High humidity is no fun, and neither is low humidity—you want a good balance between the two. Here’s how to monitor the humidity in your house so that you can make the proper adjustments.
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Humidity levels in your home should be anywhere between 30% and 60% (although 40%-50% is ideal). Any higher and there’s the risk of mold growth, and any lower can result in excess dryness. Plus, anything outside of that range can just be uncomfortable.
If you’re not sure what the humidity level is in your home, it’s time to find out. Here are some solutions to consider.
Buy Some Cheap Humidity Sensors
The cheapest way to go about this to buy some simple humidity sensors and place them around your home.
You can grab some for less than $10 each and a couple of them should be enough to cover your whole house. Most of them also display the temperature, and they’ll even show you the all-time high and low for both the humidity and temperature.
I have a couple of these in my own house, and while they’re not really well known for high accuracy, they do provide a ballpark figure that at least give me an idea of what the humidity is like inside.
Add Z-Wave Humidity Sensors to Your Existing Smarthome
If you want to take things up a level and you already have a smarthome hub in your house, you can get some Z-Wave humidity sensors and connect them to your hub.
Amazon sells a small handful of these for a bit more than what a “dumbhome” humidity sensor would cost, but you would be able to do things like receive alerts or automate other devices based on humidity levels. Just make sure that the sensor you end up with works with your specific smarthome hub.
Check to See If Your Thermostat Provides Humidity Info
Depending on what kind of thermostat you have, you may not need to buy humidity sensors at all. Your thermostat might already have one built in.
Pretty much every smart thermostat has one, including the Nest and the Ecobee3, but your regular programmable thermostat might have a humidity sensor as well.
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The nice thing about smart thermostats, though, is that you can set up alerts so that you’ll be notified if the humidity ever reaches a certain point, as well as even control your A/C so that it cools your house based on humidity levels and not necessarily just the temperature. Some systems even have dehumidifiers that let you set your desired humidity levels right at the thermostat.
How to Adjust the Humidity in Your Home
If the humidity inside your home is off the charts, you’re not completely out of luck, and there are a couple of things you can do to at least keep the humidity at reasonable levels.
Perhaps the absolute best way to adjust the humidity in your house is by using a whole-house humidifier and dehumidifier. The problem with this, though, is that they can be incredibly expensive if your house doesn’t already have something like this (which a lot of newer systems do).
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Your best bet is to get a couple of portable units. For example, I have humidifiers (this one in particular) upstairs and downstairs that both run during the winter to keep the house’s humidity at a reasonable level. As for the summer, the air conditioner is a natural dehumidifier to a certain degree, and I find that it works well enough to not need a dedicated dehumidifier unit. However, if you think you need more, just keep in mind that portable units can be a bit more expensive than their humidifier counterparts.
In the end, I find that my own body can give me a general idea of the humidity levels in my house—if it feels muggy and everything sticks together, then the humidity is probably at levels that are too high. Whereas if I notice my throat, eyes, or skin drying out a lot, then the humidity is probably really low. However, it never hurts to have an official source to rely on to get a better idea of the humidity levels in your home.