What Should Indoor Humidity Be In Winter?

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In winter, the air goes too dry after you crank up the heater. However, that does not mean that you start humidifying your home right away. You should monitor humidity levels in your home at all times.

So what should indoor humidity be in winter? It should be slightly below 40 percent so that you do not have condensation forming on your windows and doors. However, if you feel the air is too dry for comfort, you can set relative humidity at 45 or 50%.

The indoor humidity level should be neither too high nor too low. If it is too high, mold will start festering in the dark and damp corners. If it is too low, paint starts cracking and peeling, and you can experience coughs and allergies.

What should the humidity be in the house?

In the winter, you will experience dry indoor air. There is a reason for that.

When it is cold, the air holds less water vapor. As temperature drops, so does the water vapor in the air. That is why during winter, the air moisture levels are low.

When the dry air gets indoors, it lowers the moisture level as it mixes with the air inside.

Therefore, if you are not doing anything indoors that would generate moisture such as taking a bath or boiling a pot of water, the air remains dry.

That is why you should use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. But you should make sure you add the right amount of moisture to reach the recommended levels.

During winter, the recommended moisture level is 30 to 45%. That way, you do not make the air too humid to cause condensation on the windows.

Should humidifier be on in winter?

Yes it should be. Many people think that because the air is damp and cold in winter, they do not need a humidifier running in the house.

However, unless you let outdoor air in, you will experience dry, but warm indoor air as the heater switches on. In that case, you need to increase the moisture level.

There is no saying that you need to humidify the air in winter. However, there are a few things to warrant that. Keep reading:

Factors Affecting Indoor Moisture Level in Winter

The best level of indoor humidity in winter depends on a few factors. These include:

  • The insulation of the building.
  • Climate zone
  • The ventilation in your home
  • The moisture generated indoors.

The idea is to have the right indoor relative humidity. It should be low enough not to cause moisture problems and high enough to prevent dry skin and static electricity.

Climate zone

Colder climate has drier air. The recommended indoor moisture level for colder climates is 30-35%.

If it is above 45%, it will cause moisture problems. In cold climates, water vapor can be absorbed by the colder surfaces and this can result in damage.

This explains why it is best to have lower relative humidity.

If the climate is moderate, then the relative humidity should be 40 – 45%. In warmer climates, you can go for 50% relative humidity.

Insulation of the building

If your building is well insulated and you are in a cold climate, you can have a relative humidity of up to 40%.

An enclosed building is not affected too much by the climatic conditions outdoors since not much of it can find its way inside.

Moisture generated indoors

Using the bathroom or boiling water in the kitchen generates moisture. Therefore, you may not need to humidify your home as much.

The moisture that you produce can help to raise the relative humidity indoors. This usually works if your home is well-insulated and there is no dry air coming from outside.

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You can measure the humidity levels using a hygrometer. If it is below 30%, then you can humidify.

If your home has proper insulation and you generate too much moisture that goes above 40%, then you will have to dehumidify. This shows that in some instances, you might be required to use a dehumidifier in winter.

Alternatively, you can allow in the dry air from outside, use a fan when taking a shower and cook with the range hood on. This way, you can reduce the relative humidity at home without using a dehumidifier.

There it is. The indoor humidity level in winter depends on factors such as the climate zone, ventilation of your premises and the moisture generated indoors. However, it should range from 30-50%.

Wrapping Up

What should indoor humidity be in winter and what are the factors that increase or decrease it? There are many of them. However, the bottom line is that the indoor moisture level should never exceed 45% since any higher will cause condensation on the windows.

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