How to maintain the correct humidity levels in your home

With the cold Winter air, monitoring the relative humidity (RH) in your home is extremely important.  Relative Humidity can be broken down into a science but for the purpose of maintaining proper levels, you don't need to be a genius nor does it need to be done with pin-point-accuracy.  A variance of a few percent is just fine.

For both the care of your furniture, hardwood floors and stairs to the health and comfort of you and your loved ones, consider the taking the following steps:

STEP ONE:  USE A HYGROMETER


During colder weather, we often hear home owners complain about dry air in their home, while sometimes it's quite the opposite.  .

Some people use condensation on windows as a guide to knowing when the RH is too high, however, depending on the efficiency of your windows it's common for moisture to be forming in hidden areas such as behind drywall and in the attic before it's visible on windows.  In fact, as you can see in Figure 1, triple pain windows may not show condensation until the RH exceeds 70%, which is dangerously high.

To start, pick up a hygrometer like this one to get a relatively accurate reading of the RH levels in your home

Figure 1*

Condensation in your home

STEP TWO:  IS YOUR RELATIVE HUMIDITY TOO HIGH OR LOW?

Older homes, often built less air-tight than newer homes, can suffer from air leakage.  As a result, it's common for older homes to have lower RH in the Winter season due to cold, dry air entering the home.  

On the other hand, newer homes are built more air-tight; these homes are often found to have higher RH levels.  

STEP THREE:  TAKE ACTION

A low RH, if caused by air leakage can be corrected by causing repair to areas air is leaking or by installing a whole home humidifier. 

A high RH, more frequently found in newer and more air-tight homes, is often corrected by installing and/or simply using your existing ventilation system properly.  If your home is equipped with an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator), turning this on during the colder months will bring in cool, fresh air while efficiently warming it with heat captured from air that's exhausted.

THINGS TO CONSIDER:

A solution we've found to help many of our clients has been to use the fan from your furnace on a constant or very frequent basis.  It's inevitable that not all areas in your home will be the same temperature or carry the same level of humidity; by keeping the air moving with your fan, you will create more consistent levels from one room to the next.

If you have a basic thermostat, there is often a switch for the Fan, showing options of ON, AUTO and OFF.  Move it to the ON position to run the fan and get the air moving.  More advanced thermostats like the NEST will give options of what frequency you want to run the fan.


AT THE END OF THE DAY ... 

In most situations, the humidity created naturally during your daily activities such as cooking, bathing and cleaning will generate enough moisture in the air to maintain comfortable RH levels, assuming not too many leaks exist to counter act this.  However, if there are only a couple of people living in a large home, your regular activities may not quite be sufficient and a humidifier may be needed to compensate.

Here's a guideline to help you understand what RH level to keep your home at:

Outside Temperature (Celsius) Approximate Relative Humidity Inside
0º + 40%
- 10º  to  0º 35%
- 20º to - 10º 30%
- 20 and cooler 20% - 30%
   


References:
Figure 1 - Heathy Heating - "Humidity:  Effects on the Environment and Occupants" 


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For more information about taking care of your home or for tips and help on how to buy or sell your next home, contact us via text, email or phone any time!

Ariel and Adrian

 

Milton Real Estate

Century 21 Miller Real Estate Ltd.

Ariel:  (647) 464-0957
Adrian:  (416) 707-8401

info@kormendytrott.com

 

 

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The Kormendy Trott Team

The Kormendy Trott Team

CENTURY 21 Miller Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage*
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