Have you ever experienced indoor air so thick with moisture it blocks the evaporation of your sweat that would naturally cool you off, leaving you feeling breathless? Hopefully, you haven’t and never will. But you may have endured this discomfort of clammy skin and dripping sweat beads in your home, especially during the summer.
Physiological signs like these are the direct effects of air heavily saturated with water vapor. High humidity can also cause physical damage to your home through undesirable condensation on walls or windows, inviting airborne mold and bacteria to grow and multiply.
Fortunately, you can take steps to decrease humidity in your house and keep it under control. It’s easy to know precisely how to lower humidity in your house once you identify how the moisture is getting inside.
In this article, you’ll find 11 ways to reduce the significant sources of indoor humidity. Once you take action, you can get back to breathing easier in a comfortable home environment.
What Is the Ideal Humidity Level For Your Home?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the ideal humidity level for your home is between 30 to 50 percent when the outdoor temperature is above freezing. When it’s frigid outside, the EPA recommends a lower indoor humidity (15-30%) to avoid moisture adversely affecting your home. You can measure indoor humidity with an inexpensive, portable hygrometer. Read our reviews here which will help you find an affordable and accurate model.
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 will 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 with a respiratory illness like asthma or allergies.
Lower humidity will also protect the physical structure of your home. Humidity that infiltrates wooden beams, doors, or joists can lead to swelling and rot. 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.
What Are the Major Sources of High Indoor Humidity?
Indoor humidity in your home could be above the optimal 30-50% level for several reasons. Here are the possible sources of moisture in your home:
- High outdoor humidity creeping in around window frames and doors.
- Poor household ventilation if your house is airtight and windows are usually closed.
- Interior problems include leaky pipes or condensation in walls or on windows.
- 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 be simple or multi-faceted, 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
If high temperatures accompany elevated outdoor humidity, air conditioning will pull out 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
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
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 reduce humidity in a room naturally, you can open windows. If humidity is a problem throughout your home, open windows on each side of the house, creating a cross flow.
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. Repair or replace 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.
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 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, not to your attic or your living space! Leave them 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 it 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 (evapotranspiration). 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 every couple of months by regenerating (dehydrating) desiccants in an oven. Also, try sprinkling baking soda on carpets to remove the dampness and odors.
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 the issue immediately to eliminate dampness caused by leaky pipes or hidden condensation in walls.
Lowering indoor humidity can be simple, inexpensive, and eco-friendly. When you regularly keep up with it using a multi-pronged approach, you’ll likely enjoy the benefits of a healthy environment at home all year.