When the temperatures soar in mid-summer, you've probably heard people saying they don't mind the heat, but they can't stand the humidity. While there is little you can do to reduce the humidity outside, short of moving to a dry area, you can take control of the humidity level inside your home. If the humidity level is too high for comfort in your home, try these tricks for lowering it.
Why are high humidity levels a problem?
High humidity levels in your home can cause several problems, including affecting your mood and productivity.
Effects on Mood
Consider these negative effects to your moods from high relative humidity levels.
- Decreased Ability to Concentrate: According to an article by Amie M Gordon PhD. published in Psychology Today (2013), your ability to concentrate decreases during times of high humidity.
- Increased Tiredness and Sleepiness: Gordon further explains that people feel more tired and sleepy when the humidity is high.
- Decreased Pleasantness: Participants in the studies referenced by Gordon also demonstrated less pleasantness during high humidity. The pleasantness increased when humidity levels were low.
Effects on Your Personal Property
Prolonged high humidity levels can cause damage to your home.
- Wood Swells: This can cause doors and windows to become sticky and fail to open and close properly.
- Mold Grows: Mold loves warm, moist environments and will thrive in your home if the humidity levels are high. This can lead to serious health issues and increased problems from asthma or allergies.
- Furniture and Carpets Get Damp: This can make them susceptible to mold and mildew, but it also makes them feel damp and sticky. It may cause odors, like pet odors, to become more prominent.
How do you lower the humidity levels in your home?
There are several ways to reduce the humidity levels in your home. Using a device designed to remove moisture from the air is always an option. The two most common devices to use are:
- Air Conditioners: Many people think of the air conditioner as a device to cool the home, but it also removes humidity from the home. Under normal circumstances, an air conditioner may be all you need to reduce the humidity to a comfortable level. Look for the dry setting on your air conditioner if it is too cool to run the AC in cooling mode.
- Dehumidifiers: These devices are designed specifically to remove moisture from the air. They can be used alone or in conjunction with an air conditioner. You may find it helpful to place a dehumidifier in areas of your home where humidity is high, like the bathroom or kitchen, and rely on the air conditioner to take care of the rest of the home.
Other options include using a variety of home remedies to remove moisture from the air. Try these remedies to lower the humidity levels in your home.
- Fill a shallow container with zeolite. This natural mineral can absorb up to 65 percent of its weight in moisture, says TreeHugger. The plus side to using zeolite is that it absorbs odors, doesn't release chemicals into the air, and can be re-used. To reuse zeolite, set the crystals in the sun to dry or place them in the oven and heat at 200 degrees Fahrenheit until all moisture is released.
- Fill a pie plate with clay kitty litter. It will absorb moisture from the air and reduce the humidity in your home.
- Increase ventilation in your home. You can use directional fans to circulate air and dry out the area, or open windows, as long as the humidity level outside is low, to increase air circulation through your home.
- Use a heater. While this may sound counter-productive, if your home cools off in the evening, running a heater, or kicking on the furnace to dry out your home will reduce the humidity levels.
Controlling the humidity levels in your home will make everyone feel more comfortable and may head off problems associated with high humidity levels.