The humidity level inside of your home can be crucial. Too much or too little moisture in the air you breathe can be harmful to both your health and the structure of your home. In this article, we will cover what humidity levels can do to you and your home, how to test humidity in your home, and ways to increase or decrease the humidity when required.
The Hazards of Humidity
As stated, humidity levels have an impact on not just your health, but the health of the structure of your home. Here is a quick look at what low or high humidity can do to both:
- Dry skin, itchiness, and other skin irritations
- A higher chance of getting sick with a cold or flu
For Your Home…
- Cracking, splitting, and warping of wood
- Possible structural damage
- Allergic reactions such as sneezing, coughing, etc.
- An overall feeling of lethargy and lack of energy
For Your Home…
- Mold and mildew buildup damaging walls, ceilings
- Condensation on the insides of windows
How To Test Humidity In Your Home
Three common methods can help you to determine the indoor humidity in your home. These include the following:
Observations Made Within Your Home
One of the best ways how to test the humidity in your house is through observation. You just simply have to pay attention to the conditions inside your home and make note of changes. If the humidity levels are too far to one end of the spectrum, you should be able to tell.
If windows are covered in moisture and closets have mold on the walls, those are clues that the humidity is too high. The humidity is too low if you may see evidence of cracking plaster or wood, static electricity forming from walking across a rug, or you find yourself refilling flower vases frequently.
Use A Hygrometer
A hygrometer is a portable device that reads the humidity within a location and translates it to a percentage figure as Relative Humidity (RH). The normal humidity inside a house should fall somewhere between 30 and 50% RH. When the humidity is below 30%, it is low humidity. Any reading above 50% is considered high humidity.
Indoor hygrometers are available in various sizes and designs at your local hardware store or online. There are also many different types of hygrometers, including digital and analog versions. A simple hygrometer will cost you approximately $25 or less but will be well worth the investment for the health of your home and family.
The Ice Test
This is how to test humidity without a hygrometer. Put ice and water into a glass, stir it, then leave the glass sitting alone in the room for about three minutes. After this time, there should be moisture on the glass. If there is no moisture on the glass, you will know the humidity is low. This is how to test humidity in a room, but should not be used as a test in the bathroom or kitchen as both of those places produce their own moisture.
How To Change Indoor Humidity
There are a few simple things you can do to bring the humidity level in your home back to within a safe and comfortable range. The methods differ slightly from low humidity to high humidity.
How To Correct Low Humidity Levels
Purchase a humidifier and use it in the room or area where the humidity level is low. Humidifiers come in various sizes and are rated based on the amount of space they can service. You could also have a whole-house or furnace humidifier system installed and only use it during colder and/or drier times of the year.
Another way to increase humidity in your home is by doing this naturally. You can place shallow dishes of water in several places around your home. As the water evaporates, moisture will be added to the air. Leaving the bathroom door open following a shower or opening the dishwasher after it has completed a load also adds moisture to the air.
How To Correct High Humidity Levels
Ventilation will help move excess moisture out of the home from various sources ranging from washing machines, clothes dryers, and showers. You can help ventilate by opening windows, using exhaust fans or humidity control systems, and increasing air circulation just by keeping doors open throughout the home.
You can also use your air conditioner more often to help regulate humidity levels. Although we don’t want to use our A/Cs continuously due to energy prices, it is important to note that using the A/C will draw moisture out of the air and result in humidity levels decreasing.
One more effective way to bring down high humidity levels is with a device called a dehumidifier. It essentially does the opposite of a humidifier by pulling moisture out of the air and collecting it as water in a removable pail or container, or draining it away via a hose. These units come in various sizes and are rated by the volume of water they can collect in 24-hours. Click here for information on choosing the right dehumidifier.
The normal humidity inside a house should be between 30% and 50% RH. When the levels are beyond this range, the conditions can be problematic for both you and your home.
There are simple ways for how to test humidity in your home and to rectify the situation. By keeping the humidity in your home within the safe and comfortable range, you will be able to enjoy and protect your home all year round.