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How to Increase the Humidity in Your Home and Save Energy

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Avoid dry and flaky skin by increasing the humidity in your home.

Low indoor humidity can lead to issues such as dry and flaky skin and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Although high humidity isn’t optimal either, it’s essential to create a balance.

If you’re wondering how to increase the humidity in your home, there are many ways to do so.

A popular option to increase humidity is by using a humidifier. However, there are many other inexpensive ways to bring some moisture back into the air naturally.


How to Increase the Humidity in Your Home

Increasing the humidity within your home is easy and can make an immense difference to your health. It’s important to keep the humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. As a result, you can live comfortably without the risk of mold or dampness creeping in on your house (1).

We’ve tested multiple popular ways to increase the humidity in your home, with and without the help of a humidifier.

Humidifier

Humidifier on table

A humidifier is one of the most effective ways to increase moisture in the home.  Humidifiers are simple devices that consist of a tank you fill with water. Depending on the type, it will create a cool or warm mist and emit tiny particles for you to inhale.

Humidifiers range in size but are relatively affordable, averaging around $40. Small humidifiers will be able to cover one room at a time. Larger models, on the other hand, can cover entire floors or houses.

Emptying and cleaning your humidifier regularly is essential as they’re prone to mold and other contaminants.

Hang Your Laundry Indoors

Laundry hanging to dry

If your skin is feeling a little flaky on a crisp winter morning, don’t put your newly washed clothes in the dryer. Hanging your laundry in the house slowly adds a small amount of moisture to the room as the water evaporates.

A major plus with this method is its affordability. Drying racks are inexpensive and save energy by not using the dryer.

Add Some Houseplants

Plant in house

Houseplants are excellent for increasing humidity levels and potentially purifying your air. Plants are effective natural humidifiers since they absorb moisture through the roots and circulate it through the stems to the leaves. As a result, moisture is released into the air.

Choose your plants carefully if you want to purify and humidify your air. NASA did a lengthy study on various plants that remove contaminants from the air, including VOCs and chlorine.

Spider plants and aloe vera are among some of the most effective air-purifying plants, according to NASA (2).

Cook Without Lids

Cooking in pot without a lid

Cooking creates a significant amount of moisture, especially boiling water which creates steam. As you’re cooking, try to avoid covering the pots if possible; this allows the steam to escape and enter the air. For this to work best, keep fans on a low setting to encourage good air circulation without removing the moisture.

You can also skip the microwave and reheat food on the stove to increase moisture levels.

Leave the Tub Full

Bathtub full of water

If you’re a frequent bather, take advantage of the full tub. Instead of draining the bath immediately afterward, leave the water to cool. As it cools, some water evaporates into the air, humidifying the room.

Warning About Bacteria

When leaving water in a tub after a bath, you risk spreading Legionella bacteria. Legionella grows in water systems and spreads through the air when droplets are evaporated. It can cause Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever (3).

You can also do this trick in the kitchen. If you often hand wash your dishes, leave the sink full until the water naturally cools. Similar to the bathtub, some moisture will evaporate into the air as it cools.

Danger

If you have young children in the house, never leave a full bath unattended.

Open Shower

Bathroom with shower door open

Do you ever notice how the bathroom fills with hot steam while you shower? This shouldn’t go to waste if the rest of your house is low in humidity. Make use of your daily hot shower and leave the door open. The hot steam will escape the bathroom and add moisture to the air.

If you prefer more privacy, leave the door open after your shower. As the steam builds up during your shower, it will escape when you’ve finished.

Water and Heat

A simple way to slowly add moisture to the air is strategically placing water bowls near heat sources. Many homes have HVAC registers on the floor, making it easy to place a metal or ceramic bowl on top. Avoid plastic bowls, though, as they can melt.

As the air gently warms the bowl and water, moisture evaporates into the air, humidifying your home. In addition, the bowls can be left for weeks at a time, depending on how much heat you’re blasting.

Take Note

This method might be tricky if you have pets or children who might knock the bowl over.

Add Some Flowers

Flowers on windowsill

Flowers add a nice touch to any room, and they can also add some moisture to the air. Place a few vases with flowers on your window sills and let the sun heat them during the day. Like the water bowls, the moisture will evaporate as it heats and humidifies the room.

Open the Dishwasher

Open dishwasher

Dishwashers use a significant amount of energy in the drying cycle. Luckily, you can save some energy while humidifying your house.

Before the last drying cycle, open the dishwasher door and allow the dishes to air dry. You’ll notice a significant amount of hot steam leaving the appliance as you open the door; this will humidify the air.

Indoor Fountain

Indoor water feature

If daily life has left you feeling stressed, an indoor fountain can help you in several ways. Indoor fountains come in many designs and sizes, so it’s easy to find one that suits your style.

Place the fountain in a room that needs to be humidified. It will be even more effective if placed near a heat source or sunlight. As the water circulates the fountain, some of it will evaporate into the air.

Legionella Risk

Indoor fountains can also spread Legionella bacteria.

What Is Considered a Low Humidity Level?

Indoor humidity plays an important role in our well-being. Too low moisture results in dry skin and congestion, whereas high humidity can result in mold and allergens. Low humidity is generally measured under 35 percent.


Improving the Atmosphere

Low humidity can cause several health issues for you and your family. You might feel congested, experience itchy and red eyes, dry mouth and throat, as well as irritated and itchy skin.

Happily, there are many effective ways to slowly increase the humidity within your home. These tips are sure to make you more comfortable.

The most effective method is using a humidifier. However, these can sometimes do more harm than good. If not cleaned properly, it could spread mold and other contaminants through your air.

Simple changes such as drying clothes indoors and showering with an open door can also humidify your house quickly.

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About the Author

Matthew Sullivan

Matthew is a freelance writer with several years of experience in DIY and HVAC. For as long as he can remember, Matthew has always found great pleasure in taking things apart and learning how to put them back together.