Have you ever woken up with a sore throat, itchy skin, or even a headache? Most likely, it’s because of how much humidity is in your home.
Moisture in the air is important to our health and happiness, but it’s often forgotten.
Whether you already have a humidifier or are thinking about getting one, it’s important to know how important humidity levels are.
In this piece, I’ll talk about how humidity affects our health, what the best humidity levels are for our homes, and how to keep them at those levels.
Grab a cup of tea and let’s dive into the world of humidity levels!
The amount of water vapor in the air is called humidity.
Water vapor is a normal part of our climate.
It changes based on how warm the air is, how fast the air is moving, and how warm the water is.
Absolute humidity and relative humidity are the two ways to measure humidity.
Importance of Humidity
There are a few reasons why humidity is important.
First, it hurts the health of people and animals.
People can feel uncomfortable and even sick when the humidity is high.
Second, humidity has a big effect on our climate because it affects how much water vapor is in the air and how much rain falls.
Humidity can also change how fast plants grow and how insects act.
Lastly, humidity is important in many fields, such as farming, storing food, and making things.
Ideal Humidity Levels
The best humidity level inside varies on the time of year and the temperature outside.
The amount of humidity that should be inside should be between 30% and 50%.
In the summer, the ideal amount of humidity can be between 50 and 60 percent.
When the humidity inside is more than 50%, it can cause mold to grow, water to form on walls and toilet tanks, and make people feel uncomfortable.
When the humidity inside is less than 30%, on the other hand, it can cause dry skin, breathing problems, and static electricity.
Factors Affecting Indoor Humidity
The best amount of humidity inside can be different from room to room and from level to level.
Because wetness from the ground can seep through the walls of a basement, the basement is often more humid than other rooms.
It’s important to know that results from older wall humidistats can be off.
Smart thermostats can show you the humidity level and warn you if you’re getting close to a temperature or humidity level that isn’t what you want.
Maintaining Ideal Humidity Levels
If the humidity in one or more areas of your home is over 50% or under 30%, you can use a dehumidifier or talk to an HVAC contractor about other choices.
Maintaining the right humidity levels is important to avoid health problems, pain, and damage to your home and things.
Understanding Relative Humidity: Why It Matters for Your Humidifier
Relative humidity is a crucial factor to consider when it comes to maintaining a comfortable and healthy indoor environment.
It refers to the amount of moisture in the air compared to the maximum amount it can hold at a particular temperature.
The ideal relative humidity range for indoor spaces is between 30-50%, as it helps to prevent respiratory problems, dry skin, and static electricity.
If the relative humidity is too low, a humidifier can be used to add moisture to the air.
However, if it is too high, it can lead to mold growth and other issues.
It’s important to monitor the relative humidity level regularly and adjust the humidifier settings accordingly to ensure a healthy and comfortable living space.
For more information:
Effects of High and Low Humidity
Ideal Indoor Humidity Range
Most experts think that between 40% and 60% humidity is the best range for comfort and to avoid health problems.
When the humidity level goes above 60%, it becomes more likely that some health problems will happen.
During the winter, when cold air comes into the house and is warm, the relative humidity drops, making the air inside dry.
Low humidity can also happen in dry places in the summer because of too much air cooling, which pulls moisture out of the air as it works.
Effects of High Humidity
High humidity can hurt your health and make you feel less comfortable in a number of ways.
When the humidity in a home is too high, it can make it too sticky, which can make it hard to sleep and make asthma, allergies, and other breathing problems worse.
High humidity can also cause our bodies to overheat, exhaust easily, and pose a possible danger to our health.
It can make you feel tired and lethargic, cause dehydration, fatigue, muscle cramps, heat stress, and even cause you to pass out.
When the temperature is high, high humidity can also make it more likely that someone will get heat stroke or become too tired from the heat.
High humidity can be bad for your health and can also make your home less comfortable.
It can make the air feel warmer than it is, which is uncomfortable and makes it harder to control your body temperature.
High humidity can also make mold and mildew grow faster, which can damage a house and its things.
It can also make more dust mites, which can make asthma and allergens worse.
To deal with the effects of high humidity, it’s best to use a dryer, make sure there’s enough airflow, and keep the house at a comfortable temperature.
Effects of Low Humidity
Low humidity can also hurt your health and make you feel uncomfortable.
When humidity levels are too low, eyes can become dry and irritated, skin can become flaky and itchy, and the mucous membrane that lines the respiratory system can become inflamed and dry.
This can make you more likely to get a cold, the flu, or another infection.
Low humidity can also make your skin dry, hurt your throat and nose, and make your eyes itch.
Low oxygen has also been linked to infections in the lungs.
Maintaining Healthy Humidity Levels
It’s important for your health and comfort to keep the humidity at a good level.
Consider the following ways to keep your home’s humidity at a healthy level:
- Use a humidifier during dry winter months or in arid climates.
- Use a dehumidifier during humid summer months or in areas with high humidity levels.
- Ensure proper ventilation in your home, especially in areas prone to moisture buildup such as bathrooms and kitchens.
- Maintain a comfortable temperature in your home, as temperature can affect humidity levels.
- Monitor humidity levels using a hygrometer, which can be purchased at most home improvement stores.
By following these tips, you can keep the humidity in your home at a healthy level and avoid the bad effects of both too much and too little humidity.
Sources and Measurement of Indoor Humidity
Understanding Humidity Levels in Your Home
There are many things that can cause humidity inside, like cooking, washing dishes, or taking a shower.
A house can also have a lot of humidity if the laundry is dried inside, gas heaters are used, or there isn’t enough air flow.
Water vapor can also be made in a house by humidifiers, people and their actions, building materials, basements and crawlspaces, the seasonal storage effect, and rain that gets inside.
The way people live today also brings in moisture from gas stoves that don’t have vents, indoor gardens, baths, saunas, hot tubs, and the use of firewood.
The Consequences of High Humidity Levels
Most of the time, a house is hot because it doesn’t have enough air flow.
When the air doesn’t move around well, water vapor can cause high humidity and wet surfaces.
This makes it easier for dust mites and germs to grow in the home.
High humidity can also cause mold growth, bad indoor air quality, wood rot, and health problems like skin problems and breathing problems.
Indoor relative humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent, and anything over 50 percent is considered high.
How to Control Humidity Levels
It is important to keep the house well ventilated so that humidity doesn’t get too high.
Humidity can be reduced by opening windows or putting in air fans.
When cleaning the house, it is also important to think about how dirty the air outside is.
Cleaner air can be made by using an air filter.
Fixing building leaks, using dehumidifiers, and making sure there is enough padding can also help control humidity levels inside.
Measuring Humidity Levels
A hygrometer or indoor humidity monitor can be used to measure the amount of humidity in a home.
You can buy a hygrometer at a hardware shop and put it in each room to find out how humid it is.
Once the device is set up, it will show the amount of humidity as a percentage.
Most houses should have a humidity level of less than 60% in the summer and between 25% and 40% in the winter.
If you don’t have a hygrometer, there are other ways to figure out how wet it is.
Using ice cubes and a glass of water is one way.
A glass of water with four ice cubes in it is left in a room for about five minutes.
If mist forms on the outside of the glass, it means that there is a lot of moisture in the air.
Another way is to watch how the body responds to the amount of humidity.
The humidity is possibly too high if it feels sticky and everything sticks together.
Maintaining a Comfortable Humidity Level
It’s important to keep the humidity level in your home at a good level to avoid health problems and damage to your house.
For comfort, the amount of humidity should be between 40% and 50%.
High humidity can cause mold to grow, and too little humidity can make it hard to breathe.
By figuring out how much humidity there is in a home, changes can be made to keep it healthy and cozy.
Controlling Indoor Humidity
Low Humidity Levels
Low humidity in a home can make people feel bad, like when their skin gets chapped or when their eyes, noses, and lungs hurt.
There are a number of ways to make a home more humid:
- Place bowls or saucers of water on various surfaces around the house, such as wide window sills. The sunlight can warm the water and help it evaporate faster, increasing the humidity level in the room.
- If the home has built-in radiators, placing a bowl of water on top of each unit can also help increase humidity levels.
- Use a vaporizer, cool steam machine, or a single room humidifier. These devices can raise humidity levels in a local space, making it easier to breathe.
- Vent the dryer indoors or air dry clothes inside to release warm, moist air into the home, increasing humidity levels.
- Boil water on the stove to help increase humidity levels.
- Seal air leaks throughout the home to keep the humidity inside.
- Passive methods, such as adding houseplants or using a wet towel to cover a radiator, can also help increase humidity levels.
- Standalone humidifiers or whole-house humidifiers can also be effective in increasing humidity levels. However, these systems can be expensive and require consistent maintenance to keep them running.
High Humidity Levels
When a home has too much humidity, it can be uncomfortable and damage rugs, furniture, paint, and wallpaper.
Mold, dust mites, and mildew can all grow in places where there is too much humidity, which can cause allergies or other health problems.
There are a few ways to bring down the humidity in a home:
- Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to remove moisture from the air. These appliances can be expensive to run 24/7.
- Run exhaust fans in the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room to remove moisture created by showering, cooking, and doing laundry.
- Improve air circulation by running a fan or air conditioner to circulate air and remove moisture from the air. Keeping registers open and unblocked can also help improve airflow.
- Weatherstrip doors and windows to prevent humid air from entering the home.
- Fix leaks and wrap pipes with insulation to prevent condensation.
- Use plants such as Boston ferns and English ivy to help reduce humidity levels.
- Take shorter and cooler showers to reduce the amount of moisture in the air.
Humidifiers and Maintaining Proper Humidity Levels
Maintaining Proper Humidity Levels with Humidifiers
By adding water to the air, humidifiers are a great way to improve the quality of the air inside.
This can help with allergy complaints and chapped lips that are made worse by dry air.
Airborne pollutants can also become more concentrated when the air is dry.
This makes it harder to breathe and raises the risk of getting sick with a lung disease.
By adding wetness to the air, humidifiers can help lower the amount of pollutants in the air and improve the quality of the air inside.
Using and Maintaining Humidifiers Correctly
To prevent problems, it’s important to use and care for humidifiers the right way.
Minerals and microorganisms in the water tanks of ultrasonic and impeller humidifiers can get into the air and be dangerous if you breathe them in.
To stop minerals from spreading, it is best to use demineralization cartridges, cassettes, or filters if they come with your humidifier or are suggested for use with it.
It is also important to clean and keep humidifiers often to stop mold and bacteria from growing in them.
Choosing the Right Humidifier
When picking a humidifier, it’s important to think about how effective it can be and whether you need a portable or whole-house model.
Portable humidifiers can help with dryness in one room, while whole-house humidifiers can improve the quality of the air in every room.
There are many different kinds of humidifiers, such as evaporative, ultrasonic, and pump humidifiers.
Maintaining Proper Humidity Levels
Maintaining proper humidity levels in a home is important for health, comfort, and the protection of furniture and the house itself.
The right amount of humidity for a home is around 45%.
Below 30% is too dry, and above 50% is too high.
To increase humidity levels in a home, one can make use of evaporation by hang-drying wet clothes or blankets in overly dry rooms.
Putting water containers near sources of heat is another way to increase humidity.
Controlling Humidity Levels
If there is too much water in the air in a home, a dehumidifier can be put in place to pull water out of the air.
Also, it’s important to bring less water into the house by cooking with covered pots, taking cooler and shorter baths, letting clothes dryers vent outside, and keeping firewood outside.
Using fans and moving furniture away from wall corners can also help to keep a home from getting too damp.
Measuring Humidity Levels
A hygrometer can be used to get an exact reading of the humidity level in a home.
It’s important to keep the humidity in a home at the right amount to avoid common illnesses and symptoms, keep dust under control, and keep furniture and the house from breaking down.
In the end, humidity levels are very important to our daily lives.
It’s important to keep the air moist at a comfortable level for our health and for the life of our houses.
Humidifiers are a great tool to achieve this, but it’s important to use them right and maintain them properly.
But as we try to find the right amount of humidity, let’s not forget how important balance is.
Too much of anything can be dangerous, and the same goes for humidity.
It’s important to find a balance that works for both us and the world.
So, if you’re thinking about buying a humidifier or changing the amount of humidity in your home, keep in mind that you need to find a balance.
And remember that our world is fragile and connected, and that what we do has an effect on it.
Let’s try to find a good mix that’s good for us and for the world around us.
Looking for a new Humidifier?
Choosing a gadget can be very difficult if you know nothing about the technology.
Some will pay for features they do not need while others may not consider what they really want.
So I created this quick, newbie guide to help you focus on what is really important to you:
Links and references
- “Humidity: A review and primer on atmospheric moisture and human health” by Robert E. Davis, Mayo Clinic website, “Use and Care of Home Humidifiers” by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “All About Humidity” by National Geographic Society.
My article on the topic: