Often people want to reduce humidity in a particular room in the house for example reducing humidity in the kitchen or reducing humidity in the bathroom. However, in this guide we will look at a number of best methods to achieve this, whatever the room in the house.
Some of the methods we will explain will help to lower humidity in house fast whereas others are more gradual. this will include ways to reduce humidity in a room naturally with or without a dehumidifier being used or installed permanently.
Why Reduce Humidity in Houses?
Many people want to reduce humidity in their house and the reasons for this will vary depending on the issue they have and, for example, what time of year it is. Reducing humidity in summer he’s likely to be for an entirely different reason in comparison to reducing humidity in winter in the UK.
Reducing humidity in summer months of the year is quite often for comfort reasons whereas in winter, it is generally to help reduce condensation, damp and mould issues.
As local experts in damp and mould we understand very well (a) the reasons people want to do this and (b) the best methods to achieve these results. Remembering that each property will vary, as we will explain further in this guide – quickly and simply. We offer remote monitoring that can track humidity in houses too.
How to Measure Humidity
There are number of ways to measure humidity but the two most common are through use of a domestic hygrometer (often in conjunction with a thermometer) such as the example shown below, or through use of a damp / moisture meter, including professional devices.
Humidity, or relative humidity to give its official name, is basically a measurement of moisture contained within the air. Or to give a more technical definition – “the amount of water vapour in the air, expressed as a percentage, relative to what that air is capable of holding at a specified temperature”.
You can deduce and infer from that definition that temperature influences relative humidity. Specifically, as temperature rises relative humidity falls. This is because warm air is capable of holding more moisture, which is a fact that people are often surprised by.
On the topic of air, we discuss air quality in our guide explaining what an air quality meter is.
Now let’s look at the best ways to reduce humidity in your house, step by step.
1. Prevent or Control Humidity Sources
As we regularly say, prevention is better than cure. so our number one way to reduce humidity in your house is to control the sources of moisture that are contributing to that elevated humidity, often as steam.
Specific things that might increase humidity in your house could include:
- Water leaks in your home
- Cooking and boiling water (kitchen)
- Showering and bathing (bathroom)
- People, plants and animals
- Not mopping up excess condensation
- Drying clothes / doing laundry
Regarding condensation, you will find our article to explain what is condensation very useful. Plus, the last one on our list about drying clothes on radiators or clothes rail dryers in properties is so important that we’ve dedicated a separate tip for that, which we will explain now.
2. Drying Clothes and Lowering Humidity
One of the things that can greatly increase humidity in houses is drying of wet clothes within the property when doing your laundry. This is especially the case in houses with multiple occupants, who do multiple loads of washing on drying on a regular basis.
Just to be clear, in this particular example we are not referring to people using vented tumble dryers or condenser tumble dryers to dry clothing as they either collect or extract the moisture. We are referring to drying off clothes within the property on clothes horses, drying rails and over radiators etc. Doing this can greatly contribute to elevated humidity and is especially a problem in winter months as this can contribute to dampen mould issues if not managed correctly.
To help highlight this, we did an experiment where we took two loads of washing and measured the amount of water removed in a condenser tumble dryer. the results were very interesting.
As you can see, during the first load of mixed items 1.3 litres of water was removed and in the second ‘whites load’ (including towels) 1.6 litres of water was removed, which is even more. If this had been dried openly in the property, especially with inadequate ventilation, then that moisture will have gone into the air and increased humidity. Not good when you are trying to reduce humidity.
On the topic of washing machines, see our article explaining many of the main reasons why you might have a washing machine leaking underneath.
So we have discussed about how to prevent increases in humidity, and therefore reduce humidity, but now let’s look at ways to tackle situations where humidity already exists.
3. Mechanical Ventilation – Extractor Fans
When you think about the most common locations for extractor fans in properties, typically these will be in bathrooms and kitchens. this is unsurprising given our earlier comments about how those two rooms in the house and the activities that happen within them can contribute to additional moisture and humidity in homes.
Adequate, well maintained extractor fans with sufficient capacity are an excellent way of removing steam from cooking and bathing. This can include such things as:
- Extractor fans in bathroom
- Extractor hoods in kitchen
- Whole home extractors
- HVAC / Air Management Systems
- Dehumidifier based ventilation systems
- Positive Input Ventilation Units (PIV Units)
On the subject of bathrooms, that is a common place we find leaks, as we explain in our guide to bathroom leaks, which you may find interesting and useful.
It is worth mentioning a few things to ensure that these systems are working effectively to reduce humidity in houses. Firstly, make sure the specification or rating of them is adequate for the size of room they are operating in. For example, it is often recommended that bathroom extractor fans are capable of doing 10 exchanges of air per hour. In other words, a room which is 10 metres cubed should have a fun capable of doing 100 metres cubed in volume per hour.
There are a few other tips to help extractor fans and cooker hoods work efficiently and effectively:
- Keep them clean and regularly replace filters according to manufacturer recommendations
- Keep them running long enough (why bathroom fans keep going after the light is turned off)
- Keep doors closed in the room they are operating in, to stop spread of moisture to other rooms
- Replace old, broken or inadequate systems with more modern effective ones
Certainly consider getting help from an electrician or HVAC engineer to help with these.
Let’s now look at how natural ventilation can help to reduce humidity.
4. Natural Ventilation to Reduce Humidity
We’ve covered mechanical ventilation but natural ventilation can be very beneficial to reduce humidity in houses in the UK. Interestingly, in case you were not aware, very like temperature and air pressure, relative humidity will equalise out across places if unobstructed to do so.
That means that, if for example you have high humidity in your bathroom after a bath or shower and you open the window fully or partially (assuming the humidity is lower outside) then the humidity will lower in the bathroom and help prevent it spread to other rooms when you open the door, so watch out for that.
This issue is further highlighted by ensuite bathrooms (which don’t always have great natural ventilation – or windows at all sometimes!) sometimes. This can lead to moisture migrating into adjoining bedrooms and causing mould in that bedroom.
This is one of the reasons why modern, well sealed windows have trickle vents on them too to provide regular controlled ventilation without necessarily having to open the window. There are other forms of natural ventilation in many properties including air bricks.
Clearly, natural ventilation can be an issue in winter as you will likely not want to let the cold air in to your property so consider other options too, or just do it for a short period if possible.
Regarding temperature, on to our next suggested tip to help you.
5. Heating and Insulation to Reduce Humidity
We explained earlier how warmer air holds more moisture so, if you can keep your property warmer in winter, the air within it will have a greater capacity to hold moisture in the form of water vapour. Plus, it will help to prevent condensation, as we explained further in our recent article about condensation and damp.
In that article we explained about dew point calculations, which is the temperature at which the air is cooled down so as to force the air to become saturated. This cooling can be from cold air or warmer air hitting / encountering colder surfaces. That in a nutshell is how condensation is formed.
So warmer air will help with this directly and indirectly as warmer air will warm surfaces around to, helping to prevent condensation. Plus, a property which is insulated well will help maintain this ambient heat and hopefully have fewer cold spots on walls and ceilings especially. We frequently see cold spots a lot when doing thermal imaging leak detection as part of our services. This can cause mould in houses, including mould on walls in turn.
6. Dehumidifiers to Reduce Humidity
Clearly, dehumidifiers can help reduce humidity (its where the name comes from!) and remove moisture from the air. They are generally one of two types, desiccant dehumidifiers or refrigerant dehumidifiers. And in turn, these usually collect or drain the water they gather out of the property.
As a professional water damage management and flood damage company, we use industrial dehumidifiers to help remove moisture from properties across the local region around York and Yorkshire areas, including when doing specialist pressure drying, that have suffered a water leak or flooding and they are very effective. You can get domestic dehumidifiers, that generally are a smaller capacity or lower power also.
That said, dehumidifiers can be relatively costly to run if you leave them on for long periods of time, plus a decent one may cost a few hundred pounds and may not be needed all year round, you may need more than one too. Don’t get us wrong, in the right situation, dehumidifiers are highly effective but they may not be required, especially if you follow other advice on this list of useful tips also.
On that, our final tip to help reduce humidity in rooms in your house.
6. Moisture Survey to Help Reduce Humidity
As we said earlier, there can be a wide number of factors that contribute to higher humidity in homes and businesses in the UK and many things can affect this, including:
- The age of the property
- The condition of the property
- Structural issues with the property
- The layout of the property
- The number of occupants
- Natural and mechanical ventilation
- Including if and when they are used
- The internal ‘lifestyle’ factors
- Other potential factors like water leaks
- Many other factors
Even one of the things on this list may have other factors or vary by room in the house. So, if this is something you think you might need help with, we offer a wide variety of property inspection services which will look at why humidity is high in your house and, importantly, how to reduce humidity in a variety of situations.
We tailor this service to all the factors mentioned previously and make recommendations accordingly. If you would like to find out more about this service, and associated services such as mould inspections and mould remediation, contact our local friendly team for help and they will be glad to assist.
On many occasions, we make recommendations or spot things you may have missed that can make a big difference. This can potentially save you spending money on something you may not actually require. For example, if you did have a water leak in your home, then ventilation, heating or dehumidification will not effectively solve the issue directly. To use an analogy, it’s like letting the plug out to empty a bath when the tap is still running.
We hope you found our guide to reducing humidity beneficial, feel free to contact us for help at any time and we can explain the process involved in this or any of our other services.
At Rainbow Restoration – York & Yorkshire Coast we are experts in Fire and Flood restoration and in Leak Detection and also Water Damage Restoration, so if you need help getting your residential landlords association property back to normal after an incident, get in touch with our friendly local team who will be happy to help you with this. We are based in York and help find water leaks in York.
Can I reduce humidity in my room naturally?
Yes, natural ventilation can play a significant part in helping to reduce humidity in rooms. This can include having windows opened, ventilated (full or even partial), including with trickle vents on windows. However, relying on this alone might not solve all your issues. Having this supported by other aids, such as mechanical ventilation will help to deliver better results, especially in rooms with higher levels of moisture present – in particular kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms.
How do I reduce humidity in the UK?
There are a number of things that can help reduce humidity in the UK and these work best in conjunction with each other for best results. This includes controlling and reducing the moisture sources (especially from bathing, laundry and cooking), having adequate ventilation from both natural and mechanical (e.g. extractor fans and cooker hoods). Finally, having your home well insulated heated can help, especially in winter as warmer air holds more moisture, reducing relative humidity.
What humidity is too high in a house?
To a certain extent, deciding what humidity is too in in a house in can come down to personal preference and vary by season, with summer being different to winter. However, ideal levels of relative humidity are generally considered to be between 30% and 60%, with a good mid point being between 40% and 50%. Low humidity can bring challenges, but higher humidity can too (especially in winter). Above all, try to keep humidity below 70% as that is when mould grown can become an issue.