Part of maintaining a comfortable home is keeping temperature and humidity levels in check to make sure they’re at optimal levels. As seasons change, many ask the question, “what is the ideal humidity in winter vs summer seasons?”
For winter, the ideal humidity level should be 30% to 50%. In the summer, however, suggested optimal humidity levels are from 30% to 45%.
Of course, these figures are mere suggestions. Humidity levels in your home would still depend on your preferences and needs. Other factors like the current season and temperature would also affect these levels.
In this article, we’ll go into detail on ideal humidity levels for different seasons, the dangers of poor humidity levels, and what you can do to reach these ideal levels.
What is Humidity?
Humidity is the amount of water vapor present in the air. Humidity is natural and always present in the atmosphere.
Humidity can change depending on factors like temperature and season. Humidity levels can change whenever the season changes or when temperatures drop.
Humidity has a direct relationship to temperature and they often come hand in hand when talking about one or the other.
The higher the temperature and the warmer the air is, the more moisture there is. In the same way, lower temperatures and colder air don’t hold as much moisture.
What is relative humidity?
Relative humidity (RH) is the measure of water vapor present in the air relative to the maximum amount possible at a given temperature. It’s expressed in percentage.
RH is what meteorologists and weather reports refer to in the morning news.
Ideal Humidity in Winter vs Summer
Generally speaking, ideal humidity levels should be between 30% to 50%.
Below, we will break down the ideal humidity levels for the winter and summer seasons:
Ideal humidity in winter
Cold air is dry so it could be a challenge to bring moisture back into indoor air during winter seasons.
During the winter season, optimal indoor humidity levels are anywhere from 30% to 40%.
Experts suggest indoor humidity levels should not go above the 40% limit. Going over that can cause condensation to form on your windows, among other problems.
Ideal humidity in summer
Dry air contains huge amounts of humidity so it can feel stuffy in the summer. The challenge is to not let humidity levels reach all-time highs.
During the summer season, optimal humidity levels are anywhere from 30% to 45%.
It’s highly suggested to never go above 50% as this can feel too stuffy due to excess moisture lingering in the air.
What Happens if There are Poor Humidity Levels Indoors?
So we’ve talked about the ideal indoor humidity levels for both winter and summer seasons. Of course, people aren’t required to keep their homes in this humidity level range as it is still up to them and their preferences.
Instead, we will be detailing below what would happen if there are poor humidity levels in your home:
Low indoor humidity
- Dry, scaly, and itchy skin
Low humidity means there’s less moisture in the air. Extended exposure to low humidity levels can cause dry, scaly, itchy, and irritated skin.
- Sore throat and nasal congestion
Too dry air can lead to dry and sore throat and nasal congestion. Prolonged exposure to such conditions can lead to inflammation and will cause you to wake up with a scratchy throat and nose.
- Dry and irritated eyes
Dry air and less moisture in the air can also dry out the eyes. This leads to itchy and irritated eyes.
- Static electricity buildup
Extremely low humidity levels also cause a buildup of static electricity in your home.
- Damage to wood
Wooden furniture and flooring contain some amount of water content. Exposing them to very low humidity levels can dry the fluid out which can lead to cracks.
High indoor humidity
Higher than recommended humidity levels can leave your house feeling stuffy and hot. This can be really uncomfortable especially when you’re trying to sleep and rest.
Warm air feels hot, especially in the summer. This can lead to overheating, excessive sweating, or worse, it can lead to heatstroke.
- Triggering asthma, allergies, and respiratory issues
Huge amounts of water vapor and moisture in the air can lead to various respiratory issues like asthma and can trigger allergies.
High humidity levels inside homes can lead to condensation or droplets forming on windows, walls, and furniture.
- Mold, fungus, and dust mites infestation
Mold, fungi, and dust mites thrive in humid environments. Having high humidity levels could mean you’re welcoming these into your home.
How to Check and Measure Humidity Levels
If you want to maintain ideal humidity levels in your home, it’s important you know how to check and measure indoor humidity levels.
The easiest way: hygrometer
The most convenient way to measure humidity levels is with a hygrometer.
A hygrometer is a measuring instrument that can accurately measure the amount of humidity in the area. Simply place the device in the room or space. From there, you can decide if humidity is in the optimal range or if you need to lower or increase it.
Hygrometers are worthy investments and the good news is they don’t even cost that much!
The DIY way: ice cube test
If you don’t have a hygrometer readily available, you can turn to the ice cube test to gauge humidity levels in your home.
To do this, place two to three ice cubes in a glass of water. Stir a little bit.
After a few minutes, check on it. If there is moisture on the outside of the glass, this means there’s too much moisture in the air. And if there isn’t any moisture, then the air is too dry.
Keep in mind though that this method wouldn’t tell you exact humidity levels. It could only tell you if the air’s too dry or too moist. For exact humidity levels, it would be best to use a hygrometer.
How to Achieve Ideal Humidity Levels in Winter and Summer
As we’ve gone over the importance of ideal humidity levels and how you can measure them, many might be asking how they can achieve ideal humidity levels.
How to decrease humidity levels
- Turn on fans
Fans and exhaust fans help remove excess moisture in the air. Fans can also help you cool down during very hot summers.
- Install and run AC
Air conditioners are great at drawing out excess moisture in the air. And in the summer, they can also help you keep your cool while inside the house.
- Use a dehumidifier
A dehumidifier works by drawing out excess moisture in the air. These can come in small, portable sizes but can also be installed as part of your home’s HVAC system.
- Take cold showers
Hot showers can put out even more moisture into the air. Instead of hot showers, take cold showers to reduce air moisture.
- Open windows
Proper air circulation can minimize moisture in the air. When it gets too stuffy inside, crack open your windows and let the fresh air in.
How to increase humidity levels
- Add houseplants
Houseplants are not only eye-pleasing decor but the right ones can also help add moisture to the air.
- Boil water and cook more
Boiling water and cooking inside the house will effectively release steam into the air, which adds more moisture.
- Hang and air-dry laundry
If you’re doing your laundry and find that the air is too dry, hang them to air-dry instead. This not only increases humidity but is also energy-saving.
- Use a humidifier
Humidifiers help moisture and water content to the air if you’ve determined the air is too dry. These come in different sizes and installation options, depending on your budget.
- Take hot showers
The steam from a hot shower is one of the easiest ways to bring moisture into the air. To bring it up a notch, leave your bathroom door open while taking a shower and after to distribute the steam throughout your home.
No matter the season, it’s essential for us and our families to stay comfortable in our own homes. One way to make sure we’re comfortable is ensuring that indoor humidity levels are at their optimal range.
Many wonder what the ideal humidity is in the winter and summer seasons. During winter, humidity levels from 30% to 40% are ideal. On the other hand, humidity levels from 30% to 45% are highly suggested during hot summers.
And that has been our guide on the ideal humidity in winter vs summer seasons. If you have any more questions for us, hit us up right below!