Humidity Control in Winter: Balancing Comfort and Indoor Air Quality in Jacksonville, FL - Weather Engineers Inc

Humidity Control in Winter: Balancing Comfort and Indoor Air Quality in Jacksonville, FL

indoor humidity winter

Have you noticed water condensing against your windows? Maybe you’ve spotted more mold than usual in the shower? If you’re experiencing indoor humidity in winter, it could compromise your health.

Indoor relative humidity should stay between 30 and 50%, regardless of the season. Not sure how to reduce home moisture? Read on to learn how to balance comfort and indoor air quality today!

Humidity in Home Environments

Indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. You could unintentionally trap pollutants in your home, including:

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Particulate matter
  • Dust
  • Mold

Learning how to reduce home moisture can reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth. Improving the air you breathe within your own home can benefit your health and comfort.

Here are a few ways you can improve your home’s air quality.

Space Heaters

Natural gas or kerosene space heaters can cause sickness and even death. Each time you burn something, it creates combustion by-products. These include carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.

These toxic gases can cause:

  • Lung irritation
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

At high levels, breathing in these gases can become toxic. Make sure your fuel-burning heaters are vented to the outside. Otherwise, these heaters can pose a fire risk.

Instead, use electric space heaters. If you lose power to your home, use a generator.

If you have an unvented gas heater or portable kerosene heater, have it inspected and serviced every year. Make sure to install a carbon monoxide detector and fire alarm.

Wood-Burning Stoves/Fireplaces

While cozying up next to a warm, crackling fire is a comfort during the winter, it can pollute your indoor air. Emissions from wood smoke contain pollutants like:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Particulate matter
  • Volatile organic compounds

You could experience asthma attacks, wheezing, coughing, heart attacks, or premature death. Improper installation, maintenance, and usage can cause ventilation issues.

Try to avoid using wood-burning stoves and fireplaces in your home. Make sure they’re properly vented. Have your units serviced annually.

Only use seasoned firewood and newspaper or dry kindling. If you have an older stove, replace it with an EPA-certified stove that’s verified to emit minimal particulate matter.


VOCs vaporize at room temperature. They can lead to serious health issues, including cancer.

The concentration of VOCs is elevated because we don’t open our doors and windows as often. Levels can get worse if you use:

  • Candles
  • Wood-burning fireplaces
  • Certain cleaning products

You may experience nose, throat, and eye irritation or difficulty breathing. Some VOCs can cause cancer or damage the central nervous system and other organs.

Reduce the amount of VOCs in your home. Opt for safer, less toxic cleaning and personal care items. Increase ventilation in your home by opening your windows.

Moisture and Mold

When there’s too little moisture in your home, you could experience dry skin, dry eyes, and irritation. Too much moisture can cause dust mites, mold, and other biological pollutants to grow.

Bathing, cooking, and other activities can cause excess moisture. When it accumulates, mold grows. Breathing in mold can cause asthma symptoms and allergic reactions.

Maintain a winter humidity level between 30 and 50%. This will prevent mold and mildew growth while keeping your home comfortable.

Wipe down condensation that builds on your windows. Address any leaks immediately.

Run your bathroom exhaust fan 30 minutes after bathing. Use your exhaust fan when cooking on the stove. If the humidity in home reaches above 50%, increase your air circulation.

Humidity Control Tips

The easiest way to measure humidity in a home is with a hygrometer. This device will monitor your home’s indoor temperature and humidity.

Determine if your home’s humidity levels are too high or too low. Here are some tips for improving humidity levels to ensure your comfort.

To Increase Humidity

If your humidity levels are below 30%, consider boiling a pot of water on your stove. The steam produced will increase your home’s humidity. Add a few herbs or spices to infuse your home with a pleasant aroma.

Take advantage of the steam that comes from your shower. The next time hot water is running, open the bathroom door. The shower will help steam distribute throughout your home.

Leave the bathroom door open for a while. Steam will circulate to adjacent rooms.

You can add more moisture to the air by purchasing indoor plants. Many plants naturally release moisture into the air through transpiration. Place plants in rooms where humidity levels are too low.

Otherwise, purchase a humidifier. Portal humidifiers can increase moisture in the air. Place them in the rooms you spent the most time in.

If these tips aren’t working to increase home moisture, talk to your local HVAC contractor. They can assess your HVAC unit to ensure it’s working properly.

Try to limit how often you use space heaters. They can excessively dry the air out. Instead, wear warm clothing and use a lower temperature setting to reduce the need for high heat.

To Decrease Humidity

If you need to decrease humidity levels in your home, purchase a dehumidifier. These devices remove excess moisture from the air. They can prevent humidity-related problems like mold growth.

Add a dehumidifier to the more humid rooms in your home. For example, your basement or bathrooms.

You can reduce home moisture by improving the ventilation throughout your home. Ensure all high-humidity areas (like the kitchens and bathrooms) are well-ventilated.

When cooking or taking a shower, use exhaust fans. Consider opening your windows for short periods during the day. Invite some fresh, dry air inside.

If your home’s ventilation is lacking, consult an HVAC technician. They can make recommendations based on your home’s needs. You can schedule a maintenance visit to ensure your home’s windows and doors are properly sealed.

Improve Your Indoor Humidity in Winter

Learning how to improve humidity in winter can protect you and your family. Use these tips if you feel warmer in the winter due to high humidity levels. Otherwise, consult an HVAC and indoor air quality expert.

Need help improving your winter humidity levels or air quality? Weather Engineers, Inc. has served Jacksonville residents since 1963. As a family-owned business, we strive to put our customers first.

Rely on us for all your indoor air comfort needs. Contact us to request help with your humidity control.