Maintain Indoor Relative Humidity

A dehumidification system gives you more control of your home's comfort level.

Every time we cook, bathe, shower or breathe, we increase the amount of moisture in the air; when these activities occur indoors, we raise the humidity level inside our home. Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air; it makes the air feel wet and clammy or smell musty. During a hot summer day, humidity makes the air feel even warmer, since it prevents sweat from evaporating from the skin, undermining the body's way of staying cool.

Relative humidity is the amount of water the air contains compared to the amount it could contain at a specific temperature. When the relative humidity is 100 percent, the air is retaining the most moisture possible at that temperature without precipitation. Most of us feel comfortable inside our home when the relative humidity remains between 30 and 60 percent. When the indoor humidity level is below 30 percent, the air is too dry, which can harm both a home's structural integrity and the homeowners' health. Conversely, when the level is above 60 percent, the air is too wet, which is also harmful to both the home and the homeowners. Excess humidity is a breeding ground for mold, pests and rot in homes and is more likely to cause heatstroke, heat exhaustion, headaches and dehydration than a less humid atmosphere.

To combat a high humidity level inside the home, many homeowners run the air conditioning unit. While air conditioning can reduce the humidity level, the result is high energy bills and a cold and uncomfortable living space. Rather than using air conditioning, homeowners and builders can have a whole-house dedicated dehumidification system installed. This type of system operates using the home's central air distribution system. A dehumidification system can be programmed to maintain specific humidity levels, giving homeowners the ability to customize the comfort level of their home.

Whole-house dehumidification systems can be installed in both new and existing homes. Here are a few points to keep in mind when considering installing dedicated dehumidification systems:

  • Choose a dehumidification system that has built-in fan cycling. This feature will keep the humidity and temperature balance steady throughout the home instead of in just one room. It will also minimize hot and cold spots and improve the overall air quality.

  • Look for a dehumidification system that has the capacity to remove up to 90 pints of moisture per day from the air. For builders, a high-capacity system will provide for the flexibility of using the system in a wide variety of homes.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Alternative HVAC Systems

Pellet stoves and furnaces are hot, but there are other keen ideas for getting the most out of your heating and cooling systems.

Types of HVAC Systems

Split systems, mini-splits, furnaces and boilers are just a few of the choices for your home.

10 Key Features of HVAC Systems

Here's what you need to know when it comes to heating and cooling systems.

Stopping Air Leaks in HVAC Systems

With energy loss through HVAC ducts running 30 percent or more, it is well worth the time and effort to track down and repair the leaks.

Consider a Split HVAC System

A split HVAC system or ductless heat pump may be the best way to heat and cool your new space

Replace Old Heating and Air Unit With New Efficient HVAC System

A superior HVAC unit balances humidity and boosts efficiency.

Plan a Whole-Home AV System

Planning a house-wide audio and video system? This guide will get you started on the path to music and video, everywhere.

Home Theater Audio Systems

Get expert tips and ideas for choosing receivers and speakers for your home theater.

10 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

A certified home inspector shares 10 home-maintenance tips for spring.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.