a picture of a desert with a dried out tree on the left, and a dehumidifer in a room on the right with the words "too much" in the middle

High humidity levels in your home can cause a myriad of problems.

Homes with high humidity levels can see damage from excess condensation, including warping and rotting woodwork. You might also see paint peeling off your walls.

From an air quality standpoint, it creates the perfect environment for mold growth, inviting diseases and bacteria to take hold. For those who suffer with asthma, allergies, and other respiratory conditions, this can pose quite a problem.

Dehumidifiers are the most popular way to reduce home humidity levels, but is it possible to lower the humidity level too much?

How To Know When Dehumidifying Is Too Much?

A woman holding her hand to her face, with cracks overlain to indicate dry skin as a result of dehumidifying too much.
Dehumidifying can lead to health problems such as dry skin. If your home is too dry, it’s possible that you’ve been running your dehumidifier too much.

High humidity comes with serious home and health risks, but so does low humidity.

The ideal humidity levels in your home is between 40-60%

If your home’s humidity levels are too low, you might notice:

  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Dry eyes
  • Respiratory issues. Cold and flu viruses last longer and spread faster in low humidity
  • Excess static electricity
  • Home damage. If wooden furniture and trim loses too much moisture, it will shrink and crack. You can also see paint cracking and chipping with low humidity levels too

Why Are My Humidity Levels Too Low?

If you currently have a dehumidifier in your home, keep in mind that running an oversized dehumidifier can take too much moisture out of the air.

How a dehumidifier will perform in a room depends on the size and humidity level of the room. For instance, if you use a high-capacity dehumidifier in a small space, the air will become dry in a short period.

Whole-home dehumidifiers will regulate based on their humidity setting. Portable dehumidifiers come in a variety of options. Some are more advanced than others but it is still a good idea to keep an eye on them so they don’t take too much humidity out.

If you aren’t running a dehumidifier and you have low humidity, you may have to install a humidifier. Certain climates are prone to dry air, especially those that experience cold winters.

Like dehumidifiers, these units have cheaper, portable options that can be purchased at home and hardware stores, as well as options that connect to your HVAC system. Luckily, they tend to be cheaper to install than dehumidifiers.

For more information about how a dehumidifier works, read our article about this here.

Temperature and Weather Changes

A man pulling a picture of cloudy weather from the corner to reveal a sunny scene behind.
Changing weather can lead to swings in humidity in the home.

Temperature and weather conditions are some of the most influential factors affecting humidity.

Air can hold more moisture in warm weather than in cool weather. So, when the temperature gets cold, the humidity drops.

While good for ventilation, opening your windows or doors during the cold seasons will affect your home’s humidity.

During the summer season, using an air conditioner consistently over a long period can reduce humidity levels as well. Air conditioners remove humidity from your home as they cool. 

This normally isn’t a problem unless you live in a very dry climate. In this case, installing a humidifier is your best choice to keep your home comfortable.

Do I Need A Humidifier Too?

If you are experiencing discomfort from dry air or noticing any damage to wood furniture or trim, you will likely need some type of humidifier to add moisture back into the air. 

It is significantly easier to add humidity to the air than it is to take it out. A humidifier will be easier on your wallet than a dehumidifier. And you might be able to get by with a small, portable unit. 

These portable units are a little less effective than a humidifier that attaches to your HVAC system but they can work incredibly well for some situations. They require a simple electrical outlet for power and they have a water reservoir you will need to fill as needed.

Whole-home humidifiers attach directly to the ductwork of your central air system. These units tap into a water line in your basement and the only maintenance they require on your part is changing a filter periodically and closing a damper in the summer season.

Helpful Hint: Get yourself a digital humidity sensor, also known as a hygrometer, to keep an eye on your humidity levels before they become a problem. These are inexpensive (under $15) and will give you a heads up if your humidity levels are going too far in one direction.

A large crack in the end grain of a piece of wood.

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