Home Humidity: Finding a Balance for Year-Round Comfort

Home Humidity: Finding a Balance for Year-Round ComfortHome humidity is a classic case of “not too much, not too little.” Most experts agree that the optimum indoor humidity range is between 30 and 50 percent. Problems ranging from mold and allergies to ineffective cooling to just plain discomfort ensue when household levels exceed or fall below that range. Many factors influence indoor humidity. Chief among these is humidity outdoors that enters the house by air exchange through cracks and gaps. Other influences include normal household activities that add humidity such as bathing and cooking or, conversely, conditions that tend to dry the air such as use of a gas-fired, forced-air furnace in winter. Here are some proven steps to keep home humidity in the ideal range all year round – not too little, not too much.

Use caulking and weatherstripping to seal air leaks that allow humid outside air to infiltrate the home in summer.

When bathrooms and kitchen are in use, ventilate air from these rooms to the exterior of the house with timed exhaust fans set to run for a limited period, then automatically shut off.

Consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier to treat the entire volume of household air. Connected to the heating and cooling ductwork through a bypass duct, a dehumidifier may remove as much as 75 gallons of water per day from household air circulating through the ducts. These units are permanently plumbed to the house drain system and controlled by a digital humidistat to precisely maintain home humidity levels.

The irritating effect of dry winter air may be reduced by upgrading to a furnace that utilizes sealed combustion. These higher-efficiency furnaces draw combustion air entirely from the outdoors through an intake pipe instead of burning interior air, and preserve indoor humidity.

Room humidifiers are available to add water vapor to the air in enclosed spaces either through misting or an evaporative process. Whole-house humidifiers treat all the air in the home and usually install inside HVAC ductwork.

Paitson Bros. Heating and Air Conditioning
 has been an interior comfort specialist since 1922. In Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley, contact us about maintaining optimum home humidity in summer and winter. 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about home humidity and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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