How to Lower Humidity in Your House: 11 Ways to Reduce Humidity

Condensation on a window inside a house

When air is high in humidity, it can make you feel like you choke on every breath. Sweat doesn’t dry, and your body just keeps overheating – it’s a nightmare. 

As soon as the humidity levels rise, the air becomes saturated with water vapor. This can cause damage to your health, property, and cause significant discomfort. 

Naturally, it’s best to take action and reduce humidity levels in your home for a safe and comfortable life. 

Here are a few steps to efficiently reduce indoor humidity. 

Why Indoor Humidity Is Bad for Your Home and Life

High humidity can cause physical damage to your home through undesirable condensation on walls or windows, inviting airborne mold and bacteria to grow and multiply. 

Porous materials like wooden doors, window frames, and roof beams can begin to expand and weaken, leading to dry rot and decay, which cost thousands to repair. 

Lower humidity will protect the physical structure of your home. Humidity that infiltrates wooden beams, doors, or joists can lead to swelling and cracking.

Dampness that sets into drywall or carpeting creates a breeding ground for dust mites and mold growth. Moisture can attack fine wood furnishings, floors, or walls, causing stains and damage.

Excessive humidity levels can lead to heat stroke and pneumonia if you are continuously exposed to it, not to mention how irritable being hot and sweaty will make you.

If the humidity level is too high, you will feel hotter than the actual temperature, especially in summer. You may also not experience sweat evaporation, which would normally cool your body. 

The high humidity can also cause a feeling of low energy, lethargy, and drowsiness. Then when it’s time to sleep, it will also be uncomfortable. Optimal humidity is good for your health, aids sleep, and promotes daytime mental alertness. You will also breathe easier if you normally suffer from a respiratory illness like asthma or allergies.

What Is the Ideal Humidity Level For Your Home?

Digital hygrometer measuring the humidity in a room

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the ideal humidity level for your home is between 30% – 50% when the outdoor temperature is above freezing. 

When it’s frigid outside, the EPA recommends a lower indoor humidity (15-30%) to avoid moisture condensing and adversely affecting your home. You can measure indoor humidity with an inexpensive, portable hygrometer. Read our reviews here, as these will help you find an affordable and accurate model.

What Are the Major Sources of High Indoor Humidity?

Shower running with water and steam

Your home’s indoor humidity could be above the optimal 30-50% level for several reasons. Here are the possible sources of moisture in your home:

  1. High outdoor humidity seeping in around poorly closing window frames and doors.
  2. Poor household ventilation if your house is airtight and windows are usually closed.
  3. Interior problems including leaky pipes or condensation on walls or on windows.
  4. Daily activities like hot showers, running a clothes dryer or dishwasher, and cooking.

So, to remove excess moisture in your home, keep reading below and find the interventions that best solve your particular moisture issue(s).

How to Reduce Humidity in Your House

Reducing humidity in your home may require a simple or multi-faceted solution, depending on how many different sources of moisture you have. Finding the source of moisture and taking appropriate corrective action will lower the humidity in your house to an acceptable level. 

Let’s take a look at the 11 best ways to lower humidity in your house.

Reducing Indoor Humidity When Outdoor Humidity Is High

Suppose you’re in an area where outdoor humidity is consistently 60% or greater. In that case, those sauna-like conditions will inevitably infiltrate your home to some degree.

1. Use an Air Conditioner

Air conditioner inside a home

If high temperatures accompany elevated outdoor humidity, air conditioning will expel your home’s high humidity and heat, replacing it with cooler, drier air. Whether you have a window unit or a central air conditioning system, choose an EnergyStar-rated appliance sized correctly for the space you wish to cool and dehumidify. Ensure that the air conditioning filter is clean for greater energy efficiency.

2. Use a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifier running in a home with a woman on the couch

If you’re experiencing high humidity without sky-rocketing temperatures, a dehumidifier may solve your problem. Portable units will allow you to remove moisture in the most humid rooms first. 

Whole-house dehumidifiers that connect directly to your HVAC system are also available. These are appropriate where humidity is elevated for most or all of the year.

Remember to keep doors and windows closed for best results when using an air conditioner or dehumidifier.

Reducing Indoor Humidity When Your Home Is Poorly Ventilated

Developers built newer houses to be airtight as a means of conserving energy. While this is good practice, it prevents air exchange with the outside. Furthermore, newly built houses release significant moisture from construction materials in the first few years. 

Your sealed home will inevitably hold onto that moisture, resulting in high indoor humidity.

3. Ventilate Your Home

Pedestal fan inside a house

Ceiling fans are the best way to circulate indoor air. Standing pedestal fans or tower fans are good, too. But to get rid of humidity from the inside, you need a way for the damp air to get out. 

To naturally reduce humidity in a room, you can open windows. If humidity is a problem throughout your home, open windows on each side of the house to create a cross flow of air.

Ideally, this strategy works best when it’s less humid outside. But even if outside humidity is about the same as indoor humidity, the movement of air inside will at least make it feel momentarily cooler. 

Cracking a window open for a short time may yield a noticeable improvement. Also, keep all interior doors open to facilitate air circulation.

How to Decrease Indoor Humidity from Interior Problems in Your Home

Whether you own or rent your home, you must remain vigilant about unwanted water intrusion (liquid or vapor). If not, problems worsen over time, possibly necessitating expensive repairs.

4. Check and Fix Leaks

A regular quick check around all toilets, showers, bathtubs, and sinks may uncover water droplets. Wiping joints connecting pipes or shut-off valves with a thin paper tissue may reveal unseen moisture or leaks. Repair or replace broken pipes immediately.

5. Insulate Walls and Roofs

Look for condensation on walls, ceilings, and windows. The visible liquid often appears when warm saturated air comes into contact with a surface that is at a lower temperature. Adding water-repelling insulation will minimize this problem. 

Adhesive-backed insulating foam strips or caulking around windows and doors will also help to keep warm air out.

6. Add a Plastic Barrier Against the Soil

Wet soil around your home’s foundation or abutting against a crawl space contributes to indoor humidity. Placing a thick plastic sheet between the earth and your home or crawl space will eliminate the issue.

Reducing Indoor Humidity From Daily Activities

Cooking, showering, and using the dishwasher or clothes dryer all contribute to indoor humidity. Unvented gas appliances and firewood do, too. In total, daily activities in an average size household release up to three gallons of moisture into indoor air every day.

7. Run Exhaust Fans

Exhaust fans are excellent at pulling humidity out of your home spaces’ air and sending it skyward. They perform the task so well that if you don’t have them, it’s definitely worth installing them in your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry. Ensure they send humid air outside, instead of moving it to your attic or your living space! Leave exhaust fans operating during and after cooking and showering for maximum effectiveness.

8. Minimize Ways of Sending Steam into Your Airspace

In the kitchen, keep stove top pots covered when cooking. When you remove a dish from the oven, keep it covered until it cools before lifting the lid. 

Invest in a slow cooker that produces less vapor. Use warm or cold water instead of hot to wash dishes (either by hand or in the dishwasher). Similarly, shower with warm water instead of hot in the bathroom and keep shower times short.

9. Dry Clothes Outside

Both clothes dryers and drying racks set up inside add to indoor humidity. Place the rack outside instead. A discrete, retractable clothesline is more suitable for drying heavier loads of clean laundry.

10. Move Plants Outside, Weather Permitting

Like all plants, houseplants continuously release water vapor into the air during normal metabolic processes (transpiration). Occasionally moving them outdoors reduces their contribution to indoor humidity. 

When inside, cover damp soil as much as possible to prevent evaporation. And if you have a vast indoor forest, share the love a little by gifting some of your plants to friends.

11. Set up Bowls of Moisture-Grabbing Materials

All around your home, on bookshelves, in corners, or under furniture, arrange bowls filled with hygroscopic (water-absorbing) non-toxic substances called desiccants. Unused kitty litter, Drierite (calcium sulfate), and silica gel will readily absorb and remove excess moisture from the air. 

If applicable, refresh these every couple of months by regenerating (dehydrating) desiccants in an oven. Also, try sprinkling baking soda on carpets to remove the dampness and odors.

Final Thoughts

Couple relaxing on a couch

Lowering indoor humidity is essential for personal comfort and good health. 

Air moisture control is especially critical if you or a family member has a respiratory illness or airborne allergies. Maintaining indoor humidity at the EPA-recommended indoor humidity level of 30-50% also prevents structural damage to your home.

Preventative measures are the best way to get rid of humidity in your house and keep the humidity at the recommended level.

To reduce high humidity in a room due to outside weather, using your air conditioning or a dehumidifier will be your quickest option for immediate relief.

Minimize how much water vapor enters your airspace from daily showering or cooking. Taking cooler showers and running the exhaust fans during and after these activities will help.

To remove excess moisture in stagnant air, aerate your home. Ventilation is key. Use fans and open a window (when it’s not too muggy outside), especially if there’s a breeze.

Fix leaky pipes immediately to eliminate dampness or hidden condensation in walls.

Lowering indoor humidity can be simple, inexpensive, and eco-friendly. When you regularly keep up with the practice using a multi-pronged approach, you’ll likely enjoy the benefits of a healthy home environment all year.

Published: February 8, 2023

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