What Is the Ideal Humidity Level for Your House?

HVAC Logo IconBy Tom MoorJuly 31, 2023

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While most homeowners pay close attention to the temperature inside their homes by adjusting their HVAC systems accordingly, some forget the importance indoor humidity levels play in keeping their families comfortable and protecting their homes from damage.

Most people find a relative humidity level between 30 and 50% is most comfortable. To achieve desired humidity levels, many homeowners install portable or whole-house dehumidifiers and humidifiers.

Ideal Humidity for Home

Between 30 and 50% humidity

Seasonal changes and the climate where you live play crucial roles in your home’s humidity level, but the ideal atmosphere is below 50% average humidity.

As the moisture level in the air increases, you may begin to feel hot and sticky. An increase in moisture levels can also affect certain health conditions, like asthma and allergies, making it difficult to breathe.

Meanwhile, when the air is dry, meaning the humidity level is too low, you may experience dry skin, an irritated throat, or itchy eyes. A lack of moisture can also cause your wood floors or furniture to warp or crack. A simple tool can help you avoid the home and health issues that arise from too much or too little humidity.

How to Measure Indoor Humidity

If you want to measure your home’s humidity you’ll need a hygrometer. A hygrometer is used to measure the humidity level in your house. This small tool can be placed in a living space that’s a good distance away from a bathroom or kitchen where moisture is created. You’ll also want to avoid placing it near doors and windows to ensure the reading isn’t skewed by rain, sunlight, or other weather conditions.

You can buy a digital hygrometer online or at a local big-box store. It will monitor your home’s moisture level so you can be proactive about creating a relaxing environment. We like the ThermoPro TP50 Digital Hygrometer because it’s easy to read and reports your home’s indoor temperature and humidity level. Plus, the comfort indicator will let you know if you’re approaching a temperature or humidity level outside your desired settings.

Ideal Indoor Humidity Levels by Outdoor Temperature

What is a good humidity level for your home? The ideal humidity level for your home may change as the seasons change and outdoor temperatures fluctuate. Certain areas of the country, especially those in the South, typically experience higher humidity levels.

The chart below offers a good place to start if you’re trying to create a comfortable atmosphere.

Outdoor temperatureOptimal indoor humidity level
Higher than 50°FMax. 45%
25°F to 50°FMax. 40%
0°F to 25°F30% – 40%
-20°F to 0°F20% – 30%
Below -20°F15% – 20%

Maintaining Ideal Relative Humidity Levels in the Home

The best tools to keep relative humidity at ideal levels in your home year-round are whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers. These systems are integrated into your home’s heating and cooling system and automatically adjust their performance based on the humidity level in your home. Utilize a humidifier in winter months when air is naturally drier, and a dehumidifier in the summer when air naturally carries more moisture.

Portable humidifiers can also help add moisture to a room, alleviating dry skin and preventing damage to wood floors or furniture. Our top-rated humidifier for a large room is the Levoit LV600HH 6L Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier. You’ll get 60 hours of operation time from this unit when it’s set to the lowest mist setting. The Levoit humidifier modifies the humidity level in rooms up to 753 square feet, but if you have a smaller space, check out our list of the pros and cons of different types of portable humidifiers.

If your home often feels hot and sticky, a dehumidifier may help. Depending on the size unit you buy, the Frigidaire FFAD2233W1 Dehumidifier can remove up to 60 pints of water from the air in your home each day. Pair this device with a digital hygrometer to monitor and maintain a comfortable humidity level in your home.

Top Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers

Levoit LV600HH 6L Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier

  • Sleep mode option that turns off light display and triggers sensors for detecting the optimal level of humidity
  • Spiral air duct technology that turns water into fine mist without fogging the room or wetting the floor
  • 2-year buyer’s assurance and lifetime support from Levoit

Buy on Amazon

levoit best humidifier
 
 

Frigidaire FFAD2233W1 Dehumidifier

  • Eliminates extra moisture that causes mold and mildew
  • Continuous operation when near a drain
  • Control of exact percentage of humidity in your room that gives you effortless control
  • Full tank alert system and auto shut-off capabilities

Buy on Amazon

frigidaire dehumidifier
 

Problems Caused by Low Indoor Humidity Levels

Dry indoor air can be just as bothersome to your comfort and health as high humidity. Too little moisture may result in:

  • Worsening of asthma and allergy symptoms. Cold and flu viruses may spread more quickly, and you may be more prone to sinus infections. You may suffer from dry skin, chapped lips, and dry air passageways.
  • Increased energy bills as you crank up the heat to stay warm after the dry air pulls moisture from your skin.
  • Cracks and damage to wood flooring, trim, and even framing around windows and doors. Wood, building materials, and furniture are robbed of their moisture when the air is dry.

Cost to Improve Indoor Humidity Levels

The cost to regulate the humidity level in your home will vary depending on your situation. For example, if you have a whole-home humidifier that needs to be repaired, you’ll pay $230 on average for the fix.

For a quality portable humidifier or dehumidifier, you’ll pay between $30 and $250, depending on your needs. If, however, you prefer to have a whole-home humidifier system installed, your investment will run $576 on average. Meanwhile, the cost to buy and have a whole-house dehumidifier installed runs between $1,300 and $2,800.

FAQs on Optimal Humidity Levels

What is the perfect humidity for home?

Although the perfect humidity for a home is subjective, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a humidity level between 30-50% for comfortability, and the Environmental Protection Agency makes the same recommendation. This means that the air contains 30-50% of the maximum possible moisture that it otherwise could. Keeping it in this range helps prevent the growth of harmful mold and mildew and the presence of dust mites.

What causes high humidity levels?

The top causes of high humidity in the home are showering, boiling water, and drying clothes inside. If you often have high humidity in your home that is not caused by any of these, you might need to have your home’s ventilation and insulation inspected. There could be gaps or cracks that are allowing for air exchange with the outdoor air.

What is relative humidity?

Relative humidity refers to the amount of water in the air compared to the amount the air can hold at a given temperature. If the relative humidity is 50%, the air is only holding about half the amount of moisture it’s capable of holding at that temperature.

How do I increase the humidity in my home?

One of the most effective ways to increase the humidity level in the house is with a whole-house humidifier or a portable humidifier, depending on your needs. If you live in a dry climate, like many states in the Southwest Region of the U.S., installing a whole-house humidifier to your heating and air conditioning system is a good investment to consider.

How do I decrease the humidity in my home?

To lower your home’s humidity level, you need to reduce the amount of moisture in the air. A whole-house dehumidifier is likely the best way to accomplish this task if you regularly battle high indoor humidity. You’ll also want to change the filter in your heating and air conditioner system as recommended (usually every 60-90 days) and have the unit inspected each year for needed maintenance.


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