Indianapolis, like most of the Midwest, tends to be humid, and so do our homes. For most of us, higher levels of humidity in the summer can translate to discomfort, and the need to turn the air conditioner down to feel cooler. In the winter, conditions may feel a bit drier, and we may need to boost humidity.

Whatever the season, it’s a good idea to keep your home humidity within a certain range. Here’s how and why.

Why Control Relative Humidity?

As mentioned above, high humidity — that is, greater than 50-55 percent, can make our homes feel uncomfortable, as moist air inhibits our ability to cool off through perspiration evaporating from our skin. The result is we feel sticky. When you have to turn down the A/C to feel comfortable, you’re wasting money on your electric bill.

When humidity goes to 35-30 percent or below in the winter, your skin and nasal passages may feel too dry, and you’ll want to add moisture to the air for greater comfort.

You can monitor humidity with a simple and inexpensive device called a humidistat.

How to Control Humidity

In summer, control humidity by doing this:

  • Fix leaks in ceiling and plumbing.
  • Change the air filter often so the A/C can properly dehumidify the air.
  • Install exhaust ventilation in damp areas, such as the bathrooms and kitchen.
  • Avoid long showers.
  • Sequester indoor plants if you have a lot of them.
  • Install a whole home dehumidifier in your HVAC system. These do a better job of dehumidifying than the portable models. A dehumidifier might be particularly appropriate if you have a consistently damp home with mold and mildew.

In winter, add moisture to the air by these means:

  • Boil pots of water on the stove.
  • Add houseplants to the home.
  • Take long showers.
  • Run a humidifier. A portable model, moved from room to room, will likely do the trick. Or, you can look into a whole home humidifier. There are several different types so talk to your HVAC consultant.

For more on home humidity, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.