When winter arrives, it's essential to keep the humidity at a comfortable level. However, you may have questions about what is the best humidity setting or range. We researched vital points about maintaining proper humidity levels indoors to reduce respiratory ailments, discomfort, and condensation. We have the answer for you in this post.
In most locations, it is ideal that humidity levels are between 30% to 50% indoors. Many experts suggest not setting humidity lower than 30% to prevent chapped lips, nosebleeds, or irritation from breathing in dry air. Humidity levels at 60% or higher may contribute to condensation and mold development in some places. Adjust humidity levels to find a balance to keep indoor air healthy and comfortable.
That's the basic information about indoor humidity levels during winter. Please continue reading to discover more about how humidity impacts your health during the winter months. We will also discuss how setting humidity at suggested levels reduces respiratory ailments, prevents condensation, and deters certain pests.
Indoor Winter Comfort—The Best Humidity Level
When temperatures plunge, it's time to ensure that the air indoors has enough moisture. If you have too much humidity, you can encourage mold, mildew, and structural damage.
If you choose to forego humidification, you can suffer irritated skin, develop or exacerbate respiratory problems, and feel uncomfortable. When your home is overly humid, you may need a dehumidifier to lower moisture in the air. Too much humidity can also be problematic.
Protecting your home against dry air requires sealing doors and windows where there might be gaps and leaks. Using stoves, dryers, and running the shower can introduce some moisture into the air. However, it is critical to maintain humidity levels between 40% to 50%. Some experts recommend anywhere from 30% to 60% is sufficient for indoor humidity.
Be careful, as setting humidity to 30% or lower risks creating drier air and may trigger related health problems. Humidity set at 60% or above is usually too high and can promote peeling paint, cracks in walls, damaged wood flooring. Too much humidity can also lead to condensation on walls, supporting mold and mildew growth.
Health Problems Caused By Indoor Air
Adding a healthy level of humidity to indoor air in the winter doesn't only save you on energy costs because it makes you feel warmer. It is essential to add some moisture to dry, cold air indoors to reduce experiencing unpleasant health problems.
The following health problems are often related to the air indoors being too dry or too wet.
Air Too Dry
- Cracked or chapped lips
- Dry, itchy eyes or skin
- Dried out nose with itching or pain
- Throat irritation
- Poor sleep quality
- Experiencing allergy-like symptoms
Air Too Wet
- May experience allergy-like symptoms
- Sweaty skin leads to heat rashes, eczema flare-ups
- Possible asthma flare-ups
- Experiencing inflammation and dermatitis
- Reactions to release of any VOCs combined with damp, moist air
Keep in mind, HVAC units and air purifiers are not necessarily designed to help add moisture to the air. Filtering the air of particles or keeping the air indoors cool or warm impacts specific health issues. However, the humidity level indoors is also a significant contributor to problems with skin, breathing, and overall comfort in winter.
If you find yourself frequently suffering from nosebleeds, coughing, severe symptoms of cold and flu, or feeling lousy, it's time to adjust the humidity. If you discover more mold, foggy windows, or constantly smell a musty odor, the humidity is likely too high. Certain mites, fungi, and viruses thrive when the humidity level is above 60%, contributing to various health problems.
Why Is My House So Humid In Winter?
If you discover that your home is a bit too humid, there are things you can do to curtail the levels of moisture in the air. Excess humidity indoors during winter is often caused by poor ventilation in bathrooms after showering, frequently boiling water, and not allowing air to circulate.
Homes that have untreated leaks and problems with condensation are serious and contribute to high humidity as well. It is usually rare for indoor air to have high humidity in the winter.
Should I Run A Humidifier In The Winter?
When the humidity levels are too low indoors, it can trigger increased cold and flu symptoms, other infections, and respiratory ailments. It is a good idea to run a humidifier in the wintertime, provided that you regularly keep it clean to reduce the release of mold spores, allergens, and unwanted particulates.
Make sure to use clean water and follow the manufacturer's suggestion for the humidifier. Also, ensure to use a humidifier that is appropriate for the size of the room for best results.
For optimal sleep quality, run the humidifier at night. It is good practice to run the humidifier anytime the levels are 30% or under, you develop breathing issues, or the air feels cool, dry, and is irritating to your body.
How Can I Lower The Humidity In My House In The Winter?
The humidity levels indoors can be high if you have lots of houseplants with standing water, boil liquid often without properly venting the kitchen, leaks, or overall poor ventilation. Closing off rooms so air cannot circulate, taking hot showers without opening windows or doors, or turning on ventilation fans can significantly increase humidity levels.
If there is anything in your home that typically raises the humidity levels in your home, make some adjustments. Consider doing the following to lower humidity levels indoors during the winter to reduce condensation, mold growth, and allergy symptoms.
- Move houseplants outdoors or reduce the number indoors
- Check for moisture in walls and the foundation and fix it with waterproofing
- Properly seal windows and doors to prevent leaks
- Replace windows if needed and fix any plumbing leaks around the roof and other target areas
- Take shorter showers and ventilate the bathrooms well
- Use ventilation fans or open windows when boiling
- Use a dehumidifier if necessary
Reducing humidity in the winter can help inhibit mold, viruses, and experiencing unpleasant ailments like coughing, irritated throat and nose, or severe cold and flu.
Does A Window Air Conditioner Remove Humidity?
Pests like cockroaches, centipedes, and silverfish can be attracted to high humidity levels, so it's important to find ways to lessen it. However, a window air conditioner could prove useful for removing moisture from the air.
When you are running an AC unit, it doesn't merely blow cool air into your home. As the air is cooled, moisture gets pulled from the indoor air, collects inside the AC, and is drained.
Although an air conditioner is pretty good at removing humidity from the air naturally, you may wish to use a dedicated dehumidifier. A dehumidifier, unlike an air conditioner, is often designed to not only pull moisture out of the air but also allergens, trap particulates and dust, and reduce musty odors caused by mold and mildew.
If you choose to run a humidifier, make sure the indoor temperatures are above 60 degrees to prevent damage to the unit. Ideally, you shouldn't run an air conditioner in the winter because it is designed to operate during warmer weather.
Check the air conditioner unit and manufacturer suggestions before running it in cold temperatures. The unit may suffer damage or not work because of sensors. Running an AC may help warm a house and increase air circulation.
We hope after reading this article that you are more confident about setting the humidity levels indoors during winter. It is suggested that a range of 30% to 50% humidity is best for most homes. Indoor air with a humidity level below 30% makes it too dry, and 60% or over is too wet. Maintaining a healthy range of humidity, ventilating bathrooms, kitchens, and promoting air circulation will help one breathe easier and get more restful sleep.
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