What Is the Ideal Home Humidity Level?

A humidifier sits on a window sill indoors beside a plant.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • $30-120
What You'll Need
Ice cubes
Reed palms
Boston ferns

Maintaining a proper home humidity level is essential for your well-being and that of your home. Extreme fluctuations cause adverse effects on both; low humidity may cause respiratory problems and damage on wooden doors, windows, and furniture, and make you vulnerable to electric shocks due to increased static electricity. On the other hand, high humidity will promote mold growth, serving as breeding grounds for bacteria and resulting in poor health and a damaged home.

Ideal Home Humidity Level

That being said, maintaining an ideal level of humidity indoors is essential. Average humidity levels should range between 30-50% percent; however, experts suggest that the most favorable in-home humidity level should be close to 45% for optimal health and safety.

Measuring Home Humidity Level

Humidity levels can be easily gauged with a hygrometer. This device is employed to calculate relative humidity in the surroundings and monitors the humidity levels at home.

Other effective ways to check the approximate humidity level indoors is by performing the "ice test." Put three ice cubes in a glass of water and stir it a few times, waiting for about three minutes. If moisture droplets form on the exterior walls of the glass, your home has normal or higher humidity. If no droplets form, then the indoor air is very dry, and you need to moisten the air for optimal health.

High humidity levels will result in the fogging of windows too often. This indicates the build up of moisture and potentially mold on walls and ceilings.

How to Change Your Humidity Levels

Fortunately, you can both raise and lower the humidity level indoors if you don't fall within the ideal range. Any time you take measures to change the amount of moisture in the air, be sure to test again with your hygrometer so you can know if it's working how you intend.

You can raise the humidity in your home easily just by using a humidifier. Run the machine for a short stretch of time as a test, looking out for the tell-tale signs of higher humidity levels before using the hygrometer. Once you're sure you're going in the right direction, use your humidifier as needed.

If the moisture in the air is too much and you risk having mold growth, you can dry out your air using a dehumidifier instead. If you don't have one handy, or if it's a recurring problem that you'd like to manage naturally, there are several kinds of indoor plants you can keep that will help absorb a little humidity. Reed palms and Boston ferns are two examples of good plants to keep indoors that will help regulate your home's moisture levels.