6 Ways to Reduce High Indoor Humidity in your House
As a Birmingham-based HVAC and plumbing company, Aux Home Services has been helping customers deal with humidity for decades.
How humid is Birmingham, AL?
Alabama has a humid subtropical climate, which is known for its hot and humid summers and mild winters. In Birmingham, the average daily humidity level year-round is 70%, and mornings tend to be more humid than the afternoons.
What does “70% humidity” actually mean?
Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. When talking about the weather, we typically measure it in terms of relative humidity. Relative humidity measures the amount of water vapor in the air compared to the maximum amount of water vapor possible at the current temperature. This measurement is expressed as a percentage, where 0% humidity would be completely dry and 100% humidity is as moist as it could possibly be. On a 100% humidity day, you’d probably see fog or mist outside.
Although you can’t usually see humidity, you can definitely feel it. If you go outside on a warm, humid day, you will quickly notice that the air feels hotter and stickier than you might expect just by checking the temperature.
What is a normal level for indoor humidity?
Most people think about their heater or air conditioner in terms of temperature, but humidity levels are important, too!
According to the Mayo Clinic, humidity levels in your home should be around 30-50%. Any level above 50% is considered “high humidity” and can have negative effects on your comfort, health, and home. On the other hand, anything lower than 30% humidity can make the air feel extremely dry and also can affect your health. This is why monitoring your home’s indoor humidity levels is important.
In Birmingham, you’re more likely to have problems with too much indoor humidity rather than the other way around. If you are noticing one or more of the following symptoms, the humidity levels in your house might be higher than experts recommend.
Signs of too much moisture in your house:
- Moist air
- Mildew smell
- Visible mold in the kitchen or bathroom
- Excessive dust mites
- Foggy windows
- Peeling paint inside or outside the home
- More powerful allergies
How to decrease indoor humidity levels
If your indoor humidity levels are too high, there are a couple things you can do to bring them down. Some of these methods you can easily do on your own, while others might need help from a professional plumber or HVAC company.
1. Turn on your AC system
Air conditioners work by removing the warmth and humidity from the air inside your house. Once the air itself has been cooled, it is circulated back through your home and the leftover heat is moved outdoors. This whole process naturally reduces indoor humidity levels and is easily one of the first things you can try whenever your home starts feeling sticky.
What if my AC is on but not removing the humidity?
Your AC might not be dehumidifying enough because your evaporator coils are dirty, you have a refrigerant leak, your AC system is the wrong size or there is a leak in your ductwork.
- Evaporator coils are what the warm heat passes through in order to be cooled. If these coils are dirty, they won’t work as well as they should.
- Refrigerant is a necessary component in your AC system to remove hot, humid air from the inside because this is what makes evaporator coils so cold. But if you have a refrigerant leak, your evaporator coils can’t condition the air as well as it is supposed to.
- An air conditioner that is too big or too small will consistently struggle to efficiently cool your home. If your AC is too big it will frequently short-cycle, meaning it works for a short time but then turns itself off. An AC that short-cycles is much less efficient than one that consistently cools the air over a longer period of time and makes it harder for your home to reach a set temperature.
- Leaky ducts can raise indoor humidity levels because it creates spaces for warm air to circulate back into your home. This basically undos all the hard work your AC unit’s evaporator coils just did to remove all that heat and humidity in the first place.
2. Get a Whole Home Dehumidifier
You can install a whole home dehumidifier to do the heavy lifting for controlling your home’s humidity levels. These products work with your existing heating and cooling system to trigger whenever indoor humidity levels are too high and remove excess moisture from the air.
Whole home dehumidifiers operate similarly to air conditioners when it comes to removing humidity, but they work much more efficiently (which can also result in lower energy bills). Dehumidifiers are particularly useful in cooler months when you don’t want to turn on the AC just to control indoor humidity.
3. Air dry your laundry outside or use a dryer
If you air dry your laundry inside, all that moisture in your clothes will end up evaporating into the air and increasing the indoor humidity. You can avoid this problem by drying your wet clothes and bedding with a dryer or air drying them outside.
4. Take shorter, colder showers
We all love a long, hot shower … but if you’re already feeling muggy inside, you should consider cutting that shower a couple minutes (and degrees) short.
All that steam from the hot water in your shower adds to the humidity in your home. The longer and hotter the shower, the more moisture you release into the air. So if you can take shorter showers and lower the temperature of the water, you can help keep the humidity level down.
5. Use your ventilation and exhaust fans
Laundry and showers aren’t the only activities that increase the humidity – cooking can, too. When cooking, be sure to turn on the ventilation and exhaust fans in your kitchen.
These exhaust fans do a great job of improving indoor air quality by removing moisture, oils, and smells from the air when cooking – and, consequently, reducing the humidity in your kitchen.
6. Fix any plumbing leaks
If you’re experiencing indoor humidity problems all of a sudden, you might have a leaky pipe.
Higher humidity levels is just one of the issues a pipe leak can cause – they also can lead to mold growth; bad odors; water damage on your ceilings, walls, or floors; and higher water bills.
These leaks can sometimes be hard to spot on your own, but a professional plumber can help detect the leak and make the necessary repairs.
Call Aux Home Services for help controlling indoor humidity levels in the Birmingham area.
At Aux Home Services, we’re passionate about helping residents achieve their ideal level of comfort. We understand that high indoor humidity can be caused by a variety of things, including your air conditioning and plumbing system.
We are confident that our team has the expertise to help you determine the cause of high indoor humidity and find an appropriate solution. For whole home humidifiers, air conditioning solutions, and plumbing repairs in the Birmingham area, give Aux a call.
Our team wears clean uniforms and will keep your home tidy by
wearing boot covers and using mats to cover work areas, plus we'll always tidy up before we leave.