What is the Recommended Humidity Level for my Home?

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to what indoor humidity level is most comfortable. Aside from personal preference, levels of humidity that are too high or low can cause health problems and cause damage to your home. In general, a relative humidity level between 30 to 50 percent is ideal for comfort and to prevent microorganism growth. In order to find out the humidity level in your home, you will need a hygrometer. These devices are readily available at most drug stores.

Ideal indoor relative humidity levels by outdoor temperature

The most comfortable indoor humidity level will vary from one household to the next, depending on personal preferences. In general, this temperature guide will show you where to keep your indoor relative humidity levels to ensure comfort.

  • Outdoor temperature over 50˚F, indoor humidity levels shouldn’t exceed 50%
  • Outdoor temperature over 20˚F, indoor humidity levels shouldn’t exceed 40%
  • Outdoor temperature between 10˚F and 20˚F, indoor humidity levels shouldn’t exceed 35%
  • Outdoor temperature between 0˚F and 10˚F, indoor humidity levels shouldn’t exceed 30%
  • Outdoor temperature between -10˚F and 0˚F, indoor humidity levels shouldn’t exceed 25%
  • Outdoor temperature between -20˚F and -10˚F, indoor humidity levels shouldn’t exceed 20%
  • Outdoor temperature at -20˚F or lower, indoor humidity levels shouldn’t exceed 15%
Hygrometer shows indoor temperature and humidity level
Yury Stroykin / Shutterstock

Maintaining ideal relative humidity levels in the home

The best tools to keeping relative humidity at ideal levels in your home year-round are whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers. These systems automatically work with your home’s heating and cooling systems to add or remove moisture from the air. Utilize a humidifier in winter months when air is naturally drier, and a dehumidifier in the summer when air naturally carries more moisture.

Top humidifiers and dehumidifiers:

LEVOIT 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

Frigidaire Dehumidifier

  • Eliminates extra moisture that cause 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

Problems caused by high indoor humidity

When humidity levels are high in the home, there is too much moisture. This not only causes discomfort, but can be damaging to your home.

  • Excess moisture promotes the growth and spread of mold, mildew, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. These contaminants diminish indoor air quality, causing illness, and can also cause damage to your home.
  • When indoor humidity levels are too high, asthma and allergy sufferers may experience worse or more frequent symptoms.
  • High humidity indoors causes the home to feel muggy. You may notice visible condensation on windows and walls. Mugginess can leave you feeling hot and uncomfortable, turning up the air conditioning and expending more energy when just an adjustment in humidity levels are required. This causes more energy to be consumed unnecessarily, increasing your energy bills.

Problems caused by low indoor humidity 

Low relative humidity levels indoors can cause a host of issues for you and your home.

  • When indoor air is too dry, asthma and allergy symptoms can worsen. Cold and flu viruses may spread more rapidly, and you may be more prone to sinus infections. You may suffer from dry skin, chapped lips, and dry air passageways.
  • Dry air causes your body to feel colder, despite a warm indoor temperature. The dry air pulls moisture from your skin, leaving you colder and forcing you to turn up the temperature to stay comfortable. Therefore, more energy is expended to heat the home when a boost in humidity could have kept you comfortable for less.
  • Dry air is damaging to homes. Wood and other building materials as well as furniture are robbed of moisture when the air is dry. Cracks and damage can occur to flooring, trim, and even framing around windows and doors.

FAQs on humidity levels

What is the recommended humidity level inside a home?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a humidity level between 30 and 50 percent, while the Environmental Protection Agency recommends a humidity level between 30 and 60 percent to reduce the growth of harmful mold.

What causes high humidity levels?

The top causes of 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.

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