What’s the Best Humidity Level in the House?

Unless you have had a doctor tell you that you need to buy a humidifier for your room, the chances are that you haven’t spent much time thinking about how much humidity should be in your home. What is the best humidity level for your home and how do you get it?

Best Humidity Level

Indoor humidity levels can vary from region to region, and home to home. Depending on where you live, and the design of your home, the humidity level in your house should range between 30% and 50%.

The ideal humidity level being right at 45 %.

I would strongly suggest to get a humidity meter for your house, so that you can monitor the moisture level at all times.

Humidity <30%

If the humidity in your house drops to below 30%, you could be seeing some immediate low humidity side effects:

  • Dry skin
  • Static electricity builds up
  • Dry hair
  • Increased colds and respiratory illnesses
  • Flooring and Millwork may crack
  • Paint may chip
  • Electronics can be damaged

Hazard to  Home

Low humidity levels are not only a risk to your health, but they can also damage your home.

Lack of moisture in a home can lead to damage to woodworks, electronics, paint, and many other elements of your home’s design.

Health Hazards

The health hazards when humidity is too low can be numerous. The most common thing that people will notice is that their hair, skin, and nails begin to dry out.

Chapped lips become recurring, and the cuticles around the nail beds can even start to get cracked and flakey.

In addition to drying out of the body’s surfaces, you become at risk for increased viral infections. Dry air does not provide the protection to the mucous membranes in the nose and sinuses that moist air does.

Humidify Your Home

If your home has overly dry air, there are a few things that you can do to get the moisture back into the air.Low humidity - humidifier

  • Evaporation: Evaporate water on the stove by boiling it. Place water near the heating system. Leave wet towels and clothes out to dry, take hot showers, and do not turn on the fan to get rid of the excess moisture in the air. But don’t do it too often or you risk causing mold.
  • Humidifiers: You can buy a portable humidifier and place it in the room where you sleep. It is important to have the room you sleep in to be the most accurately humidified.
  • Whole House Humidifiers: While more expensive than their portable counterparts, a whole house humidifier is attached to the furnace and water vapor is distributed through the HVAC system. This may be the best option for those who live in chronically dry climates.

Humidity >50%

If the humidity levels in your house are greater than 50 percent, then you may be facing as many problems as you would at low humidity levels. The problems are different, but they should still be taken seriously:

  • Stain ceilings and walls
  • Peel paint
  • Breed mold
  • Rot wood
  • Attract insects like cockroaches, termites, silverfish

The problem with high humidity is that it is very damaging to your home’s construction. The byproduct of the damage is that you can suffer serious health consequences.

Mold and Respiratory Health

You may think that high humidity would be the best humidity level because it would treat your skin, hair and you would suffer less respiratory issues. However, high humidity levels also attract harmful substances like mold.

Mold can cause a variety of health issues for those sensitive to molds that include:

  • Wheezing

    Mold - humidity
    Have you ever seen this in some basements? Not cool!
  • Eye irritation
  • Coughing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Skin irritation
  • Sore throat

Immune suppressed people or those with chronic lung diseases like COPD and Asthma are at higher risk of severe infection when exposed to mold.

The best humidity level for the chronically ill may be at the lower end of the average level.

Fixing High Humidity

You can fight high humidity with dehumidifiers. Most HVAC systems in humid environments have dehumidifiers built into them.

If you are still having problems with your humidity levels in your home, you can buy a stand alone system to pull the moisture from the air.

I actually do have the one below. It works like a charm. It turns off by itself when it reaches the desired humidity level or when the tank is full.

It comes with a hose, so you can even leave it on all day and drain into the sink (I do that when we wash the whole carpet). Here’s the link for your reference:

Bionaire PureQuiet Dehumidifier, 42 pint
List Price: $249.99
Price: $249.99
Price Disclaimer

There is no one size fits all solution for household humidity. Finding what works for your home and health is going to take some time. Aiming for the 30%-50% range will leave your home and your health better protected than if you fall outside that safe range of humidity.

 

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