What should the humidity be in a room is a question that rears its head not only in the heat of summer but as the temperature starts to drop. Soaring energy bills might have many of us pushing the limits on how long we can wait to turn the heating on, but it could be increasing the damp and humidity in our homes.
High humidity levels in a home can contribute to mould, mildew, and condensation on your walls and windows. While we're happy to put the best dehumidifier to work as a way to tackle this issue and get rid of damp, what you might not realise is that too low humidity levels in a house can also be detrimental to your house and your health. So, how do you find that magic middle ground?
In order to find that perfect number, we asked experts what the humidity of a room should be, and why it matters so much.
What should the humidity be in a room?
To understand the ideal humidity of a room, we reached out to Chris Michael, Managing Director of Meaco. He explained, ‘In simple terms, anything between 40 and 60%rh (relative humidity) is fine.’
‘Below that level and the air becomes too dry; above that point and you run the risk of mould growth. The perfect level is seen as 50%rh, and that would be the preferred setting for a dehumidifier as the point at which it will turn itself on and off.’
Thankfully, this gives you a fairly large window to work with. But keeping your home at this level of humidity can be difficult for some - especially when you don’t know how to tell if your home has poor humidity or not.
Chris has been advising on humidity solutions and dehumidifiers since 1991 and is well known within the dehumidifier industry across the world as a lead on innovation and sustainability. Since the mid-90s Chris has been a guest speaker at numerous conferences to teach museum conservators how to measure relative humidity. With a wealth of experience in the industry, Chris is committed to helping provide low-energy and low-noise solutions appliances that improve the lives of customers.
How to tell if your home has poor humidity
Humidity levels in the home fluctuate for various reasons. Something as simple as having a shower or boiling potatoes can cause the humidity levels to rise while opening up windows and turning on air conditioning can cause them to fall.
Signs your humidity levels are too high
- You spot mould and mildew on walls and other surfaces
- You notice you have dust mites
- Asthma and allergy sufferers struggle to breathe
- Your furniture starts to warp
- The paint on your walls starts to peel
Signs your humidity levels are too low
- You have dry and itchy skin
- You’re more susceptible to illnesses
- You notice an increase in static electricity
- Your door frames and other wooden furniture start to shrink
What to do if the humidity levels are too high
If your humidity is too high, there are so many ways to bring this down.
Use a dehumidifier: As you can probably tell by the name, a dehumidifier works to reduce the humidity levels in a room. And while there are four types of dehumidifiers sold in the UK, Chris would suggest two for the average homeowner. ‘Compressor and desiccant machines use an inbuilt hydrometer to measure the relative humidity,’ he explains.
‘Consumers can set a target humidity, and the appliance will work towards meeting that target, switching itself off when it's reached, only switching on again when it detects an increase in humidity. This is the most cost-effective way to manage indoor humidity.’
Improve ventilation: To lower humidity levels, you also need to lower the amount of moisture in the air. And one of the easiest - and cheapest - ways to do this is to improve ventilation in your room. Something as simple as opening up windows for half an hour in the morning can make a big difference.
Take advantage of houseplants: Houseplants aren’t just for decoration. Many also have natural absorption properties, meaning they can lower the humidity in your room and even prevent mould in the bathroom. While not every plant can lower humidity, popular plants such as palms, spider plants, and ferns are great options.
Limit extra moisture: There are so many things we do in our homes that increase the moisture levels, from having a shower to boiling the kettle and drying clothes. While you don’t have to stop doing those things, you do need to try and limit this extra moisture.
Do this by opening windows, using extractor fans, and drying your washing outside. If you can’t do that, though, opt for one of the best-heated clothes dryers instead.
Is 70% humidity too high for a bedroom?
Yes, it is. It’s important to stick to the 40% - 60% rule when it comes to humidity in the house - but this rule is even more important in the bedroom. That’s because a high level of humidity in a bedroom provides a breeding ground for mould, mildew, and even dust mites and bed bugs.
Not only is this damaging for your house, but it can also be incredibly dangerous for your health, as you’ll spend an average of eight hours each day breathing in mould spores and sleeping on bed bugs. As if that wasn’t enough, high humidity can also increase your chances of snoring!
Because of this, it’s always a good idea to invest in a dehumidifier for your bedroom, as a dehumidifier can help you sleep better. If you are struggling for budge you can pick up some good dehumidifiers for under £100.
Is 50 humidity too high in a house?
No, 50% humidity is perfect for a house. Most experts will agree that 40% - 60% humidity is the ideal humidity level for indoor rooms, as this will balance out the moisture levels in the air and keep you and your home free from harm.
It’s important to keep humidity levels at this percentage, though. Anything over 60% and you’ll need to put measures in place to bring that level down.
How do I lower the humidity in my room UK?
More people need to start asking themselves what should the humidity in a room be, as these numbers can negatively affect your house and your health. If you find that the humidity levels in your room are too high, you need to focus on lowering them.
The easiest way to do this is to simply improve the ventilation in your house. Opening windows for even a short amount of time every morning can improve airflow and reduce the amount of moisture in your room. However, it’s often hard to do that all year round, which is why a dehumidifier can also come in extremely handy.
This nifty appliance removes excess moisture from the air, with many dehumidifiers also working hard to maintain the humidity levels in a room.
Who knew humidity was such a hot topic? Now you do, it's a good idea to keep on top of it.
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Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.
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