You know it when excess home moisture raises its ugly head.
You’ll spot foggy windows, smell a mildew or musty odor, or your skin feels clammy.
But even if there are no indications (yet) your home’s atmosphere is too humid it’s wise to measure and control because..
- it will make you feel better both physically and mentally (studies show that how happy you feel is directly linked to humidity levels) and,
- keeping more money in your pocket due to reduced heating bills is also a nice reward.
So how to reduce home humidity levels?
Often, simple measures can make a big difference. In other cases more drastic actions are necessary.
Here’s an overview of simple tips and more radical solutions on how to combat excessive indoor humidity. Easiest applicable measures are mentioned first.
How to Lower Home humidity?
There are ways to lower the humidity once you become more aware of what is raising the level in the first place.
- First and foremost, ventilate. Especially the areas that create moisture, like the kitchen and bathroom. When vent fans are present, make sure to turn them on and/or leave them on longer. Especially in the kitchen, bathroom, and basement. If not, consider having them installed by an electrician.
Cooking as well as showering but also washing machines and dryers affect the amount of moisture found in the air, especially when people take long, hot showers.
- If you do not have exhaust fans or a ventilation system, you can crack a window for a few minutes to dry the air out, especially in the bathroom areas that tend to hang onto additional moisture for longer periods.
Mathematically speaking, it only takes between four and six pints of water to raise the humidity level inside of 1, 000 square feet from a mere 15% to 60%.
The amount of people within the home can affect how much humidity is in the air as well. One person breathing produces about ¼ cup of water within an hour’s time.
- Ensure that exhaust fans in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms vent to the outside. Installing vents and attic fans can help too.
- Increase indoor temperature because warm air can hold more moisture (relative humidity decreases if temperature increases).
- Use fans to increase ventilation
- Take colder, shorter showers. Use a low flow showerhead or shower under a less powerful stream by not fully opening the tap. (personally, I find showering with the tap partially open just as pleasant)
- Becoming mindful of the indoor and outdoor temperature also can ease the concern of proper humidity within the home. What is the current temperature inside versus outdoors?
- Are you keeping your home much cooler than the suggested temperature? If that answer is yes, then minor adjustments to the humidity level are easily adjustable.
- Run the AC. Since this option is costly other possible measures are preferred.
- While cooking, try to cover your food and take full advantage of the exhaust fans in which your home is equipped. Oven and stove-top cooking produce more moisture. Slow cookers contribute less to indoor humidity.
- Vent clothes dryers outside.
- If there is a humidifier or vaporizer in the home, turn it off for a little while or simply turn it down. Most humidifiers or vaporizers on the market today have a turn dial, or button to adjust the level of vapor or water you would like dispersed into the air. (a no-brainer but added for the sake of completeness)
- It’s recommended to only use induced draft, sealed-combustion, or power-vented boilers, furnaces, and water heaters.
- Air-conditioning drain lines and drip pans should be kept clean and unobstructed.
- Temporarily place house plants outside or concentrate them in one room. Plants release moisture vapor to the air. Especially when you have lots of plants their role in home humidity levels can be significant. Also make sure not to overwater them.
- Freshly cut firewood contains large amounts of water that evaporates when stored indoors. Better keep it outside.
- Keep downspouts and gutters clean. Adjust downspouts so they carry water farther from the house. Restrict watering plants to bare necessity. Prevent water from pooling at and around the foundations by a descending surface.
- You may also want to use a dehumidifier if maintaining your humidity has become an issue or you live in an older, less ventilated building. Dehumidifiers are commonly placed in basements, since they are underground and do not get a lot of warmth or direct sunlight, or in bathrooms without windows or specific areas in the home that require moist removal. 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.
Types of dehumidifiers
Various dehumidifiers exist. From small portable devices to large whole-house dehumidifiers utilizing basically three different technologies.
- Desiccant dehumidifiers use desiccants which are substances that naturally absorb moisture (i.e. the little packets of silica gel included in electronics). Best for lower temperatures and moderate humidity. Can withstand freezing conditions as no water is produced. A well-reviewed unit is the Eva-dry Renewable E-333 Wireless Mini Dehumidifer.
- Mechanical /Refrigerant dehumidifiers essentially work like your home’s fridge or airconditioning. Air passes across a cooled metal plate (coil) condensing the airborne moist which then drips into the water tank. Contrary to an AC these units slightly increase air temperature. Best suited for moderate to high humidity levels and moderate to warm conditions as this type of humidfier does not work well in cooler conditions. A popular choice is the best selling Frigidaire FAD704DWD Energy Star 70-pint Dehumidifier.
- Peltier dehumidifiers are usually recommended for small areas such as average size bedrooms, bathrooms, but also RVs and closets. Although they are somewhat less energy efficient these units are valued for being quiet and efficient. Recommended product using peltier technology: Gurin Electric Compact Dehumidifier
Things to adjust in and around the home.
- Carpet may retain moisture. If you’ve tried many things perfusely, consider replacing the carpet. Another benefit, humidity-thriving dust mites love carpet.
- The addition of tubular or wrap insulation on pipes will also help. Insulating tubing for cold water pipes help decrease “sweating”.