How Do I Know if I Need a Dehumidifier or a Humidifier? | What’s the Right Humidity for My Home?

Dehumidifier or a Humidifier

Knowing if you need a dehumidifier or a humidifier is a lot more straightforward than you might be thinking!

The answer can be as simple as answering the following questions: Does the air in your home feel wet or muggy? Do you get a lot of condensation on your windows in the winter? Does your home smell mildew-y?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then odds are that you need a dehumidifier and you might need it real bad! It may be wise to pick one up as soon as you can. What is the right humidity for my home?

Figuring out if you need a humidifier is a little bit harder, but odds are that you could make great use of one if you had one. Why? well, humidifiers can be amazing when you are suffering from a head cold. Head colds are miserable and humidifiers can help to get you breathing again.

But, if you’re not worried about any head colds, then humidifiers can still be of use to you, depending on how you answer the following questions. Do you wake up with bloody noses? Do your lips chap a lot when you’re at home? Does your skin dry out?

Again, if you answered yes to any of these, we’ve got good news for you. Humidifiers can help you!

What do Dehumidifiers Do?

Dehumidifiers pull moisture out of the air. Moisture in your air is called humidity and a dehumidifier lessens the amount of humidity.

Dehumidifiers work in several different ways but the end result is the same, they dry out the air. If you’re wondering where that moisture goes, it is deposited in a little basin that you will have to empty out every now and then. Some dehumidifiers have hoses you can use as well to remove the moisture.

What do Humidifiers Do?

Humidifiers do the exact opposite thing that dehumidifiers do. Rather than remove moisture, humidifiers add it to your air!

Like dehumidifiers, humidifiers work in quite a few ways including heat and ultrasonic (which are two of the common ways these work). These units pull water out of a basin that you fill up and they gently add it to the air you’re breathing. Before you worry, these machines aren’t spritzing water all over the place. They usually just put out a little plume of vapor that looks a bit like fog or smoke.

How Can I Be Sure if I Need a Dehumidifier or a Humidifier?

Yes, we know that the telltale signs that you might need a humidifier or dehumidifier may not seem scientific enough for some of you. A lot of it seems like it’s up for interpretation, we get that.

So, what’s the scientific way to know for sure?

Right Humidity for My Home

Well, the answer is surprisingly simple, you get a little gadget called a “humidity sensor” that can check your home’s humidity!

These units give you a cut-and-dry look at what your home’s exact humidity level is. You can’t get too much more scientific than that!

The humidity sensor that we’ve got the picture of here is one of the cheapest ones on the market, so there’s no harm in picking this thing up before you make your bigger purchase in a costlier humidifier or dehumidifier. If you’re ready to pick it up, then check it out here!

If you’re opting to use a humidity sensor to be certain if you need a humidifier, dehumidifier, or nothing at all, then we recommend bookmarking our page so you can come back to it when your new sensor arrives! Once you get it, you can closely follow the steps we lay out right below here.

How to Use a Humidity Sensor to Know if You Need a Dehumidifier or a Humidifier

Alright, so you’ve got a humidity sensor, now what?

Well, now you turn it on and you test the air in your home, preferably in a few different rooms. Set the sensor down and leave it alone for a few minutes so it can get an accurate reading. Find the room or rooms in your house with the lowest and highest humidity in your home. Write them all down.

Looking at the numbers that you wrote down, now you should check to see if any of these values are either above 50% or below 30%. If the number is above 50 (or 55, if you want to push it), then you need a dehumidifier. If the number is below 30, then you’ll need a humidifier.

If your home’s air is way above or way below these numbers and that’s the case across the board, then you might want to purchase a couple of humidifiers or dehumidifiers, depending on where you land. People who live in the desert are more apt to need a couple of humidifiers while people in moist environments may benefit from owning a few dehumidifiers.

Now, here’s something really interesting about humidity and how it affects your home: the season you’re in can change the humidity in your home!

Winter is usually drier and the rest of the year is usually wetter, when it comes to the humidity in the air. With that said, we recommend checking the humidity in your home in another season, especially if you picked up a humidity sensor and didn’t see that you were in dire need of a dehumidifier or humidifier.

Here’s a humidifier that you can pick up for relatively cheap.

Order it from Amazon here.

And here’s a dehumidifier that you can score on a budget as well!

Order it on Amazon here.

What’s the Point of a Dehumidifier or Humidifier?

Dehumidifiers and humidifiers can help with your health and at protecting your home. People with asthma and allergies can benefit greatly from these machines as well.

The EPA recommends that your home’s humidity remain between 30 and 50 percent for health reasons. Humidity levels that are lower and higher than that can increase the risk of asthma flare ups, make you feel sick, sweaty, give you nose bleeds, and so much more.

On top of that, high humidity can encourage rot, mold, and mildew which is both dangerous to our health and can damage your home–sometimes irreversibly. Conversely, low humidity can also damage your home if the air is too dry. What is the right humidity for my home? Low humidity is bad for wood and, if you’re like 99.9% of people on earth, your home has at least a little wood in it (or it’s made out of that)!

All in all, the way to be sure if you need a humidifier or a dehumidifier is a lot more straightforward than you’d think! We hope this article helped answer any questions that you had. If you’ve still got any questions, drop them below in our comment section and we’ll answer you ourselves!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does the EPA Recommend for My Home’s Humidity?

The EPA recommends that you keep your home’s humidity between 30 and 50 percent. A lot of people fudge these numbers a bit, but the EPA had some specific reasons for the range the recommended.

What’s a Humidity Sensor?

A humidity sensor is a sensor that will check your home’s humidity. A lot of these units will also give you temperature readouts and other things as well. These units are ideal if you want to know the exact humidity level that you’re living in.

What’s Humidity?

Humidity is the level of moisture in the air around you. When something is “muggy” there’s high humidity. When the air feels arid, there’s low humidity. What is the right humidity for my home?

Jonathon Silva

Jonathan Silva is our longtime Air Purifier Essentials author. He has been writing on air purification technologies for his entire professional career.

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