“How do you keep the ideal humidity in house in winter?” That’s one of the questions that many homeowners ask during wintertime when heaters are often running.
Humidity is an important consideration for homes because it affects comfort and indoor air quality (IAQ), which can be a concern when humidity is too high or too low.
It’s essential to know the recommended humidity level and how you can achieve that level to maintain comfortable and healthy air in your home.
What Does ‘Indoor Humidity Level’ Mean?
The indoor humidity level is a measure of moisture in the air. The humidity level you experience indoors will be different from what you feel outdoors because homes are insulated, and more humid outside air can’t escape easily.
When you look at percentages, you will see that any value between 30% and 50% is acceptable for indoor humidity levels. It means that if you keep the humidity level at 30%, then thirty percent of the air in your house contains vapour, but 70% does not.
In most climates, the most comfortable humidity level indoors is around 40%, which means that forty percent of your home’s air contains moisture.
What Affects Humidity Level in Winter?
Indoor humidity levels can be affected by several factors. Some of these factors include:
- The number of people in the house increases indoor humidity levels and activities such as taking showers, cooking, and even breathing.
- Household activities that use water like laundry, dishwashing, and bathing also increase the humidity level in the house.
- Having house plants increases indoor humidity levels because plants release moisture into the air during transpiration (breathing).
- The climate in the area where your house is located also affects the humidity level in the place.
When there’s a lower difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures in wintertime, it’s harder for indoor air to pick up moisture from outside. It causes humidity levels to be low during wintertime. At the same time, homes are being heated more often in winter, increasing the moisture level in the house.
Too Much Humidity in House in Winter
Having too high humidity indoors isn’t good because it can cause condensation on windows and walls, leading to problems such as peeling paint and mould.
When humidity levels are too high, people might also experience:
Dry, stuffy air: Too much humidity causes the air to feel drier and stuffier.
Slight respiratory discomfort: Dry nose and throat are common at high humidity levels. People may experience nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or itchy eyes.
Static shocks: Dryness can cause static shocks, which may be annoying.
Snowballing dust mites: High moisture levels are good for dust mites, which is why they’re more likely to be found in bedrooms than in living rooms. Dust mites live off human skin scales and thrive at high humidity levels, like those found in bedrooms.
Mildew growth: Condensation can lead to mould growth in your home, which may cause health problems.
Stagnant air: When humidity levels are too high, the air feels still because water vapour doesn’t move well through the air when it’s saturated.
How to Manage Indoor Humidity Level in Winter
Fortunately, there are several ways to manage humidity in your home.
Ventilate your home properly.
You can help reduce humidity levels by ventilating your home. It means opening windows and doors on hot or humid days when possible to allow fresh air inside and using exhaust fans when cooking, showering, or doing laundry.
Add some houseplants to your home.
Having plants indoors increases humidity levels. The easiest way to do this is by placing houseplants strategically throughout your home. Have a green thumb? Try to put two or three plants in each room.
Clean your home regularly.
Regular cleaning helps keep the humidity levels low in your home. For example, use wood-burning stoves or gas fireplaces sparingly. Water vapour from burning fuels adds moisture to the air when you use these heat sources.
Maintain your HVAC systems.
Make sure to get your heating and cooling systems serviced regularly. Improperly maintained equipment can affect the humidity levels in your home, making it hard for you to keep comfortable. For example, if your furnace is operating poorly or leaking water vapour, this will add moisture to the air, leading to condensation on windows and walls.
Go for an electronic air purifier.
Electronic air purifiers can help remove pollutants, allergens, and other particles from the air in your home that may cause respiratory problems. Without these irritants in the air, asthma and allergy symptoms might improve.
Use dehumidifiers when necessary.
If you continue to experience extremely high humidity levels in your home, consider using a dehumidifier to help control the moisture. Look for a unit with an automatic shut-off option, so it automatically turns off when the humidity drops below 40%.
Also, make sure to empty the water reservoir frequently as it fills up because if you don’t empty it, the unit will eventually shut off.
Use a humidifier when necessary.
When humidity levels drop below 20% indoors, consider using a humidifier for temporary relief. While some people use humidifiers year-round, they’re usually used in wintertime when heat is on and homes are dried out.
Benefits of Having The Right Humidity Level in the House
Having the right humidity level in your home has many benefits. For example, it will help you:
- feel more comfortable
- sleep better
- reduce static shocks
- prevent wood finishes from cracking or warping
- protect wooden furniture and musical instruments
- help preserve food ingredients that are sensitive to high humidity levels (i.e., herbs, spices, and flowers)
- reduce static electricity that can damage sensitive equipment
- stop moulds from growing on foodstuffs or household surfaces
- feel more refreshed when you get home
- help plants grow better
In addition, having humidity levels between 30% and 50% in your home is a healthy range. Higher humidity levels may prevent some problems, such as mould and mildew growth. However, many people feel more comfortable when humidity levels are lower than 30%. No matter your personal preference, the key to managing humidity levels in your home is to keep them within a healthy range.
Ideal Humidity in House in Winter – Conclusion
Humidity is naturally higher indoors than outdoors, but too much humidity isn’t suitable for your home. The ideal humidity level in your house varies depending on the season, but it’s usually between 30% and 50%.
Condensation can cause problems if humidity levels get too high, so you should take steps to manage the humidity in your home. The climate where you live also plays a factor when managing indoor humidity levels. If you want to control moisture levels in your home, consider the tips mentioned above. Doing so will keep you and those around you healthy and happy.