House humidity is something you should pay close attention to. If it’s too low or too high, you will notice your quality-of-life decrease, and extremely high humidity can even cause serious health issues.
But what is humidity, and why should you care about it? After all, perhaps you have never had big issues, but you noticed something is off. That’s where humidity could come into play.
Our bodies are magnificent machines and they are excellent at adapting in many situations, but they can’t fend off humidity that well. In fact, humidity can block some of our vital functions, causing heat strokes and death in the most extreme cases.
Even if things don’t become as extreme, living in a too dry or moist environment can considerably affect your life. Poor sleep and respiratory issues shouldn’t be taken lightly, and humidity is a leading cause for them.
In this article, I am going to analyze humidity, what causes it, and its potential issues. I will then offer you a list of potential solutions for high humidity.
These solutions are tested and work great, and you can implement most of them easily by yourself. Usually, it’s enough to pay a little attention to avoid issues related to humidity, but sometimes you need to take matters into your hands.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about indoor humidity.
What Causes High Humidity in a House?
Since humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air, the obvious answer is: water vapor. But how is water vapor formed? When warm and humid air comes in contact with a cold surface.
Any activity that includes hot water has the potential to increase the room’s humidity. Even something as innocuous as washing dishes will affect the room’s mugginess.
Naturally, the actual amount of humidity produced by such activities varies depending on how much hot water is used. Something that uses lots of water like a hot shower is going to have a bigger impact than cooking.
Having high humidity inside your house is undesirable, for the reasons I will outline later on in the article. I will also show you ways to lower humidity. Anyone can put these in practice today and enjoy a better quality of life.
Keep on reading to learn more about humidity, and how it’s affecting you.
The Problem With High Humidity
The biggest issue with high humidity is air’s quality, which comes with a host of health-related issues. If the air you breathe is of poor quality, it is much harder to live your daily life. If you feel you haven’t been in your best form lately, look into your house’s humidity, it might be the reason.
Sleeping is a challenge when humidity is too high, and high humidity coupled with high temperature can also pose a serious health issue, since your body won’t be able to cool itself at a reasonable pace. High humidity can also cause lethargy and a loss of energy.
It can also make mold grow and harmful bacteria, which not only can damage your house’s furniture and walls but also can pose a health hazard if you are sensitive to it. Even if you aren’t, it can cause respiratory issues to you or your loved ones.
Keeping your house’s humidity in check will improve your life’s quality. I will tell you ways to lower mugginess in the next section, so stay tuned!
7 Ways to Lower Humidity in Your Home
Before getting into ways to lower humidity, we should first wonder: “what is the optimal level of humidity for my house?”. Knowing this will let you create a strategy that works best for you. If mugginess levels in your house aren’t too high, there’s no need for the more extreme methods in this list.
The Mayo Clinic, a leading institute for health, advice to keep indoor air humidity levels between 30 and 50%, which is the optimal value to enjoy good air quality and health.
So, how do you actually lower humidity in your house? By using any combination of the following methods. Note that not all of them have the same effectiveness, and you don’t need to do all of them. Just do what makes the most sense, given your current situation.
Prevent humidity from taking over
Prevention is better than cure is an adage that also works for humidity. Avoid doing things that raise humidity, like drying your clothes inside, or taking long hot showers, and keep your windows opens if the air outside is dry, especially if you are doing stuff that increases humidity like cooking.
And turn off your humidifier if you have one. I’ve read horror stories of people keeping them on even in extreme conditions and paying a hefty health price for it.
Don’t keep plants that release moisture into the air, as they will drastically increase your indoor humidity levels.
Avoid everything that involves releasing hot water into the air, or make sure you have a way of dealing with it if you absolutely must do it.
Use a dehumidifier
This is by far the easiest solution, simply purchase a dehumidifier and turn it on. It doesn’t get any simpler than this. However, it’s not necessarily a suitable solution for everyone, as they have pros and cons.
The pros are obvious: a dehumidifier lowers your home’s mugginess, increasing your overall quality of life and getting rid of potential problems such as dust mites and mold.
Good humidifiers are expensive and increase energy consumption. They also require maintenance, meaning you will have one more thing to worry about in your house.
Grow plants that absorb humidity
Plants can absorb or release moisture into the air, so pick the right ones depending on your needs. You want plants that get nutrients and moisture from the air surrounding them, so look into epiphytes like orchids, tillandsias, and ferns.
Avoid plants that release moisture into the air, like areca palms, spider plants, and peace lilies. Perhaps you can consider moving these outside, or have them in a room that you can easily ventilate by opening the windows.
Clean your gutters
Gutters can contribute to indoor humidity if you don’t keep them clean. Perform basic maintenance of your gutters when your house’s humidity raises and you can’t figure out why.
Gutter cleaning is useful for many other things as well, including safety and general maintenance. You will see that it isn’t too hard, and that you can do it by yourself. You’ll save yourself thousands of dollars of house repairs by keeping your gutter clean.
Improve your home’s ventilation
Ventilation is an effective way of fighting humidity. Air conditioners remove heat and humidity and blow fresh air into your house.
Don’t have an air conditioner or think they’re too expensive? No worries, open your window and let the natural air take care of your humidity issue. The problem of this method is that it doesn’t always work, as the air outside might be too humid.
Still, it’s a good idea to keep your windows open, especially when you are doing something that tends to increase humidity, such as taking hot shower, cooking, or drying clothes inside.
Be careful though: fans do not necessarily help keeping the air dry, especially if humidity is already high, so don’t rely on them too much.
Ensure your pipes aren’t sweating or leaking
Pipe sweating is an interesting phenomenon. Cold water pipes attract the moisture in the warm air creating water vapor, which in turn makes the house more humid.
The best way to avoid this problem is by insulating the pipes, which is done by wrapping your pipes with foam pipe insulation.
As for leaking pipes, they require fixing, even if humidity wasn’t your biggest issue. Fix them yourself or call a plumber, they can lead to all kinds of problem if left unchecked for too long.
Maintain the right house temperature
Since hot air coming in contact with a cold surface is the major cause of humidity, keeping your house too hot will cause mugginess level to increase above the recommended threshold.
Specifically, keep your home’s temperature below 72°F (22°C), and you’ll avoid any issue. Cold temperatures don’t cause any raise in humidity, but it depends on your situation. As long as you don’t heat your home too much, you should be fine.
If you absolutely must keep your house temperature higher, make sure you have ways of dealing with high humidity.
Don’t Lower Your House’s Humidity Too Much
As I told you earlier, your indoor humidity level should be between 30 and 50%. Going lower than that has negative effects on your body:
- It can cause dry skin
- It irritates your nasal passages and throat
- It makes your eyes itchy
If your house’s humidity is only barely higher than 50% you shouldn’t go to great lengths to lower it, or you risk dropping it below 30%, which is also bad for your health.
You need to find the right balance between dry and moist air.
Keeping your house’s humidity levels in the right range drastically improves your life quality. Most of the solutions I outlined in this list can be implemented right away and will affect the mugginess levels.
To measure humidity, you need an instrument called a hygrometer. But most air conditioners will also let you choose the humidity levels you want to keep in your house.
Want to buy a hygrometer? Check out our article about the best hygrometers right now and find the one that suits your needs.