What Is a Comfortable Humidity Level?
The right humidity level in your house plays a direct role in your health and upkeep of your possessions. According to Health Canada, a house should maintain a humidity of 30% to 40% during winter up to a maximum of 55% in summer.
Since climate changes affect what indoor temperatures should be, you need to ensure your house is not set below the threshold minimum. Too damp, your house may develop mold, fungus, and mite feces that can worsen respiratory symptoms of those with asthma and other allergies. Too dry, the indoor air can cause coughing, wheezing, and sore throats.
Given that Alberta weather shifts dramatically from season to season, we’ve laid out essential steps to keep your house temperature in check.
What is humidity?
Humidity is the amount of water vapour or moisture in the air. You can feel humidity even if you can’t see it.
When we say the air humidity is 30%, that simply means that the air around you is 30% moist. However, if humidity should be increased to 50% during summer, then the relative humidity is 50% as moist it can be. Even though your home is a controlled environment, the air originates from the outdoors. Weather changes can lead to disruptions in your indoor humidity levels. Luckily, there are things you can do to stay comfortable.
According to Health Canada, relative humidity levels of 30% during winter and below 50% in summer represent the ideal sweet spot for maintaining a healthy indoor humidity. However, the Health Canada humidity recommendations are based on only 4 factors. There are many other issues that can arise from humidity that is too high or too low. During temperature extremes, the humidity recommendations may fluctuate, which we discuss below.
Perils of High Humidity
When there is too much humidity in the house, a number of issues can arise as follows:
- Allergy symptoms from dust mites
- Window condensation
- Wet wall and ceiling stains
- Chipped paint
- Sticky surfaces
- Bacteria accumulation shortening the life of perishables
- Internal body temperature can make you feel warmer or colder
- Mold spores affect respiratory functions
Perils of Low Humidity
- Dry and itchy skin
- Sore throat
- Cracked window and door frames
- Uneven wooden floors
- Damaged scalp
- Molding gaps
How to achieve a comfortable home humidity in winter
During winters, you will find installing a humidifier is extremely beneficial since humidity is typically lower than in summers. Having the correct humidity will make your home feel warmer in the winter. If the air is too dry, your furnace energy consumption will increase, and your air will feel cooler overall.
If you’re contemplating what the ideal humidity should be in your house in the winter, you’ll need to verify with the weather forecast first.
- If the outside temperature is lower than -20°C, your indoor humidity shouldn’t be higher than 15%.
- If the temperature drops between -10°C and -20°C, the recommended humidity in your home is around 20%.
- If the outside temperature is between 0°C and -10°C, you should set indoor humidity between 25% and 30%.
The novel coronavirus poses a greater risk during winters as lower humidity breeds more air-borne diseases. On top of CDC’s and Health Canada’s indoor air quality guidelines, we recommend installing high-efficiency UVC lamps to your HVAC system will eliminate the risk of air-borne viruses that pass through the HVAC system.
Ideal winter indoor humidity chart
During winters, windows can hit condensation and develop mold when indoor humidity exceeds the minimum for a certain outdoor temperature. Refer to the chart below from Natural Resources Canada to maintain ideal indoor humidity for this winter season.
Source: National Resources Canada
Benefits of a humidifier
Whole humidifiers can restore the ideal indoor comfort level in winters. Due to cold air being a solid breeding ground for viruses, dry recycled air can increase your chances of catching the flu.
If you’re constantly reading that indoor RH levels are below 30%, consider buying a humidifier to sustain those levels to 30%-35%. Since excessive and unmonitored use can lead to over-humidification, ensure that you’re up to date with manufacturer guidelines.
- Humidifiers control your home’s relative humidity
- Reduce dry skin, throat, and scalp issues
- Prevents allergies and asthma-related conditions
To prevent the spread of COVID and other viruses, we’ve developed high-output UVC lamps for HVAC and air purifier systems to double down on improving air quality. Explore why installing these lamps is 3 times more efficient for fighting air-borne allergies and viruses.
How to increase humidity
Using a humidifier boosts humidity levels by forcing moisture into the air. You can install whole home humidifiers or buy smaller machines for a single room. A whole home humidifier is installed into your air ducts, and controlled through your thermostat.
Individual machines are more cost-effective, and are great for putting in bedrooms. Our Always Plumbing & Heating team is happy to make product recommendations if you’d prefer to go that route.
How to achieve a comfortable home humidity in summer
The healthiest humidity level in summer is 40% to 50%. A relative humidity higher than that level will cause discomfort and illness, with the additional moisture posing a risk for indoor structures to decay.
Benefits of a dehumidifier
A relative humidity above 50% during summer enables mold and dust mites to form on walls and ceilings. If your smart thermostat reads indoor humidity above 50% frequently, it may be time to invest in a dehumidifier that provides better air regulation and energy usage.
- Reduces allergies
- Inhibits pest infestation
- Regulates proper moisture levels
- Enables efficient energy use
- Cooler air for round-the-clock comfort
Source: Mark Walling
How to decrease humidity
Air conditioners reduce the humidity level in our homes. When air cools, humidity drops. Considering Edmonton’s humidity, you might want to use an air conditioner as the weather warms to reach your ideal indoor levels. Here on the prairies, excessive humidity is really only an issue in the summer.
How to check humidity in your house
We recommend installing a smart thermostat to monitor the humidity in your house, so you’re able to adjust as outdoor conditions impact what’s happening inside. It should be regularly inspected by a certified professional. We recommend you do this annually, at the same time as your furnace inspections.
Most smart thermostats have user-friendly and simple controls, so you can adjust indoor humidity levels with a touch of a button. Our technicians can make a recommendation based on what works best for you.
How can I conserve energy while keeping an optimal humidity?
The most important step when considering home humidity levels is regular maintenance. Scheduling routine assessments of your furnace, central air, and humidifier will guarantee they’re operating the way they should, without increasing your power bill.
Our expert technicians are just a phone call away! We can evaluate the conditions in your home, and work with you to discuss the perfect options for cooling, humidifying, and heating. Contact us today for more information about how we can help.
The cold season has entered the -30 phase of Edmonton winters. Schedule a free consultation for the best air comfort package.