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How to Deal with Humidity Issues in Winter

When you think of humidity, it’s likely that you picture sweltering temperatures and a hot home. While air conditioning provides an easy and efficient solution to help control rising humidity in the summertime, it’s important to also consider balancing humidity in the winter as well.  

Because warm air tends to hold on to moisture, you’re more likely to notice condensation start to build up on the windows as the cooler weather arrives. Depending on which area of the country you live in, you might have a rainy or wetter winter than other areas, which also adds to the dank possibilities in your home. 

But why is humidity so troublesome? Let’s take a more in depth look at the potential dangers and how you can control humidity in the winter before it becomes a big problem.  

Dangers of Humidity  

High humidity can wreak havoc on your home. Mold spores can grow rapidly if there’s excess moisture in the air for long periods of time. The presence of mold, along with other indoor air pollutants, can spread quickly in your floors and walls and start to affect the very structure of your house. 

High humidity can also pose serious health risks. In the summer, high humidity often causes us to sweat and our bodies must work harder to cool down. It can cause additional reactions such as dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  

In the winter, higher levels of humidity indoors can be a problem for people with asthma, as the increased moisture can elevate dust mites, mold spores and other irritants in the air. Mold causes its own host of respiratory issues, including constant congestion and throat irritation. Alternatively, low levels of humidity cause dry skin and drier nasal passages which lead to an increase in allergies, nose bleeds and sinus infections.  

Signs You Have a Humidity Issue 

 If you suspect you may have a humidity issue, look for these common signs:  

  • Your home feels muggy or sticky 
  • Your windows have a buildup of condensation  
  • There is a general musty smell  
  • There are water stains along your walls or ceilings 
  • There is visible mold growing (check your windows, corners, ceilings and bathrooms as well as any visible pipes)
  • Someone in your family experiences allergy symptoms or an increase in symptoms.  

Ideal Humidity Levels  

In general, your home’s humidity level should be at 30 to 40 percent. Anything lower than this can cause some objects, especially wood items, to dry out. Anything above 40-50 percent will increase the likelihood of problems related to moldwater stains, and corrosion of your home as well as health issues for your family.  

 If you’re curious about the level of humidity in your home currently, you can get a more accurate reading with a hygrometer which can be purchased at your local hardware store. Knowing what your humidity level is will help you determine how to take action to control it.  

How to Control Humidity in Winter 

 To help control humidity levels in the winter, try some of these methods:  

  • Use a standalone dehumidifier or a whole home dehumidifier. This will help get the excess water out of the air more quickly. Portable units can be moved to different rooms so that you can tackle the ones more prone to dampness, such as basements, laundry rooms and bathrooms.  
  • Use fans to circulate the air, including exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom. Allow these fans to run as you are using appliances with water or liquid in particular and let them run a little longer after you’ve left the room. 
  • Use your dryer less and take fewer hot showers. Both of these tasks generate high amounts of humidity. Switch to cool (or fewer) showers and drying your clothes on a rack or outside when possible on mild days 
  • Try rock salts if you don’t have a dehumidifier. Rock salts act like a natural sponge for moisture. Simply place rock salts into a bucket with holes and put that bucket inside of another bucket without holes to catch the water. Empty as often as needed. 
  • Indoor plants such as orchids, cactus and English Ivy are excellent at absorbing moisture and contributing to better air circulation overall. 

If you find that you’re still having issues with humidity, you may want to try other solutions such as insulating your pipes, upgrading your windows or changing your flooring.  

For more expert advice on choosing the best humidity solutions foyour home or to schedule an appointment for your furnace, contact us at Lloyd’s Electric today.