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What Should My Furnace Humidifier Be Set at in the Winter?

Posted on: January 3, 2018

In the winter, dry indoor air can cause serious discomfort for your family. From increased respiratory discomfort to dry skin and eyes, your body suffers when the air is too dry. A humidifier is a great tool to help improve your indoor air quality so you can enjoy a better quality of life. Yet too much humidity is also a problem and has the potential to increase mold production in your home. The right settings will ensure your humidity level is exactly where it should be, offering safe, comfortable air for your home.

Understanding Relative Humidity

Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor the air inside your home holds. It’s measured in percents and indicates the percent of humidity in the air compared to the amount it can hold before the water is forced to condense. So, a relative humidity level of 50 percent means that the air holds 1/2 the amount of water it can.

Relative humidity changes with the temperature of the air. Warmer air can hold more water than cooler air. Because the cooler outdoor air in winter is less humid than the warm outside air in summer, indoor humidity levels drop with a drop in outdoor temperatures.

Setting the Indoor Humidity

Your humidifier that’s attached to your furnace or HVAC system is set based on relative humidity. A comfortable relative humidity for most homes throughout the summer, spring, and fall is between 30 percent and 50 percent. If you set your humidifier to this level, it should be comfortable for your home and family most of the year.

However, when temperatures drop significantly in winter, you may need to re-adjust this. A humidity level around 50 percent will cause damaging condensation on your home’s window sills and walls. When the temperature is between 0 and 10 degrees, you will be better served with a humidity level of 25 percent. At between 10 and 20 degrees outdoor temperature, change the setting to 20 percent.

Of course, tracking outdoor temperatures is a bit of a bother. If you’d rather not, set your humidifier to between 30 percent and 50 percent, then lower the humidity if you start to notice window condensation.

Trust James A. Wheat & Sons for Humidifier Services in Maryland and Washington, DC

If you have a question about the best setting for your humidifier, the team at James A. Wheat & Sons can help. Our home comfort experts can help you determine the best possible setting for your humidifier to enjoy comfortable humidity levels all winter long. If you have further questions about optimizing your use of your humidifier, or want help installing a humidifier to reduce the problems your family suffers from dry air, give us a call at 240-399-5051. You can also contact us online to learn more about our home comfort services.