What Humidity Should Your House Be in the Winter

Couple sitting on the couch

Humidity refers to the amount of moisture or water vapor present in the air. To illustrate indoor humidity levels, it’s usually expressed as a percentage of the maximum amount of moisture that the air can hold at a specific temperature. High humidity levels can cause discomfort and create a damp environment, while low humidity can result in dry skin, respiratory problems and static electricity.

As many homeowners across Queensbury, NY, and upstate New York already know, the humidity levels indoors can fluctuate significantly throughout the year. Ensuring that you have a reliable HVAC system and dehumidifier is an important part of controlling the indoor air quality of your home.

Simons Heating & Cooling can help by answering a few common questions relating to balancing indoor humidity levels.

What’s a Good Indoor Humidity Level During the Winter?

The following are some general rules of thumb regarding healthy indoor air humidity:

  • Low humidity (below 30%): This is considered too dry and can cause respiratory problems, dry skin and increase the risk of infections. Low humidity can also cause wood furniture and musical instruments to crack.
  • Ideal humidity (30-50%): This is the recommended range for indoor humidity in most climates. It helps to prevent the negative effects of both high and low humidity and can reduce the risk of mold growth.
  • High humidity (above 50%): At higher levels, humidity is more likely to make rooms feel stuffy, with moisture condensing on furniture, windows and walls. It can also lead to mold growth and higher concentrations of airborne allergens like dust mites. High humidity levels can even increase the risk of skin and respiratory infections.

In short, ideal humidity levels in the winter months are almost always between 30-50%. Maintaining this range will help prevent dry skin, respiratory problems and even damage to wood furniture.

What Is Relative Humidity and Why Does It Matter?

Relative humidity measures the amount of moisture in the air compared to the maximum amount that air can hold at a specific temperature. It is presented as a percentage and is calculated by dividing the amount of moisture in the air by the maximum amount of moisture that the air can hold.

When the relative humidity is too low, it can cause dry skin, respiratory problems and increase the risk of infections. On the other hand, when relative humidity is too high, it can lead to mold growth, condensation and increase the risk of skin and respiratory infections.

What Are Ways That You Can Control the Humidity Inside Your Home?

There are several ways to control humidity inside your home, including:

  1. Humidifiers: Humidifiers add moisture to the air, increasing the indoor humidity level. There are several types of humidifiers available, including warm mist, cool mist and ultrasonic humidifiers. Simons Heating & Cooling would strongly recommend you consider a whole-house humidifier, so that your entire home stays comfortable versus a single room with a functioning humidifier.
  2. Dehumidifiers: Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air, lowering the indoor humidity level. They come in various sizes, and some can be set to a specific humidity level.
  3. Ventilation: Sufficient ventilation can help control indoor humidity levels by allowing any remaining moisture to escape and allowing fresh, dry air to enter your home. This can be achieved using dedicated ventilation systems alongside exhaust fans, open windows and air vents.
  4. Air conditioning: Air conditioning can help to control indoor humidity levels, as the core process of cooling the air involves removing excess moisture.
  5. Lifestyle changes: Making changes to your daily routines can also help to control indoor humidity levels. For example, avoiding activities that produce excess moisture, such as cooking and showering, can help to reduce indoor humidity levels.

It’s essential to monitor and adjust indoor humidity levels regularly to maintain a healthy and comfortable indoor environment. By using a combination of quality products and professional indoor air quality services, you can better control indoor humidity levels and maintain a healthy and comfortable environment for your entire family.

Contact Simons Heating and Cooling at 518-535-1870 if you have any other questions or would like to schedule an indoor air quality test with one of our home comfort advisors.