Humid air can be uncomfortable, especially if the ambient temperature is warm.
Maintaining the proper humidity levels is vital to ensure comfort and prevent possible health issues, and dehumidifiers are usually used to achieve this.
But can regular fans help you reduce humidity in a room?
Regular fans don’t dehumidify moving air at home. A fan can only blow fresh, cooler air into a room from outside and circulate the air inside the room.
To dehumidify a space, you will need a dehumidifier, a device that effectively removes moisture from the air and blows dry air back into the room.
I’ll discuss the difference between fans and dehumidifiers and some tips to help you reduce the humidity in your home.
Read on to find out more.
If you’ve already tried using fans and are looking for a more effective solution to humidity in your home, we’ve written an article about dehumidifiers, which you can read here.
Why Fans Can’t Dehumidify As Well As Dehumidifiers
While fans don’t help reduce humidity, with proper placement, they can be an inexpensive way to ensure ventilation in a room and make you feel cooler.
In comparison, dehumidifiers can improve air circulation and remove excess humidity in a room.
However, it can’t bring in fresh air from the outside. It only removes the moisture from the existing air inside a room and moves it around.
If you want to buy a dehumidifier, choose a suitable unit depending on the size and dampness level of the room.
To measure a room’s humidity, you will need a device called a hygrometer.
Dehumidifiers are typically available in a variety of sizes and capacities. To get the most from your dehumidifier, you should choose the right size for your room.
A fan alone can’t help much in reducing humidity, but it can work hand in hand with a dehumidifier to achieve ideal humidity and ventilation in your home.
Here are some of the reasons why running a fan with a dehumidifier is beneficial:
- Fans make the room feel cooler by bringing cool air up around your face and warmer air into the lower part of the room.
- Using a fan with a dehumidifier can help improve indoor air quality. A fan can help increase airflow, preventing dust particles and mold growth from accumulating in your home.
- Running a fan with your dehumidifier can help you reduce your energy bill. With the help of a fan, air circulates the room. Your dehumidifier doesn’t need to work as hard to remove the humidity, helping you save on electricity consumption.
These are some of the reasons why I recommend running a fan with your dehumidifier.
If the fan and dehumidifier combination doesn’t work for you, I’ve listed other ways you can try to help reduce indoor moisture.
Humidity is a measure of the amount of water vapor present in the air.
When the air is humid, sweat evaporates slower, making the temperature feel warmer than it actually is.
For health and comfort, indoor moisture levels in cool temperatures should be between 30% and 50%, says EPA.gov. In warmer weather, the ideal humidity level is 40% to 60%.
Humidity levels over 60% can cause our bodies to overheat and can pose a potential danger to our health.
The adverse effects of high humidity levels on our bodies include excessive sweating, hyperthermia, dehydration, and heat strokes.
In addition to these health concerns, increased humidity levels can make cooling devices work harder. This can lead to higher energy bills.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it can also cause mold growth and structural damage to your home.
The best way to avoid such problems is to remove accumulated moisture and prevent more from entering your home.
Aside from using fans and dehumidifiers, here are some practical ways to help decrease humidity in your home:
Ventilation is the exchange of air from the outside and the inside of a room or building.
With poor ventilation, a home can trap moisture and harmful pollutants that are generated indoors.
It is essential to improve ventilation in a room to help reduce humidity and contaminants accumulated indoors.
To improve ventilation, you must ensure natural airflow from windows and doors, use exhaust fans, or install a whole-house ventilation system.
Give special attention to areas that get wet and damp often, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Water entering your home through leaks in the roof or pipes can contribute to humidity problems.
Here are some of the common sources of indoor moisture:
- People and daily activities. Did you know that a person typically produces 3 pints (1.4 liters) of water just by breathing? Activities such as bathing, perspiring, cooking, and washing clothes can also generate more moisture in the home.
- Houseplants. While not all, certain house plants respire significant amounts of water into the air. Humidifying houseplants are good to keep inside the home if you want to increase humidity during dry winters, but placing them outdoors can solve this issue during the warm, humid months.
- Hot tubs. A hot tub is an excellent way to wind down and relieve stress after a long day until excessive humidity starts to cause issues in your home. When using a hot tub, it’s essential to ensure proper ventilation so that moisture can escape.
- Storing firewood indoors. Firewood releases a considerable amount of moisture into the air. When stored indoors, it can significantly increase the humidity level and subsequently cause mold, structural damage to your home, and health problems for your family.
- Leaks and cracks in the house. Leaks are a common source of indoor moisture. Water typically enters the home through roof leaks caused by broken shingles or clogged gutters. Leaks in windows are caused by failing sealant around the frame.
Here are some tips to prevent water from entering your home:
- Find and fix any leakage source as soon as possible.
- Vent appliances outside of the house.
- Ensure proper ventilation, especially in damp areas.
- Keep your roof, plumbing, and drainage pipes in good condition.
Using an air conditioner is a great way to reduce moisture in the air and provide comfort, especially in hot and humid climates.
However, be sure to maintain your air conditioning system properly so it doesn’t become a source of indoor pollutants.
Carpets make a room feel cozy and look more attractive.
However, they can absorb moisture and serve as a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and even insects that can cause damage and other issues.
To avoid such problems, ditch the carpet and opt for a hard surface instead. If you prefer carpeted floors, area rugs are better — they can be taken up and washed often.
Factors That Influence Indoor Air Humidity
Understanding the factors that affect indoor air humidity will help you maintain an optimal humidity level. These factors include:
- Temperature: The temperature inside your home has a direct impact on humidity. Warmer air holds more moisture, while cooler air has a lower capacity for humidity.
- Ventilation: Insufficient ventilation leads to stagnant air, which may trap moisture and contribute to high humidity levels. Adequate ventilation, through the use of exhaust fans, open windows, or a well-designed HVAC system, facilitates air exchange, reducing humidity. Areas prone to high moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens, should have effective ventilation systems.
- Air infiltration: Unwanted air infiltration from the outside can bring in moisture and outdoor humidity. Proper sealing of windows and doors, along with adequate insulation, prevents the entry of humid air, especially during humid weather conditions.
- Occupancy activities: Daily activities, such as cooking, showering, and even breathing, contribute to indoor humidity. While these activities alone may not lead to high humidity levels, cumulative effects can be significant, especially in tightly sealed homes.
- Indoor plants: Indoor plants release water through transpiration. Therefore, having an abundance of plants in a confined space can impact overall moisture levels.
A regular fan can’t reduce the humidity inside a room, but it does help circulate the air and make it feel cooler.
If you want to decrease a room’s humidity level and feel cooler at the same time, a dehumidifier and fan combination is the way to go.
You can also try some of the tips I shared with you to help reduce your home’s moisture level and feel comfortable, especially during the humid summer months.
Further reading on how to dehumidify your home without using a dehumidifier is available here.