel clammy and uncomfortable. You’ll end up using the air conditioner at a lower temperature in an attempt to cool down the room, but this will only increase your energy bills unnecessarily because adjusting your humidity levels will get rid of this problem.
What Are the Dangers of Low Indoor Humidity?
Low relative humidity indoors can lead to a number of problems, including the following:
Worsening of Allergy Symptoms and Development of Other Health Problems
Low humidity indoors can cause asthma and allergy symptoms to worsen. You may also be more susceptible to sinus infections. Cold and flu viruses also thrive in this environment.
Other health problems you might experience include chapped lips and dry air passageways.
Colder Body Temperature
In low humidity environments, your body might feel colder even when you are in warm indoor temperature. As the dry air removes moisture from your skin, it will leave you feeling colder, and to deal with this, you will turn up the heat in your home.
Of course, this leads to unnecessarily wasted energy as just increasing the humidity in the air would have been enough.
Damage to Your Home Décor
The lack of adequate moisture in the air can lead to cracks on your flooring and your window and door frames. Leather furniture may also become warped.
If you’ve hung some hand-painted artwork, you may find the materials looking weaker as well.
How to Deal With Low Humidity Levels Indoors
If you start to see all the signs of low humidity in your home, you can remedy the situation with the following solutions:
Trigger Evaporation Artificially
To add some moisture to the air, all you need to in most cases is to place a container of water close to your heating system. As the heat goes over the water, it will cause evaporation that will linger in the room for a while.
An alternative is to hang wet towels in the room to dry. These options can be replicated easily, but you’ll need to manually refill the container or bring in more damp towels once the humidity starts going down again.
Use a Portable Humidifier
Portable humidifiers are designed to automatically add moisture to a room. You can carry them around, and you can place them on any surface. A humidifier comes with a reservoir that holds water, which has to be refilled from time to time.
There are two types of portable humidifiers: warm mist and cool mist humidifiers. You’ve probably guessed that the former has a mechanism for releasing warm water into the atmosphere while the latter cools down the water first. However, if you have proper heating in your home, a warm mist humidifier isn’t attractive.
Install a Whole-House Humidifier
Whole-house humidifiers are installed in your home’s furnace. This ensures that moisture is spread evenly across your house through the duct system. This option is expensive, as you’ll need a cold water connection to the humidifier as well as the space to install the unit.
How to Deal With High Humidity Levels Indoors
If you feel the humidity levels indoors is too high, there are a few things you can do. They include the following:
Turn Down Your Humidifier
If you installed a whole-house humidifier, it is possible that it is adding too much moisture to the air in your home. Regulate it better by turning down the humidistat. For portable humidifiers, you can turn them off completely.
Get a Dehumidifier
Just as a humidifier adds moisture to the environment, a dehumidifier reduces the level of moisture in the air. They run quietly in the background and a good addition to the home during the summer months. Some examples of dehumidifiers you can use in your home include the Pro Breeze Electric Mini and the Vremi 4,500.
Use Exhaust Fans
If you have exhaust fans, use them while cooking or bathing. They will cycle out the high humidity air and bring in fresh drier air. If you don’t have exhaust fans, opening the doors and windows after bathing and cooking could be enough.
However, this approach will only work when you are sure that the air outside is fresher and drier. To avoid increasing the humidity levels in your home while cooking or bathing, make sure you cover your pots and take cooler showers where possible.
The level of humidity in your house isn’t something to be ignored. Apart from the increased discomfort that comes with the wrong level of humidity, it can also trigger a raft of health problems.
Install a hygrometer in your home to ensure the humidity level is between the recommended 30-50%. If you notice that you are recording readings well outside this range during the summer or winter, use any of the recommended solutions above to remedy the situation.
- HVAC: What is the Ideal Humidity Level for Your House?
- Central HTG: Managing Ideal Indoor Humidity for Maximum Comfort
- Do it Yourself: How to Maintain the Proper Humidity Levels in Your Home
- Apartment Therapy: Ideal Indoor Humidity Levels & How to Control Them at Home
- Hunker: What Is a Good Humidity Level in a House?
- Kauvery Hospital: Humidity and Rise in Allergies