Balancing Humidity in New Construction

Please be aware newer homes in high-humidity areas are especially susceptible to excess interior moisture. Because they’re so tightly built, air leaks are rare; however, that efficiency can cause humidity buildup.

How to check your household humidity

A simple instrument called a hygrometer measures the amount of water in the air in terms of relative humidity. Choose from mechanical hygrometers ($5-$35) or electronic types ($8-$25). Locate your hydrometer in a living area away from the moisture produced by the kitchen or a bathroom.

For maximum heating effectiveness and comfort, humidity levels should be between 25% and 50%. Anything under 20% or over 55% will be uncomfortable and potentially damaging to your home.

Signs of high humidity in your house:

  • >Condensation on the inside of windows
  • Mold on walls and ceilings
  • Insect infestations
  • Musty smells
  • Allergic reactions
  • Clammy feeling

Dealing with too much humidity

Part of living in the Midwest is dealing with humid summers. Running your AC can help keep humidity under control by removing excess water as it cools the air. However, homes with basements may encounter high humidity problems year-around. To reduce high levels:

  • Run AC
  • Be mindful of indoor vs. outdoor temperatures
  • Use bathroom and kitchen ventilation
  • Buy a portable dehumidifier. Cost: $150 – $350.