A digital thermometer and humidity reader in front of a plant on a table

Home humidity is the measure of moisture concentration in the air. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), relative humidity within the home can range between 10% and 90%. 

It would be best to keep your home’s humidity at the ideal level, as too high or low moisture has health effects. 

This article will show you the effects of high and low moisture and the process of achieving the ideal level in your home. 

What’s the Ideal Humidity for Comfort and Efficiency?

The ideal home humidity for comfort and efficiency is between 30 and 50%. The temperature quickly affects humidity, as any change affects how humid your home may be. Your best bet is to have a hygrometer to know the humidity level in your home. 

How To Achieve Ideal Humidity

Humidity and temperature have close relations. Therefore, the ideal level during the cold weather isn’t the same in summer. However, the moisture should be below 50% for both seasons. 

Knowing when your home’s humidity is high or low is easy. If it’s high, the house will start to smell. However, when your skin starts to feel dry, it’s low. Achieving the best moisture level, on the other hand, is more of a daunting task. 

Getting the ideal level for your home depends on whether you want to increase or decrease the moisture. Therefore the first thing to know is the home’s humidity level. 

The hygrometer is the tool to use, and here’s how you use it:

  • Buy a digital hygrometer to get the best results – the DOQAUS Digital Hygrometer is excellent because of its accurate results. You can use an analog hygrometer, but they’re not as precise as their digital counterparts. 
  • Install the hygrometer at a height for accurate results – you want to gauge water levels in the air, so the hygrometer needs to be at the right height—above one meter is excellent. 
  • Give it a little time – the device will need a moment (around five minutes) to give an accurate result. If you’re using the analog option, it’s always working, so you need more time for it to reset. 

All hygrometers give measurements in percentage, so whatever reading you have after five to seven minutes is the humidity of that environment. 

This video will give you a more realistic feel: 

Screenshot from a video described how to use a hygrometer
Courtesy of Sikana English

If your level stays within the range of between 30-45%, you’re good. You need to reduce it if it’s higher, and vice versa. 

Let’s discuss how to increase or decrease humidity in the home. 

How To Decrease Home Humidity

Humidity levels are often higher due to weather changes. However, there are several ways you can decrease humidity in your home. 

Here’s how are some ways you can reduce the levels in your home: 

Open Your Windows

Your indoor air will remain humid because there’s no space for recycling.  When air remains in one location, it’s normal for it to get contaminants. 

Although you may want to keep your windows closed at all times during the cold winter season, opening the windows will give room for ventilation and air recycling, reducing the moisture in the home. 

A homeowner closes a window in her passive house

Therefore, instead of opening your windows while the air conditioner is on (therefore, wasting energy bills), you can either turn off the air conditioner for a while or slightly open some windows.

Use Various Fans in Your Home

Using fans within your home has a significant effect on reducing your home’s humidity. The idea is to ensure continuous movement of the air within the home.

The types of fans you’ll have within your home include: 

  • Exhaust fans – this type is excellent for heat locations in the home, like the kitchen and the bathroom. The exhaust fan removes moisture as you release humid air into this room. 
  • Ceiling and standing fans – these fans are great for reducing moisture in the standard rooms within the home. In addition, the fan keeps the temperature at its optimal levels for living.

The ideal sleeping temperature is around 65°F (18.3°C), and these are great ways to ensure your home remains at or around this temperature.

Use an Air Conditioner 

The primary function of air conditioners within any space is to cool the room and reduce humidity. Therefore, if you have a perfectly working air conditioner in your home, you shouldn’t have any high moisture complaints. 

However, if your room gets cool with the air conditioner and is still highly humid, you need to check the device. 

The air filters are a common culprit when the air conditioner isn’t reducing moisture. Air filters ensure that debris and other contaminants don’t spread into the air. Unfortunately, over time, the debris tends to cover the filter, which leads to needing a replacement.

Remove Indoor Plants

Fixing plants at strategic locations within your home is excellent for the interior, as they add a beautiful, lively aspect to the house. However, plants can be responsible for increasing the moisture in your home. 

In plants, a process known as evapotranspiration occurs. Evapotranspiration is the process of moisture moving from the roots to the leaves of a plant. The leaves, on the other hand, transfer moisture to their immediate environment. 

A plant in a green building is view from an upward view with a ceiling vent in the background

Therefore, you can remove the plants from your home or room if you still have high humidity readings. 

Another thing you can do is get plants that specifically remove humidity from the air. These plants may not grow in soil, but they have the added advantage of adding oxygen to the environment. 

Shower or Bathe With Cooler Water

Having a hot shower is usually more comfortable than a cold water bath, especially during winter. However, using hot water leads to vapor going into the air.

Therefore, if you struggle with high humidity levels in your bathroom or the areas around it, reduce the water temperature you use for a bath or shower to lower the humidity within the air. The water doesn’t have to be completely “cold” before the bathroom’s humidity reduces.

It’s ideal to have a hygrometer in your bathroom and its area, as described above. 

Change Your Flooring

If you have wood, tile, or concrete floor types in your home, you probably don’t need to worry about humidity. However, if you have rugs or carpets in your home, high humidity levels are much more likely, as rugs and carpets breed mold and other contaminants, leading to bad air quality. 

It usually takes a lot of time before your carpet or rug contributes to your home’s humidity, which means the fabric must have retained some moisture over time and then emitted it to the surrounding area. 

To prevent this, you must reduce the water on your rug or carpet. It’s impossible to avoid moisture on carpets, but simple steps like ensuring all clothes are completely dry outside before bringing them in are significant. 

Use a Dehumidifier 

The living room of a Florida home with a dehumidification system on the floor and homeowner sleeping on the couch

Utilizing a dehumidifier is probably the best way to reduce the humidity in your home. You can use the dehumidifier anywhere in your home, but we advise using it around the primary sources of moisture in the air. 

For example, using a dehumidifier around the kitchen and bathroom will reduce the chances of such moisturized air spreading across the home. You can try out the HUMSURE 4500 Sq. Ft Dehumidifier if you have a large area (such as a swimming pool) and you’re trying to reduce its humidity.

There are several different types of dehumidifiers, some of which include:

  • Self-created dehumidifiers – these are only temporary solutions to your humidity issues, as they will decrease the humidity temporarily in an emergency. 
  • Ventilator – this device works like an exhaust fan, removing humidity in the air and taking it out. 
  • Heat pump dehumidifiers – a heat pump model is the best option, but it’s quite expensive. It removes the humidity in the air through a fan and returns it as cool air.

If you’re interested in making your own dehumidifier, check out this helpful YouTube video: 

Screenshot from a video detailing how to make a DIY dehumidifier
Courtesy of So much Fun!

How To Increase Home Humidity

Home dryness may also result from a humidity check with a hygrometer, which usually occurs during the winter. So, if you need to increase the humidity in your home, there are some things you can do. 

Here are some suggestions:

Add Plants to Your Home Decor

The easiest way to naturally increase the humidity in your home is to use houseplants. In this case, you’re capitalizing on the evapotranspiration process described above. 

The evapotranspiration process depends on moisture from the soil, so your plant needs to be a soil plant. We recommend researching through a list of plants that specifically add humidity.

Two green-leaved house plants in pots sitting on a table.
.

Hang Your Clothes To Dry Inside the Home

While using a dryer to dry your clothes is ideal, it doesn’t help increase humidity in your home.

A better option is naturally spreading the clothes inside the home. That way, the air inside is responsible for the drying process. 

This step will increase how long your clothes take to dry, but it’ll add a lot of moisture to the air. 

Cook Without a Cover

Every form of heat has value when winter is here. As such, it’s almost normal to use a cooking stove instead of gas to make meals. 

Regardless of the heat source you use for meals, try to allow as much vapor as possible into your home. You can do this by opening a part of the pot or altogether leaving it uncovered. The mist evaporating from your pots has a lot of moisture and can add to your home’s air.

However, remember to stop your exhaust fans from working and leave the kitchen open for maximum performance. You don’t want that amount of vapor to go out or remain trapped in the kitchen. 

A kitchen stove hood in use to improve home ventilation

Leave the Bathroom Door Open During Your Shower

The same technique used for the vapor during cooking in the kitchen will work in the bathroom. 

When you take hot showers, the vapor coming out can deliver a lot of moisture to the air in your home and surroundings. You can easily leave your bathroom doors open slightly (or entirely), depending on how dry your room feels. 

Again, remember to turn off your exhaust fans if you have them. 

Reduce Heat Levels

As mentioned, heat is vital when the weather is cold. That is why we get heat through furnaces, heating systems, and other sources. 

Typically, these heating systems will dry up almost every form of moisture in the air, causing extra dryness. 

The EPA recommends reducing your heating systems to 65ºF (18.3°C). This setting will not only reduce how low your humidity gets, but it’ll also save you from high energy bills. 

Use a Humidifier

When necessary, you can utilize humidifiers to add humidity to the environment. There are different models, but we prefer The Cool and Warm Mist HuPro PRO-773 Humidifier. These units allow you to control how much moisture you want at a particular time. 

An ultrasonic humidifier on a kitchen tabletop

There are also different types of humidifiers, including:

  • Warm humidifiers release hot moisture into the air.
  • Cold humidifiers release cold air into the air. 
  • HVAC humidifiers work with the heating and cooling systems of the home. 

Effects of High and Low Humidity

Having the ideal humidity level in your home is crucial for many reasons. Low or high home humidity may trigger allergies you never knew you had in your system. These allergies may come from respiratory allergies or regular skin irritations. 

Therefore, your skin may get dry and itchy when humidity is too low, or the air will become unhealthy to inhale when it’s high. 

Conclusion

The EPA has specific precipitation measures for optimal humidity, mainly during the initial construction phases. For optimal comfort and efficiency, it’s ideal to have your home humidity between 30-50%.

With the information in this guide, you should know what to do when your home’s humidity is too low or high.

Best of luck!

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