Maintaining the correct humidity level is essential for creating a comfortable environment. Too much humidity can lead to uncomfortable conditions like mold growth and skin irritation, while too little humidity can cause dryness of the skin, eyes, and nasal passages.
The levels of relative humidity in the air can impact the comfort of your house and the efficient functioning of your heating and air conditioning systems, regardless of what sort of climate you live in.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends a range of 30 to 50 percent relative humidity for the ideal comfort level in your home. In general, you should aim to maintain a humidity level that feels comfortable to you and helps to avoid the problems mentioned above. You can use a hygrometer to measure the relative humidity in your home and adjust your humidifier or dehumidifier accordingly.
If you live in a dry climate, you may need to increase the humidity level in your home with a humidifier. If you live in a humid climate, you may need to decrease the humidity level with a dehumidifier. No matter where you live, it’s important to keep an eye on the relative humidity in your home and adjust it accordingly to ensure maximum comfort.
What’s the Best Humidity Level for Your Home, and How do You Control it?
During the summer, the average humidity should be between 30 and 45 percent (below 50%). Because of the cold, it’s important to maintain a relative humidity level of less than 40 percent in the winter. Problems can be prevented if you stay within the proper range.
If your home’s air quality isn’t kept up, not only will it feel unpleasant to live in, but you and your family may be at risk of respiratory problems or chemical reactions.
Additionally, improper humidity levels can also cause damage to both the inside and outside of your home.
The ideal temperature in your home may be different for each member of the family, but maintaining suggested humidity levels at various times of the year will ensure your comfort and safety.
How to Manage Home Humidity Levels Through the Season
In the summer, humidity levels outside can be as high as 90 percent. This humidity will bring inside and could make it difficult to cool your home. In order to keep the humidity low, set your air conditioner to 68 degrees or below and use a fan.
Window fans are great at bringing in fresh air while cooling the room. Ceiling fans should also be used to help circulate the air. If you’re using a central air conditioning system, make sure the ducts are properly sealed so that cool air doesn’t escape.
During winter, the ideal humidity level is between 30 and 50 percent. When the furnace runs, it can suck all of the moisture out of the air, so using a humidifier is essential. You can also invest in a humidifier that works with your furnace, which is helpful when you’re trying to maintain humidity in the home.
The recommended humidity levels aren’t meant to be set in stone for comfort and safety. If you feel more comfortable at a higher level, you should do so. However, if the air quality feels off or uncomfortable, it’s important to make adjustments.
Tips for a comfortable summer:
- Use exhaust fans
- Use air conditioning to remove moisture indoors
- Discontinue the use of humidifiers
Tips for a comfortable winter:
- Add a whole-house humidifier
- Use a portable room humidifier
- Add houseplants
Indoor Air Quality: HVAC Humidity Problems and Solutions
As the cold weather approaches, homeowners are preparing to turn their furnaces on for the first time in months. Many may be unaware that their decision could lead to significant damage unless they take measures to increase indoor humidity.
Without proper humidity levels, residents run the risk of experiencing dry skin, sinus congestion, and itchy eyes. In an even more concerning scenario, homeowners can actually incur structural damage if they fail to heat their homes adequately during winter. Failure to maintain safe humidity levels will inevitably lead to high utility bills as well as dry air-related health problems for residents.
It’s a good idea to have a strategy in place before the summer months become hot and humid. It’s important to maintain a relative humidity of less than 50 percent in the highest-humidity months. If you live in a humid climate, you may need to decrease the humidity level with a dehumidifier.
Additionally, if your home is not properly sealed and ventilated for wintertime heating, it will struggle to retain moisture during the cold season; this struggle could lead to serious problems such as cracking drywall or broken window sills. This tends to be an issue only with homes that lack adequate indoor air quality (IAQ).
Your HVAC system can also help regulate moisture levels throughout your home by keeping humidity at safe levels and maintaining ideal temperatures year-round. It’s important to keep your furnace well maintained and updated so that it can function optimally and keep your humidity levels in check.
If you’re not sure whether or not your home suffers from low humidity, there are a few telltale signs to look out for:
- You have dry skin, sinus congestion, or itchy eyes
- Your home has visible cracks in the walls or windowsills
- You have high utility bills
- Your home is difficult to cool in the summer or warm in the winter
If you experience any of these problems, it’s important to take measures to increase your indoor humidity levels. The best way to do this is by installing a whole-house humidifier, which will add moisture directly into the air and help regulate humidity levels throughout your home. Additionally, adding plants to your home will increase humidity levels and clean the air naturally.
Maintaining a comfortable relative humidity is essential for health, comfort, aging of materials in structures, delivery of heating and cooling energy as well as fire protection. In most climates during the heating season, the majority of moisture comes from water vapor condensing on cold surfaces as temperatures cool at night. If those surfaces are inside an occupied space such as a house or office building then some occupants may become uncomfortable due to moisture from those surfaces being introduced at a rate faster than it can be removed by ventilation.
Types of Humidifiers You Can Use in Your Home
Humidifiers provide moisture to your air to keep it from becoming dry. The sort of humidifier you choose is dependent on your taste, budget, and size of the space you wish to add moisture to.
1. Cool Mist Humidifiers
These humidifiers use a fan to disperse cool mist into the air and are highly recommended for use in small spaces. Since they do need electricity and water, you’ll want to keep them away from furniture or other objects that can be damaged by moisture.
2. Warm Mist Humidifiers
Like the Cool Mist, warm mist humidifiers also dispense steam into your air; unlike their cool counterparts, however, they only require electricity (not water) and therefore can’t cause as much damage if they need to be moved at some point—though you may still want to check with your manufacturer before moving it around.
3. Whole-Home Humidifiers
Whole-home humidifiers attach to your home’s water supply and humidify all the air in the house. They come in both cool and warm mist varieties, and some even have built-in filters to help purify your air.
4. Whole-Home Dehumidifiers
Whole-home dehumidifiers do the opposite of whole-home humidifiers and attach to your home’s AC unit in order to remove humidity from the air. This is ideal for homes that are too moist or have problems with mold or mildew.
Maintaining the correct humidity level in your home is key to keeping you and your belongings healthy and comfortable. By installing a humidifier, you can make sure that your air is always at the perfect humidity for your needs. For more information on how to choose the right humidifier for your home, get in touch with our team today.