6 Ways to Lower Humidity in Your Home, According to the Experts

High humidity levels indoors can cause damage to your floors, furniture, paint, and wallpaper.

There are many things to love about summer, from day trips to the beach to hosting outdoor parties. But the one thing many people can do without during warmer months is humidity. All that water vapor clings to the air and makes your home feel muggy and musty. But humidity isn't just uncomfortable—the excess moisture can lead to damage and encourage mold and mildew growth. The good news? There are several ways to lower humidity in your home, so the space remains safe and comfortable.

Why Lowering Humidity in Your Home Is Important

Excess humidity can cause significant damage to your home and health, so the less of it the better. "Mold, viruses, and bacteria all thrive in high humidity," says Brian Stack, the president of Stack Heating, Cooling and Electric. Damage to wood floors, furniture, paint, wallpaper, and valuables (like photos and important documents) can occur when too much humidity is present in the home. It can also have adverse effects for anyone with allergies or a respiratory condition.

woman turns on dehumidifier in home
Maryviolet / GETTY IMAGES

Ideal Humidity Level for Your Home

The ideal humidity level for homes is 30 to 50 percent—if it exceeds this number, you will need to find a solution for limiting the moisture in your home. "You will likely notice your home is too humid if it feels damp," says Brandon Martin, owner and operator of B Cool Heating and Air Conditioning. "Some thermostats will tell you the humidity level on the display as an easy reference."

How to Lower Humidity in Your Home

There are a handful of ways to limit the amount of moisture in your home. Some solutions include simple life changes, like taking less hot showers, and other fixes require adding equipment to your home.

Use a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are an effective way to remove moisture from the air. You can implement a whole-house dehumidifier or opt for a smaller system designed for individual rooms. "Dehumidifiers are effective in laundry rooms, basements, bathrooms, and any room that isn't air-conditioned or has poor air circulation," says Gary McCoy, a store manager at Lowe's.

Whole house systems are integrated into a home's existing heating and cooling system and ductwork. This makes every room in your home healthier, since there's less of a chance that mold and bacteria will grow. "Adding a whole home energy recovery ventilator or heat recovery ventilator to control ventilation can greatly help with humidity levels and indoor air quality," says Stack. These systems use fans to maintain a balanced airflow into the house while exhausting stale indoor air.

Run Your Air Conditioner

It may sound obvious, but running your air conditioner will limit moisture in your home. But it's important to ensure the system is running properly in order for it to be effective at controlling humidity. "Keeping registers open and unblocked to allow for good airflow, and having a home's air conditioning system inspected and serviced regularly to make sure it's functioning properly is key," says McCoy.

Take Cool Showers

A nice cold shower on a hot summer day doesn't just feel good—it can also reduce your home's humidity levels. "Condensation is created when the hot air meets the cold air, so a cooler shower would reduce the amount of hot air circulating in your home, thus reducing the humidity level," says Martin.

Clean Your Gutters

A chore you should do at least twice annually, regardless of humidity, keeping your gutters clean may reduce humidity levels in your home. "If your gutters are not draining properly around your home, you can have increased humidity around your foundation walls," says Martin. In addition to keeping them clean, you also want to ensure your gutters are working correctly—water should always be directed away from your home's foundation.

Run Your Exhaust Fans

Your home likely has a few different exhaust fans, and each should be used regularly to limit humidity. "Bathroom exhaust fans, dryer exhausts, and ducted kitchen exhaust hoods that vent to the outside work to remove moisture created by showering, bathing, drying clothes, washing dishes, and cooking," says McCoy. "Exhaust fans should be run during and slightly following any of these activities to ensure adequate moisture removal." Ensure each is cleaned regularly and kept free of dust, lint, grease, and anything else that affects its productivity.

Dry Laundry Outside

If you have room and the weather permits, consider drying your clothes outside. "Drying your laundry inside does increase the humidity in the home," says McCoy. While utilizing a dryer exhaust fan is a solution around this, opting to dry your laundry outdoors is another alternative.

Updated by
Nancy Mattia

Nancy is a freelance writer for MarthaStewart.com.

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