What is low humidity? If the humidity is less than 15%, the dry air can actually cause health issues to you and damage to your home.
How to Tell If You Have Low Humidity
You can purchase a hygrometer to measure humidity levels, or you can try this simple test for humidity. Put a few ice cubes in a glass and place the glass in the room with low humidity. Leave it alone (and stay out of the room) for a few minutes. When you return, look for water droplets on the outside of the glass. If you see them, your humidity is likely fine. If your glass isn’t ‘sweating,’ then you may have low humidity in that room.
How Low Humidity Affects Your Home
Very dry air can warp or even split wood furniture, doors, and floors. It can also dry out caulk or glue, causing it to shrink. This will create gaps around your doors, windows, and fixtures. Conditioned air can leak out of these gaps, leading to higher energy bills as your HVAC system works to compensate for a less efficient home.
How Low Humidity Affects Your Body
Breathing in dry air is uncomfortable. Air that’s low in moisture leaches water from your body, causing dry skin and rough, chapped lips. As you breathe in air that’s low in humidity, your nasal passages dry up. To compensate, your body produces more mucus and you might end up with a stuffy nose. Dry air is also breeding ground for viruses – especially the flu, which one study showed is best transmitted at 20% humidity.
How to Increase Humidity In Your Home
There are several ways to add moisture to the air. Boiling a pot of water is the easiest and least expensive way to quickly increase the humidity in your kitchen and surrounding rooms. You can purchase portable humidifiers to raise low humidity in your bedroom and other rooms upstairs, but these require cleaning and maintenance and will only affect a small part of your house. If low humidity is a chronic problem in your home, consider adding a central humidifier to your HVAC system. A central humidifier can control humidity in your whole house and is more efficient than multiple portable humidifiers.
You can learn more about how to control humidity levels in your home here.