If your walls are “sweating”, the humidity in your house could be too high. Here are some signs of excessive humidity, along with some guidelines for regulating indoor air quality.
Moist air: If the humidity in your home is especially high, you are likely to notice that the air feels clammy and moist.
Foggy windows: Since humidity is vaporized airborne water, it can fog up your windows. Although it won’t be as extreme as your bathroom mirror after a long shower, excess humidity can create noticeable fog on the interior of your windows.
Foul smells: High humidity creates an ideal environment for mold and mildew. If your house has a slight musty smell, the humidity is probably too high.
Signs of mold: Excessive humidity can cause mold to grow all around your home. Look for dark discoloration on your ceilings and drywall, along with crust on carpeting. If you notice any signs of mold, take immediate action, since it can lead to a host of unpleasant symptoms, including throat irritation, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, coughing and wheezing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold can be extremely harmful for people who have mold allergies and chronic lung illnesses. Research also suggests that long-term exposure to mold can negatively impact the brain.
Rotting wood: When wood is regularly exposed to moist conditions, it can start to rot. If you notice rotting baseboards, wainscoting or window sills, your home is probably too humid.
Intense allergies: If your allergies seem to get worse when you are inside your home, it could be due to poor air quality related to excessive humidity.
Regulating Indoor Humidity
To ensure a healthy, comfortable home, it’s generally best to manage your humidity levels based on the relative temperature outside:
- Outdoor temperature: Over 50 degrees Fahrenheit, indoor humidity should be below 50%
- Outdoor temperature: Over 20 degrees Fahrenheit, indoor humidity should be below 40%
- Outdoor temperature: Between 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit, indoor humidity should be below 35%
- Outdoor temperature: Between 0 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit, indoor humidity should be below 30%
- Outdoor temperature: Between -10 and 0 degrees Fahrenheit, indoor humidity should be below 25%
- Outdoor temperature: Between -20 and -10 degrees Fahrenheit, indoor humidity should be below 20%
- Outdoor temperature: Lower than -10 degrees Fahrenheit, indoor humidity should be below 15%
You can keep your indoor humidity at acceptable levels by using whole-home dehumidifiers and humidifiers. These systems work with your heating and cooling systems to remove or add moisture from the air. You can use a humidifier during the winter when air is typically drier and a dehumidifier during the summer season when the air tends to hold more moisture. You can test the humidity inside your home by using a hygrometer or indoor humidity monitor, available at most local home improvement stores.