As spring transitions to summer, so does the temperature and humidity. The air becomes warmer, sticky and humid. While this is normally not a problem outdoors, humid air can be a problem indoors.
In this article, we discuss the ideal indoor humidity for summer, how it can affect your health and home, and how to bring excessive humidity down to safe levels.
What is the Ideal Indoor Humidity in Summer?
Indoor humidity refers to the amount of moisture present in the air indoors. The ideal indoor humidity is between 30% to 50%.
This can be a challenge to maintain in summer, as according to the National Weather Service, the higher the temperature, the greater the relative humidity present in the air is.
What Happens If the Humidity is Too High?
Indoor humidity is measured in relative humidity, or how much water vapor is present in a compared to the maximum amount possible. RH is always expressed in terms of percentage – a 50% relative humidity means there is 50% moisture present in the indoor air.
When the relative humidity goes beyond 60%, the indoor humidity can be considered too high. Effects include:
- Warm, sticky feeling
- Increased sweating
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased allergy triggers
- Discomfort for asthma sufferers
Physical effects at home
- Formation of condensation on cold surfaces, windows, and cool areas
- Musty odor
- Risk of mold and mildew formation
- Increased risk of bacterial growth
- Doors and cabinets expand and become harder to open
- Wood furniture and paneling can get damaged
- Expansion risks to wooden supports and beams
The challenge then, is to bring indoor humidity down to safe levels in summer, especially for homes in warmer climates and those near the coast.
How to Reduce Indoor Humidity in Summer
To ensure your indoor humidity doesn’t exceed the recommended RH level, follow these tips to maintain healthy indoor air in hot weather.
- Use a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier is the most convenient way to reduce excessive moisture in the air. Dehumidifiers are consumer devices designed to capture excess humidity and condense it into water, which can be disposed of or drained.
Dehumidifiers are available in freestanding models for servicing individual rooms, all the way up to whole house dehumidifiers that plug into your existing HVAC systems.
However, like any household appliance, dehumidifiers require periodic cleaning to ensure that mold doesn’t form in the filters, as well as regular draining so the holding tank doesn’t overflow.
Proper ventilation can reduce humidity by letting in fresh air and allowing the moisture trapped indoors to disperse outside. Ventilate your house by:
- Making use of your makeup air system
- Opening the windows
- Using the exhaust fan
- Leaving doors open
- Using fans to circulate air
- Know How to Shower
Shower baths are one of the largest contributors to high humidity in summer. Now, we don’t recommend NOT taking a shower, especially during sweat season. But we do advocate taking smarter baths:
- Reduce the amount of time spent in the shower
- Take cold baths instead of hot showers to lower the amount of steam generated
- Use the exhaust fan or leave the window open when showering
- Air out the bathroom after showering by leaving the shower door and bathroom door open
- Cook Outside
Apart from baths, indoor cooking also generates excess moisture. Here’s how you can counteract its effects:
- Cook outside. After all, summer is barbecue weather!
- Keep pots and pans covered to reduce steam
- Use the range or exhaust fans
- Reduce Laundry
The washer and dryer tend to produce a lot of moisture with each cycle, so follow these tips:
- Do laundry only when you have a full load instead of partial loads
- Take advantage of the warm weather by hanging clothes to dry outdoors instead of using the dryer. This also cuts down on summer utility costs.
- Ensure that your dryer vents outside to minimize steam
- Move plants outside
Plants tend to increase moisture due to watering.
- Move indoor plants outside or close to the window area
- Water only during sunlight, so it quickly dries up instead of pooling in the soil
- Use houseplants that naturally lower humidity, like palms, boston ferns, orchids, reed palm, and English ivy.
Recommended Dehumidifiers for Summer
Total Home Supply carries a wide range of dehumidifiers from trusted brands. Here’s our top picks to make sure you have a cool and refreshing summer:
Budget Portable Dehumidifier
Danby DDR022BJWDB 22 Pint Portable Dehumidifier with Direct Drain Option – Energy Star
This portable dehumidifier removes up to 22 pints (10.4 liters) of moisture per 24 hours. This unit will remove all the excess humidity in your home up to about 1,500 sq. ft. It is perfect for many basement applications as well as other residential indoor spaces.
Features include a bucket full light and an auto-de-icer which prevents ice build-up on coils. With the Smart Dehumidify Function, the unit will automatically control the room humidity by factoring in the ambient temperature. It is a portable unit and can be moved around if dehumidifying is needed in another space.
The Danby DDR020BJWDB portable dehumidifier removes up to 22 pints (10.4 liters) of moisture per 24 hours, protecting your home form unwanted humidity, mold and...
The Danby DDR020BJWDB portable dehumidifier removes up to 22 pints (10.4 liters) of moisture per 24 hours, protecting your home form unwanted humidity, mold and...View Product
Premium Portable Dehumidifier
Friedrich D50B1A 50 Pint Portable Dehumidifier – Energy Star
This dehumidifier is perfect for larger wet to very wet spaces from 1000 – 2000 sq. ft. Very wet spaces may include an area with standing water or always wet floors. The D50B1A will work to remove up to 50 pints of moisture from the air per day.
The unit offers three drainage options. It includes a removable 16 pint collection bucket with handle for manual emptying, but can also be set up for continuous drainage. Additionally, this model also comes with a drain pump that allows for vertical or horizontal pumping up to 15 ft. from the unit.
You can set the humidity level from 30% – 90% RH. The D50B1A also includes a 2-speed fan, 24 hour ON/OFF timer, auto defrost and will operate in low ambient temperatures down to 41°F. The control panel is top mounted and features digital touch control operation. The control panel includes a bucket full lamp, defrost lamp, current temperature/timer set and humidity displays as well as fan speed and °C / °F selector button.
Seaira WatchDog NXT85C 85 Pints Per Day Crawl Space Dehumidifier with Integrated Condensate Pump
Small enough to fit in almost any crawl space, the WatchDog NXT85C is one of the most compact dehumidifiers you can find. But don’t let its size fool you. The WatchDog NXT85C has an integrated condensate pump with 15 foot lift and is rated to dehumidify up to 15,000 cubic feet of space and produces 185 CFM airflow.
This compact dehumidifier can operate in a wide range of temperatures from 33°F – 105°F. It also offers a wide range of Operating Relative Humidity Levels from 36% – 90%. It has a rated Condensate Capacity of 85 pints per day (at 80°F and 60% RH). It features an easy to use, digital touch pad to set your desired humidity level and auto defrost.
The WatchDog NXT85C is specifically designed for crawl spaces. With the integrated condensate pump, this unit can pump with its 15 foot pump lift. It includes a 20′ drain connection tube, and can also be ducted with an optional 10″ Duct Collar Kit.
Small enough to fit in almost any crawl space, the WatchDog NXT85C is one of the most compact dehumidifiers you can find. But don't let its size fool you. The W...
Small enough to fit in almost any crawl space, the WatchDog NXT85C is one of the most compact dehumidifiers you can find. But don't let its size fool you. The W...View Product
Whole House Dehumidifier
Aprilaire E080 80 Pint E-Series Professional Grade-Whole House Dehumidifier – Energy Star
Aprilaire’s E-Series delivers professional grade dehumidification for your entire home. The E080 is an Energy Star Rated dehumidifier that is perfect for use in basements, crawl spaces or as a whole house dehumidifier. It will remove up to 80 pints of moisture per day for spaces up to 4400 sq. ft. – perfect for smaller homes and basements.
This model was recognized as the Most Efficient for ENERGY STAR’s 2021 list. It has a Set it and Forget It control that automatically starts dehumidification when humidity above target is sensed. It has duct options for both flex duct or hard pipe, so it can be installed into crawl spaces, attics, or basements for “freestanding” operation.
Good air is essential to a clean, comfortable, and healthy living environment. Aprilaire's E-Series delivers professional grade dehumidification for your entire...
Good air is essential to a clean, comfortable, and healthy living environment. Aprilaire's E-Series delivers professional grade dehumidification for your entire...View Product