Home air quality isveryimportant to me and I believe everyone deserves to enjoy great comfort at home. I’d love to help you so I put together this useful guide that explains humidity, the right humidity settings for your dehumidifier, and more!
This article is part of the dehumidifier main page.
- Infographic – Dehumidifier facts and settings
- Humidity levels in your home
- What is humidity?
- Relative humidity
- Basement dehumidifier settings
- Home dehumidifier settings
- It’s notjust about comfort!
- Dehumidifier settings table
Infographic – Dehumidifier facts and settings
Humidity levels in your home
High humidity can make you very uncomfortable and sweat much more than normal, even in relatively normal temperatures. One reason for this is because your body can’t cool itself the same way as when in a lower humidity environment. A dehumidifier can help a lot by bringing the moisture level down to a far more comfortable level.
The truth is that there is no “perfect” humidity level – there is, however, a goodrange of humidity settings you can use as a guideline. Also, don’t worry too much about getting the settingsexactly right. That’s not critical. We’re aiming to get it in the right approximate range, basically.
What we’re looking to do is bring down the humidity where you live or in your basement to a level where:
- Problems like mold, moisture-related odors, and dust mites are controlled
- You feel comfortable
With these 2 goals in mind, let’s continue.
What is humidity?
Relative humidity, as shown in the scale above, directly affects the comfort you feel when exposed to the air both at home and outside. Most people feel their best when the humidity around them falls within a certain range: generally 30%-60%. If the humidity level is too low, we feel the symptoms of dry air. If it’s too high, we may feel very hot and become subject to overheating and excessive perspiration. (Note: there are secondary problems caused by the humidity being too high – see below)
The term humidityis used to describe the amount of moisture, expressed as a percentage, in the air around us.
There are actually a number of different scientific terms used to describe it depending on different criteria, but let’s not make it more complicated than it has to be. When it comes to most situations and especially your home, we’re concerned with relative humidity.
You may have noticed that some time after it rains your windows fog up from moisture and you feel a bit warmer. That’s exactly the same effect – if the humidity rises a lot you feel much less comfortable and even though it’s not really warmer, it feelswarmer.
Additionally, high humidity levels bring a number of secondary problems that homeowners sometimes experience like mold and dust mites.
Respiratory infections and sinus issues, as well as diseases associated with viruses and bacteria, are increased when the level falls below 30%. Also, if you have a cold or other illness, it’s more difficult to recover without a healthy humidity level in your home. I’ve experienced this firsthand!
Condensation is the collection of nearby water vapor on objects that cool the air around them. You may have observed this on a cold drink bottle, for example. In especially humid areas the amount of condensation is even higher. Likewise, when the area around you is excessively humid the moisture can react with and affect nearby materials, promote unhealthy air, encourage dust mite growth, and affect your body.
Relative humidity is a way of expressing how much water vapor (moisture) is in the air depending upon the current temperature. This is because as temperature increases, the amount of moisture the air can hold increases. And likewise – when the temperaturedecreases, the amount of moisture it can hold decreases.
Ideally the comfort range – the range in which most people feel pretty good – is about 30% to 60% approximately. The truth is, what feels best to you depends on you and varies from person to person.
A great rule of thumb is to think of about 50% as a good upper limit for both your home and basement. Under 60% is necessary to control or prevent mold growth. In order to reduce or prevent dust mite problems, you’ll want to keep it under 50%.
So, for several practical reasons, around 45% is a good setting for your dehumidifier.
Note that you should always check the minimum operating temperature of your humidifier. Be sure you don’t attempt to operate it at a lower temperature than it’s rated for.
Basement dehumidifier settings
Basement humidifiers can prevent mold, keep “musty” odors under control, and make your additional basement space safe for breathing. Many dehumidifiers have attachment points for drain hoses which can be routed to a drain or sump pit to avoid having to the water collection container.
Basements are quite a bit different from the rest of your home. This is primarily due to being surrounded in most cases by soil that’s high in moisture. Because of this, humidity levels down there can be a source of odors and mold if you don’t take action.
Windows that aren’t sealed properly are also a source of additional humidity from the outdoors. Don’t overlook this. If your basement is exposed to aconstant source of moisture from outside your humidifier will have to work constantly.
That’s definitely a problem! This means your electric bill will be high and your dehumidifier’s life span will shorten. Not to mention how much water you’ll have to dump from the container if not using a water removal drain setup!
Set it right to protect your basement & air quality
Mold tends to be a problem at humidity levels above 60%. You’ll want to be sure to keep your basement dehumidifier at 60% or less at a minimum.
Ideally, however, the best setting is around 50% or so. Set yours to that and observe how long it runs before making an adjustment. If it runs continuously (never shuts off) or never seems able to reach the desired setting, it’s time to look further. There’s a good chance you have sources of additional air leakage which allow more moisture to enter your basement.
If additional outside air is allowed to enter your basement the dehumidifier will have to work much longer and much harder than it otherwise should. This also means your electric bill will rise, too!
Also, be aware of what’s happening with your dehumidifier during colder temperatures, as if the temperature drops below 65°F (18.3°C) it could potentially freeze up.
The good news is that once your dehumidifier has had some time to operate and the humidity level has come down, you’ll notice an improvement in the typical “musty” odor found in basements. Mold growth will also halt, although that’s not always visible readily.
You’ll notice that the air is better for breathing and you can put your basement space to better use afterward.
Home dehumidifier settings
Much like a dehumidifier you can use in your basement, they’re very helpful in your home’s living areas as well. They are extremely effective in high humidity areas and during humid seasons or environments. A dehumidifier can bring comfort back to your living spaces. They’re also especially great if you don’t have air conditioning but suffer from warm air with high humidity.
For your home’s living spaces, it’s not so much different from what you’d set a basement dehumidifier to, but there is alittle bit more to consider.
It’s notjust about comfort!
Unlike basements, bedrooms, living rooms, or any other area where humans and pets reside are prone to dust mite problems. Dust mites reproduce and thrive at humidity levels above 50% or so. They’re a major source of allergies and are an extremely common issue as they feed off of human & pet skin cells.
They’re found most commonly in fabrics & materials where humans and pets reside, like beds and couches.
Dust mites – sometimes called bed mites – are the most common cause of allergy from house dust. Dust mites live and multiply easily in warm, humid places. They prefer temperatures at or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of 75 to 80 percent. They die when the humidity falls below 50 percent.American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Knowing this, I recommend you keep your home’s dehumidifier at no higher than 50%.
Feel free to adjust it lower if needed. After all, your comfort is a personal preference. Just bear the guidelines in mind if you’re suffering from allergies or other respiratory problems.
Use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity in your home below 50%, making it a less suitable environment for dust mites.
The optimal range for a home dehumidifier is to use a setting between 30%-50%, based on your comfort. 45% is reported by many people as ideal.
Note: You can also use an air purifier alongside a dehumidifierto deal with dust mites, pet dander, or otherair quality problems. There’s no problem using them both together for healthy and fresh air.
Dehumidifier settings table
Here’s a simplified table containing the dehumidifier settings you should use:
|Basement||Set to 60% or below. 45-50% are good settings to use.||To control mold, keep below 60% humidity. Be sure to observe dehumidifier. If running continuously, check for air leakage allowing outside humidity to enter basement. Don’t use dehumidifier at low temperatures (ex.: winter)|
|Home/Living areas||Set to 30-60% for desired comfort range. 45% is a great target for most people.||Set dehumidifier to 50% and below to keep dust mites from thriving. Adjust to below 50% based on comfort level. use 45% as a general guide, as is suitable for many people. Reduce use in winter as humidity will drop with cold or when heat is in use.|
Is 60 humidity too high for a basement? ›
That air can make its way into your basement, increasing your humidity levels to around 60 percent. Because of this, homeowners must work to adjust those levels back to the ideal humidity level between 30 and 50 percent or risk mold, mildew and bacteria buildup.What percent humidity should a dehumidifier be? ›
Dehumidifiers have onboard humidistats that automatically maintain the humidity level you set. We suggest keeping your humidity level at 45-50%. You can adjust it slightly based on your comfort level, but keep in mind this is an ideal humidity level for healthy indoor air quality.Should a dehumidifier run constantly? ›
Should a Dehumidifier Run Constantly? No, your dehumidifier should not have to run constantly to regulate the air humidity. An optimal humidity level to shoot for is between 30 and 50 percent. Your dehumidifier should reach this in 8 to 12 hours.Is 70% humidity too high for House? ›
The Health and Safety Executive recommends that relative humidity indoors should be maintained at 40-70%, while other experts recommend that the range should be 30-60%. Most people find 30-60% most comfortable and this is the level that Airthings recommends.Will mold grow at 55 humidity? ›
If there are no cold-condensing surfaces and the relative humidity (RH) is maintained below 60 percent indoors, there will not be enough water in those materials for mold to grow. However, if the RH stays above 70 percent indoors for extended periods of time, mold will almost certainly grow.
Check to make sure that all windows and doors are closed. Make sure the unit has proper air flow and that no curtains, blinds, or furniture is blocking the front or back of the dehumidifier. If used in a laundry area, install the dehumidifier away from the moisture laden air generated by the dryer.Is 30% humidity too dry? ›
Let's talk about what humidity levels you should keep in your home year-round, and different techniques to do so. Ideal in-home humidity levels should hover around 45%. Anything under 30% is too dry, and over 50% is too high.Can you dehumidify too much? ›
Can you dehumidify too much? There is a chance of dehumidifying your home too much with a dehumidifier, especially if you are leaving your dehumidifier running for several hours on a timer unattended. Over-dehumidifying your home can lead to an increased chance of respiratory illnesses and dry and cracked skin.Is 70% humidity too high for basement? ›
A relative humidity level of 70 percent or higher creates the perfect breeding ground for mold growth. Leaving basement mold unchecked could amount to unhealthy indoor air, causing sickness to your family and aggravated upper respiratory issues. Also, home-destroying mold could also cause costly foundation damage.Is it OK to leave a dehumidifier on overnight? ›
Can I leave the dehumidifier running at night? Yes, we recommend using a dehumidifier 24hrs, however, be aware that there will always be a noise generated from the machine when it is operating.
How long does it take for a dehumidifier to dry out a room? ›
How long will it take to get the moisture under control? As long as the dehumidifier you choose is large enough for the area it is working in, and there are no specific damp problems, then a dehumidifier will normally reduce the humidity to the chosen level within a few days to a week.Where is the best place for a dehumidifier? ›
You want to place your machine in an area where there is good air circulation so the unit can efficiently work. We do not recommend placing a dehumidifier directly against a wall or piece of furniture. Instead, put it at least six inches away from these vent-blocking surfaces.Why is my house 90% humidity? ›
High humidity in a house can be caused by many things, but the biggest reason is poor ventilation—in other words, air isn't being circulated properly, which causes the air in your house to become stagnant and humid. The other major reason? Too much air exchange with the outside.How much does it cost to run a dehumidifier all day? ›
An example dehumidifier that can extract up to 20 litres a day, with a wattage of 480w would use 0.48 kWh, meaning that an hour's usage would cost just under 16p. In comparison, an example dehumidifier that can extract up to 12 litres a day, with a wattage of 157w (0.157 kWh) would cost just over 5p an hour.Is 55% humidity too high in house? ›
Comfortable levels of humidity range between 30% and 60%, however, the ideal humidity level, according to ASHRAE, is between 45% and 55%. Anything above 55% is considered to be high.What humidity kills mold? ›
To kill mold, you need to get the humidity below 50%, and around 35% is optimal. If it's a mold problem in your basement, having a contractor install vapor barriers around the outside of the foundation of the house is probably the best long-term option.What should I set my dehumidifier to prevent mold? ›
So, what is the best humidity setting for a dehumidifier? To prevent mold growth and keep your home's relative humidity at a comfortable level, we recommend aiming for 30%-50% humidity in your home.What temperature should a room be to avoid mold? ›
The World Health Organisation guidelines suggest 21 degrees in a living room and 18 degrees in the bedrooms, falling lower at night and when you are out.What should I set my dehumidifier at in summer? ›
The ideal relative humidity level in a home is between 30 and 50 percent. However, in the hotter summer months (and if you live in a more humid climate) you will want to aim for the 50 percent range to maintain a manageable energy bill.Why does my basement dehumidifier fill up so fast? ›
If your dehumidifier's water basin is filling up too quickly, you probably have extra water in the air due to an issue like a cracked pipe, water leak or open crawl space. If you're hardly getting any water in the basin, you may need to simply turn the control to a drier setting.
Does high humidity mean less moisture? ›
The higher the dew point rises, the greater the amount of moisture in the air. This directly affects how "comfortable" it will feel outside. Many times, relative humidity can be misleading.Is 40% humidity too low? ›
Every home is different, but a level between 30 and 40 per cent humidity is typically ideal for keeping your home warm and comfortable in the winter, without leaving condensation on the windows. In the summer, that level can be higher, between 50 and 60 per cent.Can low humidity make you sick? ›
Low humidity can cause dry skin, irritate your nasal passages and throat, and make your eyes itchy. High humidity can make your home feel stuffy and can cause condensation on walls, floors and other surfaces. Condensation can trigger the growth of harmful bacteria, dust mites and molds.Can dry air make you sick? ›
Breathing dry air can irritate respiratory ailments, and in some cases lead to asthma, bronchitis, the common cold, the flu and even nosebleeds. Because the majority of our breathing is done through our nose, cold, dry air can cause the inside of our nose to become dry and irritated.Will dehumidifier get rid of mold? ›
Mould will easily grow and spread if the right conditions are present. So, dehumidifiers don't kill mould, but they can help to prevent it from growing inside your home by reducing humidity.When should you not use a dehumidifier? ›
Most dehumidifiers should not be operated in temperatures below 60° F, since the moisture removed from the indoor air can freeze when it condenses on the cooling coils, which can damage the unit.What should you not do with a dehumidifier? ›
- Do not place your dehumidifier within six inches of any wall. This is to make sure the air intake and exhaust are not blocked.
- Turning the dehumidifier on and off too quickly. What do we mean by this? ...
- Forgetting to clean the air filter.
Set the humidity level.
The optimal relative humidity level is between 30 and 50 percent, according to Energy Star (and 30 to 40 percent in colder areas during heating season). If the humidity is higher than that, it can breed dust mites, mildew, and mold, and trigger allergies.
May said that, as a guide, it's best to use a dehumidifier when your basement feels humid or when you've spotted some of the signs outlined above. Running a dehumidifier for around 12 hours a day will enable you to manage indoor moisture while ensuring your energy costs aren't too high.Is 57% humidity too high in a house? ›
But what is high humidity? According to Energy Star, the ideal indoor relative humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent–anything higher than 50 percent is considered high. High humidity levels and excessive moisture can cause discomfort and health issues, and it can even wreak havoc on a home.
Can I run a dehumidifier with central air? ›
A dehumidifier and an air conditioner can be used simultaneously. You should use a dehumidifier with your air conditioner when your air conditioner by itself cannot adequately keep the humidity levels at a comfortable level.Can a dehumidifier make a room too dry? ›
Don't Drop Relative Humidity Too Low
If you run a dehumidifier all the time, you might actually make the room too dry.
Always remember to frequently monitor your dehumidifier during the winter period. In the case of dangerously low temperatures, or if humidity falls below 30 percent, make sure you turn off your device.How much water should a dehumidifier remove in a day? ›
Attention should be given to the placement of your unit. It should be positioned in proximity to a sump pump or drain and the hose should be placed outside of walkways to avoid a tripping hazard. Most dehumidifiers will remove between 30 and 70 pints of water per day.Can one dehumidifier do a whole house? ›
As the name implies, this can treat an entire house. They can be standalone in the basement, or they can be installed into your duct system. The Aprilaire 1850 Dehumidifier, for instance, can remove up to 11.9 gallons of water per day.Should I put my dehumidifier on the floor or up high? ›
Does a dehumidifier work better on the floor? As far as temperature and moisture content in the air goes, place the dehumidifier in the floor that is coldest (or filled with cold air), and the floor with the highest humidity content and moist air.Are dehumidifiers better in summer or winter? ›
For now, we leave you with this simple one: use a dehumidifier during the spring, summer and early fall to keep moisture at bay, but unplug and stow it away during the winter to prevent damage to your unit.Does a dehumidifier make a room hotter or colder? ›
Yes, dehumidifiers naturally create a small amount of heat as they operate. But most customers don't notice it for a few reasons: (1) it's a very slight increase and (2) since dehumidifiers remove moisture from rooms, they naturally make rooms feel cooler and more comfortable.Should you be in the same room as a dehumidifier? ›
Yes it is perfectly safe to sleep in the same room as a dehumidifier. If you are particularly interested in a dehumidifier for the bedroom the noise level will be particularly important to you.Is 50% humidity too high in a house? ›
The ideal relative humidity for health and comfort is somewhere between 30-50% humidity, according to the Mayo Clinic. This means that the air holds between 30-50% of the maximum amount of moisture it can contain.
Is 80% humidity very high? ›
Your home's humidity level may be too high. A home should have a relative humidity of 30% to 60%. Above 60% and you have what's considered “high” humidity.How do you tell if there is too much moisture in your home? ›
- Condensation on windows during the winter.
- Excessive mildew in the bathroom.
- Mold growing on interior surfaces (corner of a closet, kitchen or bathroom).
- Peeling, cracking or blistering paint on exterior or interior finishes.
- Excessive dust mite populations (a cause of dust allergies).
The water volume will vary depending on the humidity level and the capacity of the collection tank. On average, a home dehumidifier collects five gallons of water per day. When a dehumidifier fills up quickly, you may have excess humidity in your home or an issue with the dehumidifier itself.Will a dehumidifier lower my electric bill? ›
A dehumidifier will start to immediately reduce your utility bills once it comes on. Because your home will feel cooler with lower levels of moisture in the air, you will not need to run the air conditioner as often.Is home humidity 60% OK? ›
The Health and Safety Executive recommends that relative humidity indoors should be maintained at 40-70%, while other experts recommend that the range should be 30-60%. Most people find 30-60% most comfortable and this is the level that Airthings recommends.Is 58% high humidity for a house? ›
What is healthy humidity? It is recommended to keep indoor relative humidity between 30 and 50 per cent, if possible. People typically find a relative humidity between 30 to 60 per cent most comfortable.Why is my house at 70 humidity? ›
Why is my house humidity at 70%? A poor ventilation system may be to blame. Adequate ventilation can help control a home's humidity level, impacting health and a home's structural integrity. If there are high humidity levels in your home, poor ventilation can be to blame.How humid is too humid for basement? ›
Dehumidify your basement
Mold and mildew flourish when the relative humidity level is above 80%; therefore all basements—finished or unfinished—should be kept at or below 50% relative humidity. In order to maintain that humidity level, May suggests using a dehumidifier and measure the humidity level often.
A home should have a relative humidity of 30% to 60%. Above 60% and you have what's considered “high” humidity. Besides being less comfortable, high humidity causes a host of other problems in your home, including: Growth of fungus and mold in various parts of the home.Is 60% humidity OK? ›
Every home is different, but a level between 30 and 40 per cent humidity is typically ideal for keeping your home warm and comfortable in the winter, without leaving condensation on the windows. In the summer, that level can be higher, between 50 and 60 per cent.
What should a basement dehumidifier be set at? ›
A basement dehumidifier helps maintain an ideal indoor relative humidity (RH) level in the space. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that the indoor relative humidity be kept between 30-60% to help prevent mold growth.How long does it take for a dehumidifier to dry in the basement? ›
How long will it take to get the moisture under control? As long as the dehumidifier you choose is large enough for the area it is working in, and there are no specific damp problems, then a dehumidifier will normally reduce the humidity to the chosen level within a few days to a week.Where do you put a dehumidifier? ›
You want to place your machine in an area where there is good air circulation so the unit can efficiently work. We do not recommend placing a dehumidifier directly against a wall or piece of furniture. Instead, put it at least six inches away from these vent-blocking surfaces.What causes too much moisture in a house? ›
Excess moisture condenses on window glass because the glass is cold. Other sources of excess moisture besides overuse of a humidifier may be long showers, running water for other uses, boiling or steaming in cooking, plants, and drying clothes indoors.When should I turn off my basement dehumidifier? ›
When the temperature in the space where you run your dehumidifier starts getting down around 65° F, it's time to think of unplugging your unit and stowing it away for the winter. The lifetime of dehumidifiers usually ranges from five to 10 years.