What is the Ideal Home Humidity Level for Your Family?

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

Indoor levels of humidity are the levels of water vapor that are in the air of your home. Ideal relative humidity will depend on things like the time of year and how warm the outdoor temperature is. It is important to maintain your home’s humidity level in order to maintain your health and safety. Why is indoor humidity control so important? And how can you achieve normal humidity levels within your home to improve your air quality? In this article, you will learn about the ideal indoor humidity levels, how to achieve them, and how to measure indoor relative humidity. We will also discuss how to maintain a healthy humidity level by using things like whole-house dehumidifiers to control high humidity levels. You will also learn the dangers of excess humidity and low humidity and the factors that will affect the humidity inside your home.

Why Indoor Humidity is Important

Humidity at unhealthy levels can have multiple negative effects on your home and your health. You don’t want levels of too high humidity, which means there will be excess moisture in the air, while levels that are too low will lead to uncomfortably dry air. Both excessively low and high levels of moisture indoors can damage your home through things like mold and bacteria spreading.

The colder months will carry the danger of low indoor humidity levels because there is less water vapor in the air when temperatures are lower. Low indoor humidity can lead to things like static electricity throughout the house or dry skin. Even summers with a drier climate can run the risk of low humidity, especially if you run the air conditioner often. The dangers of low humidity include:

  • Dry skin and eyes
  • Respiratory issues
  • Cracked wood floors and furniture
  • Static electricity
  • Colds, sore throats, and influenza spread

In the warmer seasons, humidity will be higher since water vapor increases whenever the temperatures are hotter. When these levels have already increased, activities such as showering and cooking in your home can contribute to dangerous rises in humidity levels. Things like mold and dust mites thrive in these kinds of environments, which is why it is important to stay on top of high humidity in your home. The dangers of high humidity include:

  • Dehydration
  • Mold growth
  • Musty smell
  • Wood rot
  • Dust mites
  • Condensation and water stains
  • Respiratory problems

Between all of these dangerous problems that could occur, it is vital to find a point of humidity that is not too low or too high inside your house.

Ideal Indoor Humidity Levels

Generally, the ideal indoor humidity level you want to keep in your house is between 30% and 50%. Though this can vary slightly based on the climate and the various activities that may be being performed in the house, you still do not want humidity indoors to drop below 30% or rise anywhere above 60%.

In order to make sure you are hitting these levels, it is a good idea to measure the relative humidity in your home. You can do this with a hygrometer if your thermostat does not show your humidity level. Digital hygrometers, once set up to display correctly, can show you the moisture levels in any area of your home you place them in. You can even set them so that they will indicate if your levels are close to going outside of the desired range.

You can also purchase a pack of miniature humidity meters that you can place at different spots in your house to monitor humidity levels and keep track of which rooms seem to be getting high or low humidity.

There is even a DIY method for testing the moisture levels in your house. Fill a glass with water and add a few ice cubes. Place the glass in a room some distance away from the kitchen and bathroom and leave it there for four minutes. When you return to look at the glass, check to see whether moisture has formed outside of the glass. If so, your humidity levels may be too high. Consequently, if there is absolutely no condensation at all on the glass, home humidity levels may be too low.

This is not the most accurate way to get an exact moisture reading, but it will at least give you an idea of the humidity level in your home.

Achieving and Maintaining Ideal Humidity Level

Now that you have an idea of what the humidity level range should be for indoors and how to measure the moisture levels in your house, what can you do to achieve and maintain a healthy level of humidity in your home?


Using a humidifier to increase the humidity in your home or a dehumidifier to bring excessive moisture levels down is a great way to control the humidity levels in your home. A whole-house humidifier can be connected to the water supply and drain lines and can add moisture to the air until it reaches the indoor relative humidity level you program it for. A whole-house dehumidifier can be connected to your air conditioner so that the cool air that is recirculated back into your house is dehumidified. Whole-house dehumidifiers remove moisture so that you will have less humid air and overall better indoor air quality in the warmer seasons.

If the whole house humidifier and whole house dehumidifier are maybe inconvenient for you, you can also have a portable humidifier or dehumidifier that can add and remove water vapor from the air, respectively. A portable humidifier or dehumidifier will only work for single rooms, whereas a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier will work for your entire home’s air quality.


Reducing air loss and air infiltration can not only save you a lot on energy bills, but it can also help with maintaining your desired humidity. Sealing behind door and window trim, as well as insulating attics and crawlspaces, can make a huge difference in keeping out the outdoor air and preventing too low or high humidity levels indoors.

Air Conditioners

In order to prevent too much humidity in the summer, air conditioners are essential for healthy indoor air quality. If your air conditioning unit is reaching the end of its life and efficiency, it is important to think about getting a replacement. Also, keeping up with air conditioning maintenance is crucial to extending the lifespan of your system and making sure it is working at optimal performance in order to keep your indoor air healthy. Your AC, especially if it is connected with a dehumidifier, can have more exact control over how much moisture is in your home’s air compared to other methods.


Houseplants can be great at helping to raise your home’s humidity levels. Plants will usually only retain a small percentage of the moisture they take in, releasing the rest back into the atmosphere and greatly increasing the moisture levels in your house. Spider plants, in particular, are known to greatly increase indoor humidity levels and require only minimal care.


Showering adds a significant amount of moisture to the air in your house, especially when using warm water. If you are trying to increase humidity, showering with the door open can help spread that moisture throughout the house. If you are trying to decrease high humidity, make sure there is an exhaust fan you can turn on in the bathroom when taking hot showers that can extract the moisture from the air and prevent things like mold growth from occurring.


Cooking on the stove can also add moisture to the air. Leaving the lid off when cooking is a good way to increase humidity, whereas turning on a range fan while cooking can help remove moisture from the air to bring high indoor humidity levels down.

Other Options

Other ways you can increase your home’s humidity level include leaving the dishwasher open after the last cycle to let the steam out, drying wet clothes on a drying rack instead of in the tumble dryer, or letting water in the sink or bathtub cool before draining. Anything that releases steam and moisture into the air will raise the indoor humidity level, while removing it will lower the level.

Factors That Affect Humidity Level

There are various different things that could be affecting your home’s indoor humidity levels:

Building Insulation/Sealing

It may be that your house was built with improper insulation and sealing that will contribute to a lot of air loss and air infiltration. This can throw off indoor humidity because there is less of a level of control over the air in your home.


Depending on where you keep your thermostat set, this can determine the amount of moisture in the air in your home. Warm air will hold more moisture than cold air, meaning that the higher you turn the thermostat up, the higher the relative humidity.


A well-designed air ventilation system is also important for keeping indoor humidity controlled. Things like exhaust fans reduce humidity by removing the moisture from the air. Good ventilation can protect wood floors and furniture from rotting and stop mold spores from growing in your home.

Indoor Activity

Things like cooking, showering, and even breathing all play a part in indoor humidity. Depending on how many people are in your living space, your relative humidity level could be greatly affected by the level of activity going on on a regular basis within the home.

HVAC System

How efficient your air conditioning system is plays a strong role in controlling high indoor humidity levels. It is important to keep up with maintenance and upkeep when it comes to air conditioners so that the gears all run efficiently and the ducts are all clean. Ducts that are dirty can lead to moisture gathering in them, where mold and mildew can grow, making the recirculated air very unhealthy and likely to cause difficulty breathing. Having a well-functioning heating system for the winter months is also important for keeping your humidity levels healthy.

Both high and low humidity carry their own dangers and solutions. Homes usually require a certain level of help to achieve an ideal indoor humidity level. Keeping moisture levels healthy will help you preserve your home and health by helping you sleep better and providing cleaner air quality for you to breathe. Remember that high humidity and too little humidity can both be harmful. By following the steps provided in this article, you can make sure you are maintaining the ideal humidity level for your home during the summer and winter months. Solutions like whole-home humidifiers, maintaining your cooling system, and having ways to measure for excess moisture can help keep your home at optimal humidity levels.

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(415) 942-6565
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(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464