How to Control Your Home’s Humidity

Levels of high humidity can cause serious damage to the structure and surfaces of your home

Hygrometer checking homes humidity: Gagne Home Cooling and Heating Knowledge Center

You’ve probably experienced how the humidity outdoors can take you from a good hair day to a bad one. But what you may not know is how the humidity level in your home can affect the structure of your house.

In a home, the ideal humidity level (amount of moisture/water vapor in the air) is anywhere between 30 percent and 50 percent. A humidity level higher than 50 percent can cause possible bacteria growth. In colder climates, a level between 30 percent and 40 percent is recommended.

Reasons to Worry About Your Home’s Humidity

Besides feeling more comfortable in your home, below are several reasons to maintain a proper humidity level:

  • Dust mites and other pesky creatures are attracted to high humidity.
  • Mold and other allergens thrive in a high humid environment.
  • High humidity levels cause mildew to develop on clothes, leading them to smell old and musty.
  • By maintaining proper humidity levels, you can avoid peeling paint and other structural damage.
  • Your air conditioner’s energy efficiency improves while working in a proper level of humidity.

 

Signs that your home’s humidity levels are too high include a musty odor, clammy skin, foggy windows, pest infestations, mold, rotting wood and damp spots throughout areas of your home.

How to Lower Your Home’s Humidity

If lowering the humidity of your home is important to you, consider these suggestions:

  • Ventilate. This can’t be stressed enough! Proper ventilation should especially be incorporated in the basement, bathrooms and kitchen areas. Vent fans should be turned on and left on for quite some time. If you have not had these installed, consider calling a technician to help you with this important task. If there are no fans, crack a window. Cooking, showers, washers and dryers all affect the moisture in the air, making ventilation in these particular rooms especially important.
  • Lower the temperature. Warm air holds and creates more moisture. Reducing the temperature in your home can lower the humidity levels significantly. Therefore, in the winter, it’s best to bundle up rather than run your heater at maximum capacity.
  • Take shorter showers. Running hot shower water less and at a cooler setting can lower the overall humidity level of your home. Using a low flow showerhead can also help.
  • Use exhaust fans. Fans installed above your stove help trap steam while you cook, keeping it from being released into your home. Cover your food while cooking and use a slow cooker rather than the oven or stovetop to reduce humidity as well.
  • Limit dryer use. Consider air-drying some of your clothes outside instead of running your dryer. This may seem like a lot of work, but it is better for the humidity levels in your home, costs less and creates less wear and tear on your clothes.
  • Keep firewood outside. Freshly cut firewood can create a lot of moisture. It’s best to store firewood outside and bring it in only when ready for use.
  • Clean downspouts and gutters. The occasional cleaning helps lead water flow away from the house and foundation.
  • Use a dehumidifier. If all else fails, a whole-house dehumidifier can help. These devices are essential to maintaining proper humidity levels in homes with a basement or high humidity levels. According to Critical Cactus: “Dehumidifiers work best with closed doors and windows. In order to ensure proper circulation dehumidifiers need to be placed away from walls and furniture. Except for models that have an air vent on top.”

 

If you live in Duluth, Alpharetta, Roswell or other surrounding metro Atlanta areas, contact a Georgia-licensed HVAC contractor at Gagne Heating & Air Conditioning to learn how we can help you regulate the humidity level in your home as well as answer any questions regarding your residential heating and air conditioning maintenance issues.

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