Managing the humidity levels in your home can be very important to the structure and your health. For you, a low humidity level can lead to dry skin and a susceptibility to colds; for your home, it may cause cracked wood and even structural damage. A high humidity level can cause moisture buildup, which may lead to mold and other damage that tends to accompany moisture. Not to mention that it can simply be uncomfortable. How do you know when to use a humidifier or dehumidifier? Over-correcting your humidity level in either direction can be detrimental. Being aware of the level can help you know how to best solve the problem.
Purchase a Hygrometer
Hygrometers are widely available and the easiest way to get an accurate reading. According to Energy Star, the humidity level in your home should stay between 30-50%. A hygrometer will allow you to monitor your humidity levels, which you should do regularly to ensure consistency. While there are other ways of indicating that your home has unregulated humidity levels, purchasing a hygrometer is the best way to get an accurate number and ensure your attempts to regulate are helpful, rather than harmful.
Pay Attention to Your Home (And Yourself)
If your humidity levels are off, your home will let you know. Do your windows have excess moisture inside? Are they sometimes foggy? Do you have mold on closet walls or room ceilings? If so, your humidity is likely too high. On the other hand, if you’re constantly getting shocked by static electricity, your flower vases need to be filled daily, and your wood or plaster is cracking, your humidity is likely too low.
In addition to your home, you may see signs of high or low humidity through your body. If your skin or sinuses are dry excessively at unusual times, the air is likely too dry. High humidity can lead to mold and even promote the growth of bacteria and viruses. If you’ve noticed changes in your health along with other signs of high humidity, it may be time to find a solution.
Perform the Ice Test
If you want to quickly test the humidity level in a particular room, put ice and water into a glass, stir it, and allow the glass to sit alone in the room for three minutes. When you return, you should see some moisture on the glass. If there is none, that’s an indicator of a low humidity level, and you should consider a humidifier. Do not perform this test in the kitchen or bathroom, as these rooms typically have higher humidity levels and will not give you accurate results.
Leaving your humidity unregulated can be a danger to your health and your home’s stability. Low humidity levels in your home are easily increased with a humidifier, and you can use a dehumidifier or install exhaust fans in room where humidity may be higher. A more natural way to reduce humidity levels is to purchase plants that reduce humidity. Your humidity levels could be an indicator of a larger issue, such as poor insulation. If you think this could be a problem, don’t hesitate to call a professional.