Warmer air is able to hold a higher concentration of moisture compared to colder air. During winter or cold seasons, there is an absence of warmer air outdoors which leads to low levels of humidity. However, during winter, a number of factors, including limited ventilation, condensation, and external moisture sources, can cause indoor humidity levels to rise.
In this blog post, we discuss the causes of high humidity in homes and how you can manage it for better indoor air quality during the winter months.
What causes high humidity in your home during winter?
High humidity in your home during winter is caused by multiple factors such as limited ventilation, condensation, indoor activities, drying clothes indoors, external moisture sources, the presence of indoor plants and the use of humidifiers, among other reasons.
Below is a breakdown of how these issues cause higher levels of indoor humidity.
Most people tend to keep their windows closed during winter to help retain warmth. Although it helps in creating a comfortable indoor environment by raising the temperature, it ultimately prevents fresh air from entering and allows moisture to accumulate from various sources like cooking, showering and even breathing.
During winter, a lot of indoor surfaces become cold, but when warm air comes into contact with these surfaces, it cools down and releases moisture in the form of condensation. This can lead to higher humidity levels.
Everyday activities such as cooking, showering and exercise lead to moisture release. If ventilation in your home is poor, the moisture released from these daily indoor activities can be trapped within your home, which will contribute to higher humidity levels.
Drying clothes indoors
During winter, many people may choose to dry their clothes indoors rather than outdoors due to the lack of sunlight and potential damage from harsh winter weather. However, drying clothes indoors tend to release a lot more moisture into the air, which undoubtedly contributes to higher indoor humidity levels. This is especially true when ventilation in the drying area is poor.
Drying clothes indoors is an external moisture source that leads to higher humidity levels. Other sources of moisture that you may not notice would be the presence of wet shoes, damp towels, wet umbrellas and also water leaks.
Although indoor plants are known to be natural air purifiers as they enhance air quality, they also release moisture into the air through a process called transpiration. In fact, more than 90% of the water that a plant absorbs is released during the transpiration process. Having multiple indoor plants in an enclosed space can undoubtedly lead to higher indoor humidity levels.
As the name suggests, humidifiers are used to create more humidity by adding more moisture to the indoor air. Excessive use or improper settings of your humidifier can, however, lead to overly humid conditions.
How to control indoor humidity during winter
Controlling indoor humidity during winter can be achieved through a number of different steps, including increasing ventilation and, most efficiently, through the use of a dehumidifier, especially in areas that are prone to high levels of humidity.
However, other ways you can reduce humidity in your home can be through sealing leaks, limiting indoor activities that release excess moisture and reducing or eliminating houseplants or placing them in more ventilated areas of your home.
By occasionally opening up windows or doors in your home during winter, you will reduce indoor humidity by allowing moist air to escape and bring in drier outdoor air. This helps balance humidity levels in your home and prevent excess moisture buildup. Another way to regulate ventilation is through the use of HVAC systems.
Using a dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers draw in ambient air and help remove excess moisture from it through a dehumidification process either by using desiccant or compressor technology. Once the ambient air is processed, the dehumidifier will collect the extracted moisture and release dryer air back into your living space.
The Ionmax Vienne desiccant dehumidifier is ideal for reducing humidity levels across spaces of up to 42 square metres, eliminating up to 10 litres of moisture a day.
Eliminating external sources of moisture
Sources of moisture like wet clothes, umbrellas, damp towels and water leaks should be placed outdoors or in areas with better ventilation to avoid them from releasing unwanted moisture into the air and damaging your indoor air quality.
Limiting indoor activities that produce excess moisture
During winter, limiting activities like boiling large amounts of water, exercising at home, drying clothes indoors or taking long hot showers can help reduce the amount of moisture that is emitted into your home. However, if these cannot be avoided, ensure proper ventilation to help regulate indoor humidity levels.
Although houseplants carry a host of benefits, they contribute to excess moisture in the air, especially during winter months when the air is already cooler and more prone to condensation. By reducing the number of houseplants or placing them in rooms with good ventilation, you can help prevent indoor humidity from rising to undesirable levels.
From the discussion above, we can see that indoor humidity levels are more prone to rise to undesirable levels during the winter time. This is partly due to the fact that most houses are sealed to promote heat retention and keep us warm during the winter.
Although this helps provide us with a comforting warmth, it can raise the relative humidity to undesirable levels that could potentially create environments that are conducive to the growth of mould and other allergens.
Among the most effective ways to keep humidity levels in check is through the use of a dehumidifier. Ionmax dehumidifiers like the Ionmax Vienne utilise self-regenerating desiccant technology that processes ambient air, extracting excess moisture from the air and releasing dryer air into your living space for healthier indoor air quality.
Browse through Ionmax’s wide range of dehumidifiers to find the right unit that suits your needs today.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general reference only. Please seek advice from professionals according to your needs.