Even if there are no indications (yet) that your home has high humidity levels, it’s wise to measure and control the humidity level because you’ll feel better physically and you’ll keep more money in your pocket due to reduced utility bills.
More than a mere nuisance, overly high indoor humidity levels are a common home and potential health hazard that is too often underestimated. Allergens, dust mites, and pathogens thrive in humid conditions.
Signs of excess humidity in your home
You know it when excess home moisture raises its ugly head. It starts with a musty odor, foggy windows, or maybe your asthma symptoms begin to worsen. Don’t leave it unmanaged or damp spots, mold, and rotting wood will be the next signs the soggy enemy is gaining ground.
Ideal humidity levels for your home are between 25 – 40% in the winter and less than 60% in the summer.
The bedroom requires about 50% relative humidity, all year round to reduce dust mites and allergens (source: PubMed.) Proper humidity levels are easier on your mucous membranes and experts claim it helps you sleep better, too.
It only takes between 4 and 6 pints of water to raise the humidity level inside of 1,000 sq. ft. from 15% to 60%.
The number of people within the home can affect how much humidity is in the air. One person breathing produces about ¼ cup of water within an hour’s time.
Simple ways to reduce home high humidity levels
Often, simple measures can make a big difference.
- Ventilate – It is especially important to ventilate the kitchen, bathroom, attic, and basement. When exhaust or vent fans are present, be sure to use them. If you don’t have vent fans, consider having them installed by an electrician, or you can crack a window for a few minutes to dry the air out, especially in the bathroom areas that tend to hang onto additional moisture for longer periods.
- Run the AC and keep your unit in top condition with regular tune-ups.
- Keep AC drain lines and drip pans clean and unobstructed.
- Vent clothes dryers outside.
- Use a dehumidifier if maintaining your humidity has become an issue or you live in an older, less ventilated building. Dehumidifiers are commonly placed in basements since this space is underground and does not typically get a lot of warmth or direct sunlight, or in bathrooms without windows or specific areas in the home that require moisture removal. Dehumidifiers work best with closed doors and windows.
- Store firewood outside. Freshly cut firewood contains large amounts of water that evaporates when stored indoors.
- Keep downspouts and gutters clean. Adjust downspouts so they carry water farther from the house. Prevent water from pooling at and around the foundations by a descending surface.
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