# Your Home

How To Increase Humidity Levels At Home

We all know humidity is important to your health, but did you know it’s as important for your home? Check out these tips and tricks for increasing humidity levels so you can live comfortably this winter.

We all know that the colder the temperature gets, the lower the humidity level dips. Low humidity levels not only make your home feel colder and your skin feel dry, it can also cause cracks in your moulding, furniture, and flooring. How do you fix this? Well, increasing the humidity level to a comfortable 40-45% doesn’t have just one solution; it usually involves several steps.

Based on our experience at Setter, we suggest trying some easy no- and low-cost solutions before you invest in more expensive options, but it really depends on how much you are willing to do on a daily basis and what your budget is.

Keep in mind: The colder the temperatures, the lower the natural humidity will be. Watch out for condensation on your windows as you don't want any mould in your home due to too much humidity. If condensation and frost start building up, you need to decrease the humidity level in your home. Also make sure to keep fresh airflow going, especially if you have a well insulated home, e.g. by opening a window or door once a day for a few minutes.

1. Check your filters

If you have a forced-air furnace, replace your filter regularly to ensure maximum airflow. If you have a flow-through humidifier attached to the side of your furnace, make sure to change the evaporator pad at least once a year. The flowing water results in calcium build-up, which decreases your humidifier’s effectiveness over time. (Here’s how to do it and where to buy replacement pads). Some steam humidifiers have filters too, so be sure to check if you need to replace that as well.

2. Improve your insulation

Low humidity in your home is directly correlated to the humidity levels outside. If there is no human intervention, your humidity levels inside naturally become the same as that outside.

  • No-cost solutions: Minimize the amount of times you open your doors and windows (no windows open overnight!).
  • Low-cost solutions: Weatherstrip your exterior doors and windows to prevent drafts. Also consider re-caulking your windows if the caulking between your window frame and exterior wall is cracked. You want to seal as much off as possible.
  • High-cost solutions: Take insulation one step further by installing better insulated windows and insulating your attic. If you live in one of the typical old Toronto brick houses, we recommend having the space between your exterior brick wall and the interior brick wall spray-foamed. Better insulation will also keep your house cooler in the summer. So, if you are thinking about investing in insulation, we suggest having a professional energy audit completed. This will inform you which areas of your home have the highest insulation potential.

3. Try natural humidity enhancers

We wouldn’t recommend the below solutions during the summer when high-levels of humidity can cause mould. But when it’s winter and every little bit of humidity helps, consider incorporating the following habits into your daily routine:

  • No-cost solutions:

    • Let wet clothing air dry.
    • Open your dishwasher during the drying cycle.
    • Leave your bathroom door open while taking a shower.
    • Leave your lid off when boiling a pot of water.
    • If you have radiator heat, put wet towels on the radiator.
  • Low-cost solutions:

    • Get plants that naturally help with humidity levels and with good air quality.

4. Use artificial humidity enhancers

Fun fact: if you have forced-air heating, turning up the heat a couple of degrees can actually have a negative effect. When it’s dry, the higher the temperature rises, the faster the humidity level drops. Combat this with some extra help from a humidifier.

  • Low-cost solution: Get a room humidifier - prices range between $50 and $150.
  • High-cost solution: Get a steam humidifier as they are typically more effective than flow-through humidifiers. Be aware that hard water can lead to your filters clogging, however. If you notice your humidifier filter getting clogged up by calcium build-up, we recommend investing a humidifier without a filter (for example, Thermolec steam humidifiers do not have filters).

Your Setter Home Manager is always there for you. If you have questions or are looking for help to improve the humidity levels in your home, just reach out to us through our app. We’d gladly help you out with the following:

  • Home consultation to walk through your house and discuss your options.
  • Replacing furnace filters and humidifier evaporator pads.
  • Checking on insulation, replacing old weather stripping, recaulking windows, and sealing any drafty holes.
  • Installing or replacing humidifiers.