Optimal Indoor Humidity
How often have you thought about the humidity in your home? Does it even matter what the humidity is? Well, I am here to tell you that it does. Keeping your humidity at the correct level can create a comfortable and healthy space.
Monitoring the humidity levels in your home can make a big difference in your quality of life, and it does not take a lot of work to get those levels to where they should be. But, before we begin, let’s take a look at what your optimal indoor humidity should be and why.
Optimal Indoor Humidity: The What and the Why
What should the humidity be in my house?
- The range we recommend is somewhere between 30-55 percent, with 45 percent being the optimum level
- What is the ideal indoor humidity in the summer? We recommend keeping your humidity between 30-45 percent
- What about the ideal indoor humidity for the winter? We would recommend a higher humidity in the winter. Try to keep your humidity between 45-55 percent.
Low humidity means that your house has a lack of moisture. You need to have some moisture in the air, or you open yourself up to a number of afflictions. With a dry house comes dry skin, a dry nose and throat, and an increased risk of getting a cold. The dryness can affect your skin, and it can also affect the wood and drywall in your home. Wood and drywall can shrink, and you do not want that.
If your humidity is too high, then you have too much moisture in your air. This increased moisture can create breeding grounds for mold and rot in your house. It can cause paint to peel and wallpaper to bubble. It is also attractive for insects. We have often found that the newer the house, the better the seals, and the higher the humidity. The energy loss is so low that it can actually have a negative effect.
How to Measure Humidity
If you think that your home suffers from low or high humidity (or even if you do not), you should take a few moments to measure the levels. Using a hygrometer will give you accurate readings in all of the rooms in your house. However, not all rooms will have the same humidity. Kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms deal with more water and generally have a higher humidity level. Basements are also places which have a higher humidity.
Once you have measured all of the rooms, you will have a better idea if your house has a lot of humidity, is lacking in humidity, and where the individual rooms fall. You need to remember that you may have to treat both problems. It would be great if you could take the humidity from one room and add it to one which is lacking, but that is impossible. What you need to look into are humidifiers and dehumidifiers.
Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are self-regulating devices. Once you set them and turn them on, they will use the environment around them to either add moisture or take moisture from the air.
Dealing with Low Humidity
If the humidity in your home is too low, then you need to invest in a humidifier. A typical humidifier uses a filter which absorbs water from a tank. A fan then blows air through the filter. Some of the water is evaporated and sent out into the environment. Humidifiers are a great way to add moisture to a room or a house as long as you keep the water tank filled.
If you are going to buy a humidifier, you should make sure that you buy one which is rated for the size of the room you want to add moisture to. We also recommend finding one with a large reservoir tank. This will save you from having to fill it constantly. Make sure to keep your humidifier clean (especially the water tank) and replace the filter, or clean it, when necessary.
Dealing with High Humidity
In areas where the humidity is high, it is recommended to install exhaust fans. This is why you will often see exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms. Of course, it is hard to add an exhaust fan once a house has been built, and a cheaper and easier alternative is a dehumidifier.
A dehumidifier works by using a fan to draw air over a cold coil and then a hot coil. Air is pulled in from the environment around it and passed over the cold coil. As the air is cooled, the moisture turns to liquid and drips down into a reservoir. The air is then passed over a hot coil to return it to its original temperature so that the temperature of the environment is not changed.
If you do decide to buy a dehumidifier, the make sure to clean it regularly and empty the reservoir before it is filled.
If you keep the humidity of your home around 45 percent. you are not going to have many problems; the only problem is keeping it at that level. There are so many internal and external forces at work which can tweak the moisture on a daily basis. As long as you regularly check the humidity and take the appropriate action, you can stay one step ahead.
Working to balance your humidity is a balancing act. You need to attack it from both sides, and while it may mean buying two appliances which are acting in opposition to each other, a little money invested in keeping the moisture at the correct level, can go a long way to protecting you, your family, and your home from harm.
The correct humidity in your home can protect you from colds, dry throats, and dry skin. It can also protect your home from damage. Once you get mold or rot in your home, you may never get it out. Dried wood can begin to splinter and crack. Take the time to monitor your moisture and enjoy your life.