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What Should the Humidity Level be in a House with Air Conditioning?

Aug 30, 2023

The humidity level of your home should sit between 30% and 50%. This level will keep most people comfortable while also preventing issues such as mold growth, dust mites, and condensation on your windows.

Women looking at thermostat

Issues with Too High or Too Low Humidity in Your Home

Not having your humidity monitored or maintained at the recommended level can cause some health concerns for your family and friends.

What happens if the humidity is too high in your house?

Humidity levels that are too low (below 30%) can lead to dry skin, irritated respiratory passages, and increased susceptibility to infections.

What happens if the humidity is too low in your house?

Humidity levels that are too high (above 50%) can promote the growth of mold, dust mites, and other allergens, potentially causing health problems and damaging the home’s structure.

Close up shot of an outdoor air conditioning unit

Do air conditioners have humidity control?

Most modern air conditioning systems have humidity control features built in. These features are designed to help regulate indoor humidity levels along with cooling the air.

Cooling and Dehumidification: The primary function of an air conditioner is to cool the air by removing heat. As warm air passes over the evaporator coil, it cools down and moisture in the air condenses on the coil’s surface. This helps reduce the humidity in the air. The condensed moisture then drips into a collection pan or drain.

Variable Speed and Cycling: Some advanced air conditioning systems have variable speed fans and cycling options that can help control humidity more effectively. Slower fan speeds and longer cooling cycles allow the air conditioner to remove more moisture from the air.

Dehumidification Mode: Many air conditioners have a dedicated dehumidification mode. In this mode, the air conditioner runs longer cycles at a lower cooling capacity to primarily focus on removing moisture from the air. This can be particularly useful during times when the temperature is not extremely high, but humidity levels are uncomfortable.

Humidity Setpoint: Certain modern air conditioning systems allow you to set a specific humidity level as well as a target temperature. The system will then adjust its operation to reach and maintain both the desired temperature and humidity level.

Smart Thermostats and Controls: Some smart thermostats and air conditioning controllers have built-in humidity sensors. They can work in tandem with the air conditioning system to adjust its operation based on the detected humidity levels.

Dehumidifier in home


It’s important to note that while air conditioners can help control indoor humidity to some extent, they might not be as effective as standalone dehumidifiers in extremely humid conditions. Here in Orlando, FL, a very humid climate, a dedicated dehumidifier could be a valuable addition to your indoor comfort system.

How to measure the humidity in your home

You can measure the humidity in your home using a device called a hygrometer. A hygrometer is a tool designed specifically to measure the moisture content in the air, which is expressed as a percentage known as relative humidity. There are different types of hygrometers available, and each has its own method of measuring humidity.

Analog Hygrometers: These are traditional hygrometers with a needle or pointer that moves across a scale. They are easy to use but might be less accurate compared to digital options.

Digital Hygrometers: These hygrometers provide a digital readout of the current relative humidity. They are often more accurate and easier to read than analog models. Digital hygrometers may also offer additional features such as temperature readings.

Psychrometer: A psychrometer consists of two thermometers, one of which has a wet wick or cloth around its bulb. By measuring the difference in temperature readings between the dry bulb thermometer and the wet bulb thermometer, you can calculate the relative humidity using a chart or a calculation.

Smart Hygrometers: These are digital hygrometers that can connect to your smartphone or home automation system. They often provide real-time monitoring and can send alerts or recommendations based on the readings.

How to measure humidity using a hygrometer

Placement: Place the hygrometer in a central location in the room where you want to measure humidity. Avoid placing it near windows, doors, vents, or areas with direct sunlight, as these factors can affect the accuracy of the readings.

Allow Time: Give the hygrometer some time to stabilize and provide an accurate reading. Humidity levels can vary in different parts of the house, so taking an average reading might be beneficial.

Read the Display: For digital hygrometers, the display will show the current relative humidity percentage. For analog hygrometers, read the position of the needle or pointer on the scale.

Calibration: Periodically check the accuracy of your hygrometer. Some models can be calibrated to ensure their readings are as accurate as possible.

Remember that maintaining a comfortable and healthy indoor humidity level is important. Adjusting your home’s ventilation and air conditioning settings based on the hygrometer’s readings can help you achieve the desired humidity range.