The holidays are approaching quickly and so is the winter season! Each region of the United States experiences winter differently. Some states experience a cool breeze and rain, others receive light to moderate snowfall and the rest are accustomed to severe storms. No matter the region, you must carefully monitor your home’s winter indoor humidity levels.
Homes with low indoor humidity levels increases the risk of illnesses for occupants, and also results in increased heating costs. Furthermore, wood flooring and furniture can become weak and warp due to consistent dry indoor air. On the other hand, homes with high indoor humidity increase the risk of mold, mildew and subsequent illness. And, the structural integrity of the home will decrease as the wood framing rots due to excessive moisture.
What Is Humidity?
Humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air. Lower concentrations of water vapor equal lower humidity levels. Higher concentrations of water vapor equals high humidity. The reason humidity, whether low or high, is noticeable has to do with the significant amount of space appropriated by water vapor.
The Ideal Indoor Range
Did you know that there is an ideal range for indoor humidity? Generally, your home should fall between 40 and 60% humidity. This will ensure that the air in your home is not too dry and not too humid. This range is beneficial for human health, comfort and the integrity of your home. It prevents allergy and asthma symptoms while protecting your home’s hardwood floors, carpeting, wallpaper and the like. However, as the weather changes … so can the ideal indoor humidity range.
What Should Indoor Humidity Be During Winter?
According to Region
Appropriate humidity levels for your home depend on a number of factors including the temperature outdoors. Let’s take a look at the ideal indoor humidity range for each region throughout the winter season.
The climate is mostly dry and winters are mild. However, some regions experience very cold winters. For the majority of the West, indoor humidity should be approximately 30 to 50% during winter.
The climate is temperate and winters are mild. Indoor humidity should be approximately 20 to 40% during winter.
The climate is temperate and continental, with winters ranging from mild to severe. In the lower half of the Midwest, indoor humidity should be approximately 20 to 40% during winter. In the upper half of the Midwest, indoor humidity should be approximately 15 to 35% during winter.
The climate is almost exclusively continental and winters are severe. Indoor humidity in this region should be approximately 15 to 35% during winter.
According to Outdoor Temperature
During winter, the ideal Indoor humidity range can also be determined by the temperature outdoors. Here are several guidelines to follow based on your local weather report.
|Outdoor Temperature Range||Indoor Humidity Should Not Exceed|
|Below -20 ℉||15%|
Obviously, if the temperature outdoors is below 20 and therefore indoor humidity should not exceed 15%, that is well below the general 40–60% recommendation. But also obvious, well below zero degrees Fahrenheit is not normal for a majority of the U.S. With that said, view the 40–60% range as the overall ideal, but adjust for regional winter needs and local climate conditions … then as a final step you should take into account ongoing below freezing temperatures.
Fix Humidity Issues Fast
Remain comfortable this winter season with an appropriate indoor humidity range to match your surrounding climate. The easiest way to do so is with whole-home humidity control solutions. A whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier ensures the ideal indoor humidity level for your home all season long.
Our pro tip: consider investing in an indoor air quality monitor to quickly obtain indoor climate information including humidity levels! It takes the guesswork out of indoor air quality. Whether you experience mild or severe winters, monitoring indoor humidity will protect your family and your home.