How To Decrease Humidity In Your Home


how to decrease humidity

Humidity, a frequently overlooked aspect of indoor living, has a subtle but significant impact on how we live our lives. It’s simple to ignore the humidity levels in our surroundings as we go about our daily lives. However, the degree of moisture in the air can significantly impact our well-being, the condition of our homes, and even the lifespan of our belongings.

When the humidity level in your home is high, you feel it. High humidity means that there is a lot of moisture in the air. The air may feel muggy. You may have sweat running down your back or forming on your forehead even when you didn’t do anything strenuous. If you are experiencing this, then it is important to know how to decrease humidity in your home for a number of reasons.

High humidity can be bad for you and your home. For you, it can be uncomfortable and can affect your health. For your home, it can lead to damage through condensation build-up, mold, and mildew.

In this article, we will look at how to decrease humidity to comfortable and safe levels.

Understanding Humidity

Humidity refers to the amount of moisture present in the air. It’s often expressed as a percentage, with higher percentages indicating more moisture. Understanding humidity is important because it affects not only our comfort but also the overall health of our living spaces.

Ideal Humidity Levels

The ideal indoor humidity level can vary depending on factors like climate, season, and personal comfort preferences. However, as a general guideline:

  • Winter: Indoor humidity levels between 30% and 40% are typically recommended during the colder months. This helps prevent issues like dry skin and respiratory discomfort.
  • Summer: In warmer seasons, indoor humidity levels should ideally be between 40% and 60%. This range provides a balance between comfort and preventing moisture-related problems.

When the humidity is too high, it promotes mold formation and can create condensation on windows and walls. If left unchecked, it can damage the structure of your home and develop wood rot.

In addition to feeling damp, high humidity can trigger respiratory issues, and allergies, and make it hard to sleep at night.

Therefore, maintaining humidity levels within this range of 30-60% is important.

Impact of Humidity on Health and Comfort

Humidity plays a significant role in how we feel indoors. When humidity is too high, the air can feel heavy and uncomfortable. On the other hand, when it’s too low, it can lead to dry skin, irritated eyes, and respiratory problems.

Excessively high indoor humidity can create an environment where mold and dust mites thrive, potentially triggering allergies and respiratory issues. Conversely, excessively low humidity can cause issues like static electricity, which can damage electronics and create discomfort.

Understanding these basics of humidity is the first step in achieving a healthier and more comfortable indoor environment.

Identifying High Humidity

Recognizing high humidity in your home is crucial for taking corrective action before it leads to more significant problems. While it might seem obvious when the air feels damp, there are specific signs to watch for:

Signs and Symptoms of High Humidity

  1. Condensation: The most apparent sign is water droplets forming on windows, mirrors, or other surfaces. This occurs when warm, moist air comes into contact with cooler surfaces.
  2. Mold and Mildew: High humidity fosters the growth of mold and mildew, which often appears as black spots or discoloration on walls, ceilings, or in damp areas like bathrooms and basements.
  3. Musty Odors: Excess moisture can lead to unpleasant, musty smells in your home. These odors are often a telltale sign of mold or mildew growth.
  4. Difficulty Breathing: High humidity can make the air feel heavy and difficult to breathe, especially for individuals with respiratory issues like asthma.

Using a Hygrometer to Measure Indoor Humidity

Humidity is typically measured using a device called a hygrometer. This instrument provides a relative humidity reading, which represents the percentage of moisture in the air relative to the maximum amount the air can hold at a given temperature. For example, if the relative humidity is 50%, the air is holding half the moisture it could hold at that temperature.

Place a hygrometer in different areas of your home to get a comprehensive understanding of the moisture levels.

There are several types of hygrometers. For more information on the best indoor hygrometers, click here.

Common Causes of High Humidity

Understanding the causes of high humidity in your home is essential for effective humidity management. Several factors can contribute to elevated indoor humidity levels:

Weather Conditions

  1. High Outdoor Humidity: If you live in a humid climate, your indoor humidity levels may rise naturally when it’s hot and humid outside.
  2. Rain and Storms: Heavy rainfall or storms can introduce moisture into your home through leaks, open windows, or damaged roofs.

Poor Ventilation

  1. Inadequate Ventilation: A lack of proper ventilation can trap moisture indoors, especially in areas like bathrooms and kitchens.

Water Leaks and Moisture Sources

  1. Plumbing Leaks: Leaky pipes, faucets, or appliances can introduce excess moisture into your home.
  2. Damp Basements: Basements are prone to moisture issues, particularly if they’re not properly sealed or if groundwater seepage is a problem.

Household Activities

  1. Cooking: Boiling water and cooking without proper ventilation can release a significant amount of moisture into the air.
  2. Showering: Taking hot showers without using exhaust fans can increase humidity levels in bathrooms.

How To Decrease Humidity

There are several ways to reduce indoor humidity. Here are some examples:

Use The A/C

Your air conditioner is one of the perfect tools at your disposal for helping to decrease humidity. It does this by simply introducing cool dry air into your home. While doing this, warm, humid air is removed.

Remember to keep your air conditioner in good working order at all times and check the filter frequently. Clean it when necessary and it should perform well for a long time.

HVAC System Upgrades

Consider upgrading your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system to include humidity control features. Some modern HVAC systems offer integrated humidifiers and dehumidifiers that can automatically adjust indoor humidity levels.

Use A Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are one of the most effective and popular solutions for controlling humidity in your home. They work by drawing in moist air, cooling it to condense the moisture, and then releasing the drier air back into your living space. Here’s an overview of dehumidifiers:

There are many different types of dehumidifiers available in the marketplace. Some small dehumidifiers are portable allowing you to move from room to room or you can have a whole-home unit as part of your furnace.

Types of Dehumidifiers

There are two primary types of dehumidifiers:

  • Refrigerative Dehumidifiers: These are the most common type and work similarly to air conditioners. They use a refrigeration process to cool the air, causing moisture to condense and collect in a water reservoir. The dry air is then released back into the room.
  • Desiccant Dehumidifiers: Desiccant dehumidifiers use a desiccant material (typically silica gel) to absorb moisture from the air. They’re more efficient in low-temperature conditions, making them suitable for cooler climates or specific applications.

Choosing the Right Size and Capacity

Selecting the right size and capacity for your dehumidifier is crucial for its effectiveness. Consider the following factors when making your choice:

  • Room Size: Calculate the square footage of the area you want to dehumidify. Dehumidifiers are rated based on the amount of moisture they can remove in a given time, usually measured in pints per day (PPD). Match the PPD capacity to your room size.
  • Humidity Levels: If your area experiences extremely high humidity, you may need a larger-capacity dehumidifier to maintain comfortable levels.
  • Usage: Consider how frequently and for how long you intend to run the dehumidifier. For continuous use, a unit with a larger water tank or the ability to connect to a drain may be preferable.

Maintenance and Operation Tips

To ensure your dehumidifier functions optimally and lasts a long time, follow these maintenance and operation tips:

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean the water reservoir and other accessible parts of the dehumidifier regularly to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
  • Filter Replacement: If your dehumidifier has a filter, replace it as recommended by the manufacturer to maintain airflow and efficiency.
  • Placement: Position the dehumidifier in the center of the room for even air circulation. Keep it away from walls and obstructions.
  • Emptying the Reservoir: Empty the water reservoir when it’s full to prevent spills and maintain efficiency.

Use Exhaust/Ventilation Fans

Kitchens and bathrooms often have exhaust or ventilation fans. These are specifically meant to be used to remove excess moisture from these areas.

Hot showers or baths, cooking, and washing dishes all contribute to the humidity inside your home. If ventilation is not adequate, exhaust and ventilation fans do a great job of pulling moisture outside of the home.

Humidity-activated exhaust fans are equipped with humidity sensors that automatically activate when they detect elevated moisture levels. They are ideal for spaces like crawl spaces and attics, where humidity issues may not always be apparent.

Hang Your Laundry Outside

Damp clothes fresh out of the washing machine will increase the humidity in your home as they dry. While using indoor drying racks may be a good way to reduce energy costs on your electric dryer, especially during the warmer months, you may be able to hang those clothes on a clothesline outside. This removes the dampness from inside your home and helps to decrease indoor humidity.

Move Houseplants Outside

As beautiful as houseplants are, they can add to the humidity inside a home. Plants are both effective in improving indoor air quality and creating a healthy indoor environment. But the downside is they release some moisture into the air.

If the humidity is already high inside your home, house plants can contribute to that adding to the problem.

Open A Window

Have you noticed that after you have a hot shower if you open the bathroom window the condensation on mirrors and fog within the space disappears? The same idea applies when you find your home too humid, and when the air is dryer outside.

All you have to do is open a window or two to create airflow and that will push the humid air outside of your home replacing it with fresh air.

Seal and Insulate Your Home

Properly sealing and insulating your home can prevent moisture infiltration. Check for gaps and cracks in windows, doors, and walls with weatherstripping and caulking to keep outdoor humidity from affecting indoor levels.

Take Cooler Showers

how to reduce humidity

Speaking of showers…if you are a fan of hot showers, you should be well aware of the steam it creates. By reducing the temperature of your shower by just a few degrees, you will still have a comfortable, warm shower, but you will also reduce the amount of steam produced.

Also, reduce the amount of time that you take a shower to reduce humidity further.

Monitor Your Gutters & Pipes For Leaks

Gutters around the outside of the home are a common source of indoor water leaks. When an indoor water leak is left unnoticed, not only will it cause damage to the structure of your home, but it will increase the humidity level as well.

Condensation, stains on drywall, wet spots, and water bills that are unusually high are all signs of a possible indoor water leak. Any leaks are critical to find and fix ASAP.

Check Floor Rugs

Rugs can add to the humidity inside your home. This is because they are so good at trapping and holding moisture. Sometimes, rugs will develop mold or grow fungus due to the moisture trapped inside of them.

If your rugs smell musty or damp, there is a solution. You can have them dry cleaned or if you prefer, replace your rugs to reduce humidity in the home.

Silica Gel Packets

Silica gel packets are small bags filled with silica gel beads, which are excellent at absorbing moisture. You can place these packets in various moisture-prone areas, such as closets, drawers, and storage containers, to prevent dampness and mildew.

Reusable Dehumidifying Bags

Similar to silica gel packets, reusable dehumidifying bags contain desiccant materials that can be rejuvenated by heating in an oven. These bags are eco-friendly and can be used repeatedly to combat humidity in small spaces.

Put Out Some Charcoal

Believe it or not, charcoal is very effective at absorbing air moisture. All you need is a small bowl or basket where you would place a few charcoal briquettes that you would ordinarily use with your barbeque.

The charcoal will help to lower humidity in your home and will continue to do so for months. You just have to replace the briquettes every three months to keep them fresh.

Monitoring and Maintenance

Once you’ve implemented strategies to reduce humidity in your home, it’s essential to maintain a consistent and comfortable indoor environment. Regular monitoring and maintenance will help ensure that you continue to enjoy the benefits of balanced humidity levels. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Regularly Checking Indoor Humidity Levels

Monitoring indoor humidity levels is a fundamental part of humidity control. To keep track of the moisture content in your home’s air, follow these steps:

  1. Use a Hygrometer: Invest in a reliable hygrometer to measure and display indoor humidity levels accurately. Place it in different areas of your home to get a comprehensive overview.
  2. Set Optimal Levels: Refer to the recommended humidity levels for your climate and season. Adjust your dehumidifier or humidifier settings accordingly to maintain these levels.
  3. Regular Check-Ups: Make it a habit to check the hygrometer regularly, especially during significant weather changes. Sudden shifts in temperature or humidity can affect your indoor environment.
  4. Record Data: Keep a record of humidity levels over time. This can help you identify patterns and make informed adjustments to your humidity control strategies.

Adjusting Strategies Based on the Season

Humidity levels can vary a lot depending on the season, so it’s important to adapt your strategies accordingly:

  1. Summer: During hot and humid summer months, you may need to run your dehumidifier more frequently to maintain comfortable humidity levels. Ensure your air conditioning system is in good working order, as it can also help dehumidify the air.
  2. Winter: In colder seasons, indoor air tends to be drier, which can lead to low humidity levels. Consider using a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Be mindful not to over-humidify, as this can cause its own set of problems.
  3. Transitional Seasons: Spring and fall can bring fluctuating weather conditions. Be prepared to adjust your strategies as needed to maintain balanced humidity levels as temperatures change.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Future Humidity Issues

Preventing humidity issues from recurring is just as important as addressing current problems. Here are some preventive measures to consider:

  1. Regular Maintenance: Maintain your HVAC system, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers by following manufacturer recommendations for cleaning and servicing. This ensures optimal performance.
  2. Inspect for Leaks: Periodically check for water leaks in plumbing, roofs, and walls. Promptly address any issues to prevent moisture infiltration.
  3. Proper Ventilation: Ensure that your home has adequate ventilation in areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and attics. Ventilation fans, open windows, and proper airflow are essential for humidity control.
  4. Sealing and Insulation: Continually inspect and update the sealing and insulation of your home to prevent outdoor humidity from affecting indoor levels.
  5. Regular Cleaning: Keep your home clean and free from mold and mildew. Regularly clean areas prone to moisture buildup, such as bathrooms and basements.
  6. Landscaping: Properly grade the landscape around your home to prevent water from pooling near the foundation, which can lead to basement moisture issues.

Benefits of Maintaining Proper Humidity

Maintaining proper humidity levels in your home offers a host of benefits that extend beyond just comfort. By controlling indoor humidity, you can create a healthier, more pleasant living environment for you and your family. Let’s explore the various advantages:

Improved Indoor Air Quality

One of the most significant benefits of maintaining proper humidity levels is the enhancement of indoor air quality. Here’s how it contributes to cleaner and healthier air:

  • Reduced Allergens: Balanced humidity levels inhibit the growth of mold, mildew, and dust mites, all of which thrive in excessively humid conditions. This reduction in allergens can alleviate allergies and respiratory issues.
  • Less Airborne Contaminants: Moist air can harbor and circulate contaminants, including bacteria and viruses. Proper humidity control helps minimize the transmission of illnesses by reducing the viability of airborne pathogens.
  • Fresh Air Circulation: Maintaining ideal humidity levels encourages regular air exchange in your home, preventing stale and stagnant indoor air.

Preservation of Your Home and Belongings

Proper humidity control can significantly extend the life of your home’s structure and the possessions within it. Here’s how it helps preserve your investments:

  • Prevents Structural Damage: High humidity levels can lead to structural problems like rot, warping, and decay. By maintaining balanced humidity, you protect your home’s integrity and longevity.
  • Preserves Wood and Furniture: Wood floors, furniture, and musical instruments can warp, crack, or become damaged in high-humidity conditions. Proper humidity control safeguards these valuable items.
  • Prevents Corrosion: Humidity can contribute to the corrosion of metal objects and appliances. By maintaining optimal humidity levels, you reduce the risk of rust and damage to electronics.
  • Protects Art and Collectibles: Artwork, antiques, and collectibles are often sensitive to humidity fluctuations. Maintaining consistent humidity helps preserve their value and integrity.

Health and Comfort Benefits

Balanced humidity levels have a direct impact on your health and overall comfort within your home:

  • Respiratory Health: Maintaining the right humidity levels can help alleviate dry throat, nasal irritation, and congestion, especially during the winter when indoor air tends to be drier.
  • Sleep Quality: Comfortable humidity levels promote better sleep by reducing discomfort from dry skin or stuffy air.
  • Energy Efficiency: Proper humidity control can make your home more energy-efficient. When air is at the right humidity level, it feels more comfortable, allowing you to set your thermostat at a higher temperature in the summer or a lower temperature in the winter, reducing energy consumption.
  • Improved Skin Health: Balanced humidity levels can prevent dry and flaky skin, reducing the need for excessive use of moisturizers.
  • Enhanced Concentration: Comfortable humidity levels can improve concentration and productivity, making your home a more conducive environment for work and study.

Additional Resources

When doing research on ways to decrease humidity in your home and maintain a comfortable indoor environment, it’s essential to have access to additional resources that can provide valuable information and expert guidance. Here are some avenues you can explore:

References to Further Reading and Expert Advice

  1. Online Resources: There are numerous websites, blogs, and forums dedicated to home humidity control and related topics. Websites like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Energy, and the American Lung Association offer valuable information on indoor air quality and humidity management.
  2. Books: Consider reading books on home maintenance, indoor air quality, and humidity control. A few recommended titles include “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Building and Remodeling” by John Barrows and Lisa Iannucci, and “My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure” by Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete.
  3. Local Experts: Consult with local HVAC professionals, home inspectors, and contractors for personalized advice on managing humidity in your specific climate and home.

Recommended Product Manufacturers to Help with Decreasing Humidity

When it comes to selecting humidity-reducing products for your home, choosing reputable manufacturers is crucial to ensure the effectiveness and reliability of these devices. Here are some well-known manufacturers of products designed to decrease humidity:

  1. Dehumidifiers:
    • Frigidaire: Frigidaire offers a range of dehumidifiers known for their performance and energy efficiency.
    • Honeywell: Honeywell produces dehumidifiers that cater to various room sizes and humidity levels.
    • LG: LG’s dehumidifiers combine advanced technology with user-friendly features.
  2. Moisture-Absorbing Crystals and Packs:
    • DampRid: DampRid provides moisture-absorbing products ideal for small spaces, closets, and cupboards.
    • Eva-Dry: Eva-Dry offers renewable and eco-friendly dehumidifying solutions that are easy to use and maintain.
  3. Humidity-Activated Exhaust Fans:
    • Panasonic: Panasonic manufactures humidity-sensing exhaust fans that automatically activate when needed to control moisture in bathrooms and other areas.
  4. HVAC System Components:
    • Trane: Trane is a trusted name in HVAC systems and offers humidity control solutions as part of its comprehensive product line.
    • Carrier: Carrier also provides HVAC systems and components that include humidity control features for home comfort.

High Humidity FAQs

Why is my house so humid?

Many factors, such as the outside climate, inadequate ventilation, water leaks, and daily household activities, can contribute to high humidity levels in your home.

What are the symptoms of high humidity?

Condensation on windows, musty smells, mold growth, and discomfort are a few common signs of high humidity. Health problems like allergies and respiratory issues can also result from high humidity.

How can I reduce high humidity in my house?

To reduce high humidity in your house, you can take several steps:
– Improve ventilation by using exhaust fans and opening windows.
– Address water leaks and sources of moisture promptly.
– Use dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture from the air.
– Maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
– Seal and insulate your home to prevent moisture infiltration.
– Reduce moisture-producing activities like cooking without proper ventilation.

Are there health risks associated with high humidity in my home?

Yes, excessive humidity can harm your health. Mold, dust mites, and bacteria can grow in an environment with too much humidity, which can cause allergies and respiratory problems. Pests may be able to breed there as well. For a healthy indoor environment, proper humidity levels must always be maintained.

What are the ideal humidity levels for my house in different seasons?

The ideal indoor humidity varies depending on the season and environment. As a general rule, indoor humidity levels of 30% to 40% in the winter are advised to prevent dryness, while levels of 40% to 60% in the summer are suitable for comfort and to guard against moisture-related problems.

Can I use houseplants to reduce humidity in my home?

By absorbing moisture through their leaves, some indoor plants can somewhat lower humidity levels. However, their effectiveness is limited, so for more effective humidity control, you might need to use other strategies like dehumidifiers.

What are the benefits of using a dehumidifier in my house?

When it comes to lowering the humidity in your home, dehumidifiers can be very effective. They aid in preventing mold growth, enhancing comfort, enhancing indoor air quality, and guarding your home and possessions from moisture-related harm. Dehumidifiers can also help with health problems linked to high humidity.

How can I prevent high humidity issues from recurring in my house?

To prevent high humidity issues from recurring, consider:
– Regularly maintaining your HVAC system and dehumidifiers.
– Inspecting and repairing plumbing leaks and sealing your home.
– Using proper ventilation in moisture-prone areas.
– Monitoring humidity levels and adjusting strategies seasonally.

Can high humidity damage my home’s structure and furnishings?

Yes, excessive humidity can cause rot, warping, and decay as well as structural damage. Electronics, musical instruments, and wooden furniture can all sustain damage from it. For the preservation of your house and possessions, proper humidity control is necessary.

Final Thoughts on How To Reduce Humidity

High humidity levels inside your home are not good for your health or the health of your home. By understanding the basics of humidity, identifying high humidity in your home, addressing common causes, and implementing practical strategies, you can control the humidity in your indoor environment. From using dehumidifiers and moisture-absorbing products to preventive measures and seasonal adjustments, there are numerous tools at your disposal.

Ultimately, a well-managed indoor environment is not just about the structure that surrounds you; it’s about the quality of life you experience within it. By using these tips on how to decrease humidity in your home, you can keep relative humidity at a safe level, and you and your family will be able to live in your home in comfort.

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