It's not just the heat that gets us during the summer—sticky humidity creeps in, too, increasing everyone's lethargy. Here's how to combat it, once and for all.

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There are many things to love about summer, but humidity isn't one of them. All that water vapor clings to the air and makes your home a muggy, musty mess. The good news? There are several ways to alleviate the moisture, so you don't have to walk around your house feeling like a damp sponge. Here's what you need to do, according to an expert.

Humidity is more than just uncomfortable—its deleterious to your home and health.

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, based in Avon, Ohio. Wood floors and furniture might warp, he says, and valuables, like photos and original documents, stored in a humid room can be destroyed. It can also have adverse effects on anyone with allergies or a respiratory condition. Another odd medical malady? It's strange, but true: Too much moisture can cause prescription-bottle labels to slip off—the reason medications should never be stored in a humid-heavy bathroom. 

Glass window with condensation and curtains
Credit: sommart / Getty Images

Set up a dehumidifier.

"Dehumidifiers, along with controlled ventilation, are a great way to remove moisture from the home," says Stack. This is how it works: A whole-house dehumidifier is integrated into a home's existing HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system and ductwork, pulling excess moisture from the air. This makes every room in your home a lot healthier, since there's less of a chance that mold and bacteria will grow. "Adding a whole home energy recovery ventilator (ERV) or heat recovery ventilator (HRV) to control ventilation can greatly help with humidity levels and indoor air quality," says Stack. These mechanical systems use fans to maintain a balanced airflow into the house while exhausting stale indoor air.

Try freestanding equipment.

A fully integrated HVAC system can be pricey, but if you don't have the budget for one, consider other options like a portable dehumidifier. "Portable units work, but mostly in the [limited] space where they are located," says Stack. "If you have a basement or crawlspace in your home, this is the best location to put it." Other popular spots are laundry rooms and bedrooms.

Install a smart thermostat.

This type of  thermostat, such as the Google Nest ($99.99, target.com), can sense when your home's humidity level is too high and course correct via your air conditioner.

Go with a natural solution.

DampRid ($9.99, bedbathandbeyond.com) dehumidifies the air by using crystals that absorb excess moisture. It comes in a bucket that you can place in any room or space to create and maintain the optimal humidity level. Another option? The Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag ($10.99, bedbathandbeyond.com) is 100-percent chemical and fragrance free and made from bamboo charcoal. These types of products are effective, says Stack, "but only for small areas like closets and laundry rooms."

Simple changes can make a world of difference.

Making a few small, but impactful changes can also reduce the humidity in your home—no major purchase necessary. Try turning off lights and other heat-generating appliances when they are not in use; allowing fresh air in when it is cool outside (preferably in the morning and at night); circulating ceiling fans; or installing an exhaust vent in the bathroom (which will come in handy during showers). Filling your home with moisture-loving plants like pothos, palms, and Boston ferns, is another option, as is repairing leaky faucets and pipes. As a temporary measure, wrap them in pipe insulation to keep them from dripping.

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