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Humidity inside the home

January 20th, 2014

One of the calls we get a lot is, “what is the ideal humidity inside my home this time of the year”? During the winter, when outside temperatures are below freezing, humidity levels can range from under 10% to above 60%. Either end of the spectrum can cause problems inside your home.

If the humidity is too low, you may experience:

  1. Dry nasal passages
  2. Increased susceptibility to respiratory infections
  3. Static electricity buildup—shocks
  4. Dry joints in furniture

If the humidity is too high, you may see:humidity

  1. Damp spots on ceilings or on the inside of exterior wallsimage
  2. Water, frost, or ice on the inside of windows
  3. Blistering paint on walls
  4. Fungus, mold, and mildew—especially in areas that have inadequate air circulation like inside of a closet.

The “correct” humidity level varies according to which expert you consult.  A humidity level of 40% likely won’t cause problems when the outside temperature is above freezing.  When the temperature drops below freezing you may experience condensation on windows at that same humidity level.  At that temperature, a level of 30% moisture likely won’t cause problems. Below zero, a more common “safe” level of humidity would range from 20-25%.

This winter, you may want to try a dehumidifier if you notice moisture problems inside your home.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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