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humidity control

When most people think of home comfort, pleasant temperatures are the first thing that comes to mind. But did you know your home’s humidity level can also influence your sense of comfort? Some people prefer higher humidity, while others are better off with less. Finding the right balance can take some effort, but the benefits are worth it.


Humidity is measured by the amount of moisture vapor present in the surrounding air. The ideal range is between 30% to 50% humidity. Too little or too much can affect your indoor air quality, your health and even your home if mold grows or wood flooring cracks.


Certain air conditioners can dehumidify the air to a degree, though an air conditioner’s dehumidification properties are more a side effect of how they function than anything else. That is why, in most cases, a traditional HVAC system without a humidifier attachment, is not enough to effectively control the humidity levels in your home. While an air conditioner has many other benefits, its ability to dehumidify the air is typically not sufficient, especially if the relative humidity is above 60%.

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Types Of Humidity Control Systems

HVAC humidity control is managed primarily through humidity control systems. The two types of equipment are humidifiers and dehumidifiers. Maintaining the right level of humidity in your home can be challenging. Throughout the year, depending on how dry or humid the air is, you may need to use a humidifier or dehumidifier for added comfort.


A quality humidifier produces moisture for the surrounding air to absorb and circulate. Many systems use a reservoir of water to create the moisture vapor. They are available for single rooms or the entire home. Whole-house humidifiers are the best, since they connect to your HVAC system to distribute the humidity more evenly.

Benefits of humidifiers

  • Health – When the air inside a home is too dry, it can cause skin and throat irritation, allergy and sinus flare-ups, and increased vulnerability to viruses. By adding moisture to the air, you can alleviate these issues.

  • Comfort – Eliminate the need to keep moving your portable humidifier from room to room. Because whole house humidifiers are hooked up to your home’s HVAC system, they make all the rooms in your home comfortable simultaneously.

  • Energy – The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that for every degree lower you set your thermostat, you can save about 4% on your heating bills. Whole house humidifiers help make this happen by making the home feel more comfortable, which leads to lower temperature settings.

  • Convenience – While portable units require frequent water changes and movement, whole house humidifiers cut down on the hassle by operating automatically, as they are connected to the HVAC system.

  • Control – By being able to set the humidity levels in your home, you can gain a level of control over your home’s air quality that allows you to have the exact air quality you desire.


Dehumidifiers do the opposite of humidifiers. Excess moisture in the air is drawn into the dehumidifier. In these systems, the reservoir holds the condensed vapor. They are also available in single-room and whole-home models. Some systems are placed in the basement or under the house in crawl spaces.

Benefits of dehumidifiers

  • Comfort – If the air in your home is too humid, you tend to get a sticky, clammy feeling on your skin that disrupts your body’s natural cooling processes and makes you feel hot and uncomfortable.

  • Reduced Utility Bills – Air with too much moisture in it makes your AC unit work harder to cool your home. Lower humidity allows your HVAC unit to not work as hard, and your electric bill will show it!

  • Protection from Excess Moisture – Excessively humid air in your home can cause paint to bubble, warped furniture, and water damage on walls or floors.

  • Deodorizing – Extremely moist air allows for mold, rot, and fungal growth in your home. This growth can not only be structurally damaging, but also causes unpleasant odors in your home.

Humidity And Your Health

How might changes in humidity impact my health?

Believe it or not, the humidity levels in your home can have a significant impact on your health and comfort level. Humidity affects how our bodies perceive temperature. Since warmer air can hold more water vapor, if the temperature drops but the water vapor content stays the same, the relative humidity increases. Conversely, if the water vapor content remains the same but the temperature rises, the relative humidity decreases. The more humid the air, the moister it feels, and the stickier, sweatier, and less comfortable we feel. When the humidity level of the air reaches 60% or higher, it is so high that our sweat will not evaporate, making us feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, when the humidity level is lower, such as during the winter, it can also cause discomfort since the lack of moisture in the air is known to dry out our skin, eyes, and nasal passages. Further, when humidity levels are too high or too low, it can negatively affect our sleep quality, aid in the transmission of viruses, and even lead to the growth of mold, bacteria, and fungi. For these reasons, controlling humidity with your HVAC is of the utmost importance. Keep reading for more information on the specific impact of humidity levels that are too high and humidity levels that are too low. 

If humidity levels are too low

Humidity levels that are too low can have adverse health effects ranging from dry skin and chapped lips to itchy eyes, nose, and skin. It can also lead to a build-up of static electricity and aid in the spread of viruses and bacteria. Lastly, humidity levels that are too low may also damage wood floors, furniture, or musical instruments. Please note that homeowners should avoid the humidity levels of their homes dropping below 30%. 

If humidity levels are too high

Humidity levels that are too high (e.g. 60% or higher) can also impact a person’s health and home. For example, if the humidity is too high, it can lead to mold and fungi growth, discomfort when sleeping (which possibly translates to a lower quality or shorter sleep), and uncomfortably muggy conditions. It can also cause moisture stains on walls, a musty smell in your home, commendation on the windows in the winter, and damage to wood floors, furniture, or musical instruments. 

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