Your Indoor Environment: Controlling Humidity

Did You Know? An ENERGY STAR certified dehumidifier can save you an average of $175 in energy costs over the life of the unit.

Humidity is moisture or water vapor that is mixed with the air in your home. Excessive humidity can make a home feel hotter in the summertime, reducing comfort. It can also lead to serious building damage resulting from the growth of mold and mildew. High indoor humidity caused by normal activities of everyday living, such as showering, cooking, and drying clothes. Humidity generated inside the home can be reduced by venting it outside, but as homes become tighter and more energy efficient, humidity control becomes less of an issue. Indoor humidity levels of 30 to 50 percent are ideal.

The following are some suggestions for increasing comfort by reducing humidity levels in your home:

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    Have your heating and cooling system checked to make sure that it is sized properly and running correctly to control humidity. Your air-conditioner will not remove humidity adequately if it is over-sized or the air doesn’t flow properly.

  • Check your duct system for leaks and proper sizing.
  • If you have a crawlspace in your basement, place a vapor barrier over dirt floors to block moisture from the soil from entering your home.
  • Use ventilation fans in kitchens and bathrooms to control moisture. Make sure that ventilation fans are vented directly outside.
  • Ensure that your clothes dryer is vented directly outside. Inspect the ventilation hose. Check to make sure that it is securely attached to the dryer and is free of any obstructions.
  • Seal air leaks in your home to help control humidity levels.

In areas such as your basement, humidity control can be a challenge not only in the summer, but all year long. For these areas, install an ENERGY STAR qualified dehumidifier. ENERGY STAR certified models have more efficient refrigeration coils, compressors, and fans than conventional models, which means they use about 15 percent less energy to remove moisture.