Moisture buildup inside the home should generally be cause for concern, as humidity indoors can lead to mold, and this can generate a variety of health problems.
To lower humidity, you should first identify what’s causing it. Below are six common causes for interior moisture buildup, along with solutions to help reduce humidity in the house.
But First: What is the Ideal Humidity Level in a Home?
If you think you have a humidity problem, the first step is to test the humidity levels with a humidistat (a device similar to a thermostat that reads moisture levels instead of temperature). These low-cost electronic devices are available at most home improvement stores, and some furnaces even have them built-in.
The ideal Relative Humidity (RH) level in a home should be between 30-50%. Anything lower can lead to dry skin, static and can damage household materials such as wood and leather. Anything higher than 50% can lead to mold, allergies, rot and water damage.
1. Try to Create Less Humidity
Unfortunately, many of the tasks we perform daily actually add to the humidity levels in the home. Activities such as cooking and cleaning can create a lot of moisture. To help reduce indoor humidity before it starts, always cover boiling pots and run the dishwasher on the shortest setting. You can also try to reduce the temperature and limit the length of showers. And hang clothes outside to dry whenever possible.
2. Increase Ventilation
Poor ventilation is one of the most common causes of excess humidity in a home. Simple steps such as always using the vent fan when you cook or shower can make a big difference. If you already use the fan consistently, try leaving it on for longer. Allow an extra hour to help remove all the moisture in the bathroom after a shower.
It’s also essential to clean all vents, filters and fans regularly. A clogged vent fan won’t remove as much moisture, while a blocked dryer vent can actually cause excessive hot air and moisture to come back into your home. If your vent fan is an older model, it may be wise to upgrade to a new, more efficient model.
3. Limit the Number of Houseplants Indoors
Plants help create a connection to nature and bring life to our indoor spaces. But they can also create a lot of moisture. If you’re noticing higher than normal humidity levels, you may have to find new homes for some of your indoor greenery. At the very least, consider swapping out moisture-loving tropical plants for drier variations like cacti and succulents.
4. Improve Indoor Air Flow
Increasing airflow throughout the house can help prevent moisture from getting trapped in one location. Good air circulation can also help balance out interior temperatures, so one room isn’t significantly cooler than others.
To keep air moving, make sure all heat registers are open and cold air returns are not obstructed. You should also leave all interior doors open and set the furnace fan to always on to improve interior air circulation.
5. Replace Windows
Condensation on windows is a telltale sign of high humidity in winter. And it can cause a host of problems. When water accumulates and runs off the window, it can warp wood and create mold inside the walls.
Replace problem windows with new double- or triple glazed windows with a good seal to help prevent moisture accumulation indoors. If new windows are not an option, seal your windows with plastic during winter months to create a barrier and reduce condensation.
6. Run a Dehumidifier
If all the above solutions don’t help, a dehumidifier may be your best option. Dehumidifiers extract moisture from the air to help reduce internal RH levels. Most units feature a bucket that fills with water that you have to empty frequently. While this does require some effort, it is a very effective method of reducing humidity levels in the home.
If you’re finding condensation and high moisture levels indoors, try these six methods to help reduce humidity in the house.