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Indoor Humidity Level: Why Is The 40-60% Range Ideal?

If your home is extremely dry or humid, it’s likely not within the ideal 40-60% indoor humidity range. Here are several ways to fix that.

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When a space is extremely dry or humid, it causes discomfort, health issues and can even compromise the structural integrity of your home. As with most things in life, there is a happy medium. For indoor humidity, the ideal range is between 40 and 60%.

What Is Low Indoor Humidity?

When indoor humidity falls below 40%, it is considered a low humidity level. Low indoor humidity is more common during the winter season, particularly in regions that regularly experience freezing temperatures and snowfall. A lack of humidity in the air has health impacts, causing dry skin, lips and eyes, itchiness and a sore throat. Low indoor humidity also impacts your home, causing floorboards and wood materials to warp or shrink and wallpaper to peel.

What Is High Indoor Humidity?

When indoor humidity rises above the 60% level, it’s considered high. High indoor humidity levels are common during the summer season, particularly in areas like the South that experience high outdoor humidity. When the air in your home is too humid, it poses serious health risks for you and your family. Respiratory symptoms worsen in overly humid spaces. For those with existing conditions, asthma and allergies–humidity control is particularly important. High humidity has a terrible effect on your home’s structural integrity as well. It creates condensation on windows, promotes mold growth, produces a foul or muggy odor, draws in insects and gives the air an overall moist, sticky feel.

What Is A Good Indoor Humidity Level?

The happy medium for relative indoor humidity is 40-60%. You may find research that suggests the 30-50% range is ideal for indoor spaces. Now, that is largely considered an outdated suggestion thanks to current research. The appropriate range for indoor humidity levels is 40-60%. This range promotes comfort, health and excellent air quality.

Take a look at the table below to better understand the pros and cons of each atmosphere! And–see which conditions, symptoms and organisms thrive in different indoor humidity levels.

Relative Indoor Humidity Chart
Below 40%40-60%Above 60%
Allergies
Asthma
Respiratory Illness
Viruses
Bacteria
Dust Mites

If your home’s indoor air is unregulated, it can help enable the spread of viruses and bacteria. High or low levels can also exacerbate existing respiratory symptoms, allergies, asthma and increase chances of catching the common cold or flu. Additionally, air that is too dry or too humid is just generally uncomfortable to live in.

How To Achieve Ideal Indoor Humidity Range

If the humidity levels in your home are too low, consider using a whole-home humidifier. A humidifier adds moisture to the air. This effectively ends the dry winter season in your home while also creating a warmer atmosphere.

Other tips and tricks to increase humidity:

  • Cook without lids
  • Shower or bathe with the bathroom door open
  • Purchase houseplants

If the humidity in your home is too high, consider using a whole-home dehumidifier. This system removes excess moisture from the air.

Other tips and tricks to decrease humidity:

  • Use a range fan when cooking
  • Shower or bathe with cool water
  • Ventilate the bathroom after showering or bathing
  • Remove houseplants

In order to maintain a comfortable and healthy home, it is important to monitor indoor humidity and make adjustments. The benefit of opting for a whole-home humidity control system? It will automatically measure indoor humidity levels and make the necessary adjustments so the level in your home remains between 40-60%. And it does so without ever causing a worry. Whole-home humidifiers and/or dehumidifiers will set your space up for the perfect indoor humidity range.

Comfortable and Healthy Indoors

We can all agree that a home is more comfortable and safe when the risks of illness, dust mites or furniture damage is low. In addition to trying the helpful tips and tricks mentioned, consider upgrading to a whole-home humidity control solution. It can be tricky to determine if home issues are due to high or low humidity levels. Which is why it’s important to find an experienced IAQ expert who can help advise the best system for your home.

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