Five Easy Ways to Lower Humidity in Your Havertown, PA Home This Summer
Humidity is a big deal in the summer: Warm air is naturally more humid than cold air, and that sticky feeling makes you even more hot and uncomfortable. Even with an air conditioner going, all that extra moisture can still be a problem. And, it can affect your health, your breathing — even your furniture.
Fortunately, there are many ways to lower the humidity in your home.
In this article, we’ll look at a few DIY strategies to make your home more comfortable in the summer. Then, we’ll get into some tools that will help do the job when the air inside is still too sticky.
But first, we want to stress that this is more than just a matter of comfort.
Why High Humidity is No Good Inside
High humidity does more than make you feel hot and sticky. It can also make it harder to breathe and eventually damage your home.
First off, the moisture in the air acts like a small blanket around you. Your body releases heat by sweating, but the water vapor in the traps the heat and sweat close to your body.
Next, that moisture prevents small airborne particles like pollen, dust, and pet dander from falling to the ground. Instead, those specks hang in the air near your mouth and nose. Breathing them in triggers asthma and allergy symptoms, or makes just about anyone cough a little.
Meanwhile, too much water vapor over time damages wallpaper and wood furniture. Leave it unchecked long enough, and your home becomes a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
So, it’s important to keep this under control. But, how do you define “under control?”
What is a Healthy Indoor Humidity Level?
Keep your humidity level under 60 percent to prevent mold growth, respiratory problems and other issues. We recommend keeping it between 30 and 60 percent. If it’s too low, and you’ll experience dry skin, cracked mucous membranes, and other problems associated with dry air.
You can use a humidistat to measure the level yourself at home. Basic digital ones start at round $10, or you can go big with a wi-fi enabled device that lets you monitor the levels from anywhere.
Five Ways to Keep Your Indoor Humidity Down
Some DIY strategies and other tools to keep your indoor humidity at a healthy level are:
- Opening your windows
- Taking faster, cooler showers
- Cleaning your gutters
- Turning on your AC
- Using a whole-home dehumidifier
The easiest way to reduce indoor humidity is to let it out of the house! Simply opening your windows gives excess moisture a way to escape.
There are other advantages to this, too. Your air, overall, becomes cleaner. Believe it or not, there’s usually more pollution inside than outside.
Now, this isn’t always an option for people with central air. After all, it makes the most sense to leave your cooling system on for as long as possible. Turning it on and off makes it less effective and uses more electricity.
Still, it’s a good idea to get more fresh air in the house every so often. The air will be less moist and cleaner overall. Even opening your windows for a little while cleaning can make a difference.
Shorter, Cooler Showers
As comforting as a long hot shower is, going shorter and cooler adds less moisture to the air in your house.
After all, that’s what steam is: Water vapor. And, in the summer, when it’s already hot and your windows are closed with the AC running, it’s got nowhere to go.
Sure, you may not notice the steam after a few minutes. The water vapor dissipated, but the moisture is still in the house and building up.
Simply cutting down your time, and the hot water, makes a huge difference. You don’t need to take a freezing shower, but a little cooler can go a long way.
Clean Your Gutters
You’d be surprised how much water from outside makes it into the house. Of course, you don’t realize it because you don’t see drops or puddles. But, it’s easy for it to build up and seep through in the form of water vapor.
In fact, most of your humidity comes from the basement. That’s where underground water pushes through the foundation. If you’ve ever had that musty scent down there, that’s what causes it.
And, like the shower steam it makes it way through the house.
We’ll talk about that problem a little more in a moment. For now, however, note that clogged rain gutters create a similar problem.
When water builds up on your roof, it eventually finds its way in. That’s either through the roof or as it runs down the side of your home
Turn On Your AC
Yes, one disadvantage of a central cooling system is less fresh air in the house when you keep your windows closed. On the other hand, however, dehumidification is an essential part of the air conditioning process.
So, when you run your central air, you’re also running a dehumidifier.
As the system draws in air from your home, it removes the moisture. Then, when it delivers cool air back to you, that air also has significantly less water vapor. It helps you feel cooler and keeps your home healthy.
And, that’s really all many homes need — but not all of them.. Otherwise, you likely wouldn’t be reading this.
For some homes, the system isn’t quite strong enough to keep the moisture levels. That could be for any number of reasons: the size and strength of the system, your home’s layout, and so on.
Still, turning on the AC is a good start toward regulating your home’s humidity level. Even just using the “Fan Only” option before it’s hot enough for the cooling system helps circulate out some moisture.
If you’ve ever bought a plug-in dehumidifier, then you know how it works. The difference, however, is the strength, scope and convenience.
In this case, you’d have your HVAC contractor install a dehumidifier as part of your central HVAC system. It reaches every nook and cranny of your home, not just the room where it’s installed.
It also works automatically as needed, just like your furnace or AC cycles on and off on their own .
Of course, the best results also require the bigger investment. So, you may want to start with some of those smaller, DIY tactics.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions, or if you’re ready to drastically improve your home comfort this summer, call us here at Cipollone. We’ll help identify the problem areas in your home and find the best solution for each.