Home humidity: battles and balance
Home humidity — it’s a seasonal battle. Too little humidity in the winter, and you’re plagued with dry skin, nosebleeds, and separating floorboards. Too much in the summer, and you’re dealing with mold, mildew, and allergens.
What’s a homeowner to do?
One easy first step is to get an in-home “hygrometer” or humidity monitor. There are a variety of inexpensive models on the market, designed to measure the moisture in your house.
Experts say the ideal in-home humidity level should be between 30 to 50 percent. Less than that and your nasal passages get dry. Go higher and you’ve got ideal breeding conditions for mold and dust mites.
Your humidity monitor can help you know when it’s time to make adjustments. Once you know your humidity level, here’s how to make changes:
• Air conditioners – Running an air conditioner will help remove humidity from the air in your home.
• Dehumidifiers – Designed to pull water from the air, these appliances are great for controlling moisture and limiting mold in large damp spaces.
• Bathroom vents – A modern bathroom fan pulls moisture out of the wettest area of your home and vents it outside.
• Furnace humidifiers – These add-on appliances work in tandem with your home heating system to keep the air from getting too dry. The humidifier adds moisture to the air and the fan inside your furnace circulates it.
• Portable humidifiers – These stand-alone appliances are used to add moisture to just one room.
Of course, humidity plays a role in home comfort, too. Raising humidity in the winter can save money on your energy bills because you feel warmer when there’s more moisture in the air. Meanwhile, dryer homes feel cooler in the summer.