Each year when the temperature dips below zero, we inevitably receive warranty calls about faulty windows. Windows that were performing perfectly well are now covered in condensation. These homeowners don’t actually have a window problem, they have a humidity problem. The extreme cold air outside causes the window panes to cool and humidity of the indoor air can then condense into water on the surface. Luckily, for Cypress homeowners, the solution is often just the turn of a dial.
Having the correct level of humidity in your home is important all year long, but it becomes even more crucial to monitor the moisture in your home during our Wisconsin Winters. You want to have a certain amount of humidity in your home for general health and wellness, but this becomes a delicate balance when outside temperatures fall below freezing. At Cypress Homes we’ve put together some helpful information regarding how and why you’ll want to monitor humidity levels in your home.
What Level Humidity Should I Keep My Home at and Why?
Generally, you’ll want humidity levels to be around 45% in your home for your health and your homes condition. If humidity increases above 50%, the additional moisture will make your home more susceptible to mold, bacteria growth, dust mites, insects, and paint peeling problems. If humidity decreases too low you open yourself up to an array of additional problems including brittle wood/drywall and shrunken floors; not to mention dry skin/nose/throat and being more vulnerable to catch a cold.
Unfortunately with Wisconsin temperatures falling below freezing, deciding on the proper level of humidity for your home gets even more complicated. The colder it is outside, the more likely your windows are to start collecting condensation – even at relatively low humidity levels. This means you’ll have to adjust your homes humidity level according to the outside temperature. The University of Minnesota Laboratories developed guidelines for recommended humidity levels based on 70º interior room temperatures:
- When outside temperatures are 20° to 40°F, indoor humidity should be about 40%
- When outside temperatures are 10° to 20°F, indoor humidity should be about 35%
- When outside temperatures are 0º to 10°F, indoor humidity levels shouldn’t exceed 30%
- When outside temperatures are -10º to 0°F, indoor humidity levels shouldn’t exceed 25%
- When outside temperatures are -20º to -10°F, indoor humidity levels shouldn’t exceed 20%
- When outside temperatures are -20ºF and below, indoor humidity levels shouldn’t exceed 15%
How to Control Humidity Levels in Your Home
The easiest way to control your humidity level is to install a dehumidistat in your home. All of the homes we build at Cypress Homes include a dehumidistat and high rated exhaust fans. This makes lowering your humidity as easy as turning a dial. A higher level of ventilation is just one of the many features we include at Cypress Homes to make homes 25-30% more energy efficient than code; Homes built by Cypress Homes are certified to meet “Focus on Energy New Home” standards.
You can also try these tips to help control your humidity levels:
- Use a humidifier or dehumidifier to add or remove moisture from your home
- Use your exhaust fans during and after bathing and cooking to remove excess moisture.
- Run fans to circulate air throughout your home
- Check behind closed blinds and drapes to ensure proper air flow
- Regularly replace your AC / furnace air filters
- Be aware of how much moisture you are putting into your home
- Cook with covered pots
- Take cooler, shorter showers
- Reduce the number of plants in your home
- Make sure your clothes dryer is vented to the outdoors.
This post was written by Greg Drusch