How to Lower the Humidity in Your House
People who live in subtropical environments and warm southern environments can tell you all about how difficult it is to deal with high humidity! As soon as you step out of the air-conditioning, it immediately hits you and can make it difficult to breathe, since it’s like being in a hot oven. It also makes you feel damp, sticky, and sweaty, since there’s so much moisture in the air that it literally lands on your skin. Such high humidity levels can make it feel warmer than the temperature really is.
When these high humidity levels get into your house, then that can cause health side effects. All that moisture makes a home a wonderful breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew. Each of those harmful substances can cause colds, viruses, and trigger asthma or allergy attacks. Mold can’t grow in an environment that’s less than 55% humidity, so it’s imperative you don’t let it get too humid in your basement, bathroom, or kitchen for longer than a few days.
Even if the summer air outside isn’t too humid, you can still build up excess moisture in the house by not having adequate enough ventilation, have leaking pipes or water taps, or by living near a lake, river, or ocean. Besides moving away from your waterside location, how else can you lower the humidity in your house?
Stale and stagnant air builds up excess condensation and moisture, allowing that water to enter the air and raise the humidity levels. So, the first step to lower your home’s humidity is to increase the ventilation. Use bathroom fans after every hot shower or bath, have fans blowing in humid areas, open the windows if you’re cooking a lot with steam, and try using an air conditioner if you can. Some A/C units have a ‘dry mode’ that can dry the air as they cool it.
To really get control of the humidity levels in your home, you’ll want to invest in a high-quality dehumidifier. These wonderful machines have built-in controls, where you set the humidity level, and then wait for them to filter air through the unit and fill up their water tanks. You’ll be surprised at how much moisture a dehumidifier can pull out of the air. Some dehumidifiers come with a handy continuous draining feature, so that you don’t have to empty the water tank by hand. It just drains.
Dehumidifiers come in all different shapes, sizes, and price ranges. You can get a small one for a bathroom or go for a large machine that covers the entire square footage of your finished basement.
Keep in mind that some don’t function best in low temperatures, so check the temperature range for the machine before purchasing.
Get a Hygrometer
If you’ve never heard of these handy devices and you live in a high humidity home, then you need to get one. A hygrometer measures the water vapor in the atmosphere. While used primarily by weather stations, they can also come in home versions. These are best used in tandem with a dehumidifier, because they will give you an accurate humidity percentage reading. Some models will also tell you whether this is an ideal humidity level or not. That will help you reset your dehumidifier and help lower the humidity level in the house even more.
Get a Humidistat
Along with your ventilation, dehumidifier, and hygrometer, to lower the humidity, you’ll also want a humidistat. These can regulate the levels of humidity on duct systems, near furnaces, and in other areas of your home. They can be purchased and installed by a proper HVAC technician and will help you monitor the humidity levels as well.
Replace Outdated Appliances
Many appliances, especially the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer, give off an incredible amount of moisture with each use. If you live in a continuously high-humidity environment, you might want to shop around and find the best appliances that don’t emit as much moisture into the air. In addition to using a proper dehumidifier, this can significantly lower the humidity levels in your home.
Direct Water Away from Your Foundation
Your gutters already probably do a good job of getting water of the roof. You can also reduce a lot of high moisture problems in your basement by directing water away from your foundation. For this, you can get some gutter extenders and downspouts, and then point them as far from the foundation as possible. This excess rainwater will then not seep into the soil next to your foundation, raising the humidity levels and creating ideal places for mold to grow.
To take it one step further, you can also invest in a proper drainage system around the complete perimeter of your basement and the house’s foundation. This is especially important for homeowners who live on a slope or on top of wet, swampy, or water-logged soil. Slope and downspout problems can contribute to too much standing water, eventually eroding your basement walls and driving up the humidity percentages.
Insulate Your Home Properly
A well-insulated home that doesn’t have as many air leaks or places where air can either enter or exit the building will help reduce humidity levels as well. You can purchase an infrared camera to see which portions of your home are allowing in the most air, and then insulate those first. You have plenty of options for insulation material as well. The more insulated the home, the better it will be and protect it more against the elements, especially moisture-heavy air.
Remove Water-damaged Materials
You’ll want to periodically check your home for water damage, especially after rainstorms. Check the roof at least once a year and make sure it’s not leaking anywhere. You’ll also want to remove any water damaged materials, like stained ceilings or rotten wood. Those materials act like sponges, holding in moisture and raising the humidity levels.
In summary, those are eight excellent ways to lower the humidity in your house. Try using a few different solutions to see which one works best for you.