How to dehumidify your home Naturally For Under $10!

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We all know that feeling. You just got home on a hot, sweltering afternoon. You settle down on your couch hoping to get some reprieve from that unrelenting sun blazing down outside. But before you know what hit you, you are a hot sticky mess. Sweat is dripping down your back and you just feel awful. 

Coming from where I live, with an average relative humidity of about 80%, I know this feeling all too well. High indoor humidity is definitely an aspect of indoor air quality that needs to be controlled for optimum comfort and health in your home. 

This guide will bring you through what a good humidity level is. It also describes ways on how to dehumidify a room naturally without a dehumidifier using affordable methods that are actionable and can be done almost immediately.

In a hurry? Check out the table below to compare the methods and their costs

Humidification MethodCost
Natural VentilationFree
Fans24¢ / day
Air Conditioner $3.50 / day
Desiccants$3 / pound of charcoal
Cold showersFree 
Dry clothes outdoors$10 / 6 monthly to get new clothes pegs
Sun carpets and rugsFree
Repair wall cracks$15 
Weatherstripping$7.80 / 10 ft roll of weatherstrip tape
Caulking$6.50 / 10 oz of caulk
Summary of methods and costs

How Humid Is My Home?

If you suspect you have a humidity problem at home but do not have a humidity meter, take our Home Humidity Check to have a general idea if your home is too humid, too dry or just nice.

1. Do you usually feel hotter at home than the reported temperature outside?

 
 
 

2. How long does your laundry take to dry if left to hang indoor?

 
 
 

3. Do you see any mold spots in your kitchen or bathroom?

 
 

4. Do you frequently get dry skin and dry eyes?

 
 

5. Do you have any problems with wood rot on your wooden furniture?

 
 
 

Question 1 of 5

What Is The Ideal Indoor Humidity

Comfortable air depends on four main elements: temperature, cleanliness, airflow circulation and humidity. Optimization of these four parameters will help you achieve an extremely comfortable environment for your home. Today we will be focusing on indoor humidity and how to optimize it.

A good humidity level is one in which we can get the most amount of comfort and where it is most conducive to our health. Most studies and research seems to agree that a comfortable humidity level is between 40% to 60%. 

In terms of health, this level of humidity is also considered to be the most optimum for health. The survival and infectivity of airborne transmitted bacteria and viruses are minimized by exposure to relative humidity of 40% to 60%. This greatly reduces the risk of disease transmission from these pathogens. Read our guide here to find out how much fungi growth increases by when your humidity levels are out of control (hint: its a double digit increment).

ideal humidity infographics

How To Tell If Your House Is Too Humid

“Know thyself. Know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories” – Sun Tzu

Making a correct diagnosis is half the battle won. Before you make the decision to dehumidify your house, you first need to recognize if your house has a high humidity problem. Knowing how severe the problem is and where the problems lie will enable you to determine if you need professional help and where to target your dehumidifying efforts. We have compiled a short list of ways to tell if your house suffers from high humidity before we get into the main action of dehumidifying your home.

Humidity Monitors

Humidity monitors, also known as hygrometers, allow you to measure the humidity levels in the room it is placed in. This is the most accurate way to know if you are suffering from inappropriate humidity levels. Most hygrometers are portable so you can evaluate the humidity levels of different rooms and determine which areas require more attention for your humidity control. 

Mold Spots

When there is high humidity, there is excess moisture in the air and you can be sure mold will start setting in. Common areas for mold spots are the bathroom and kitchen, where there are more moisture generating activities to begin with. Mold spots can take on various appearances but they often look like dark or greenish stains on a surface. Sometimes, they may have a rough or velvety texture depending on the type of mold.

ceiling mold

Musty Odors

The musty odor is the result of mold growth. As mold grows and spreads, gases known as microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) are emitted due to the chemical reactions happening within the mold. If you need a reminder of how “musty” smells like, try keeping a damp cloth in a container and take a sniff a few days later. Musty smells can also be described as stale or unclean. 

Condensation

This is one of the easiest ways to check if your house has too much humidity. If you start noticing water droplets or fog on the glass of your windows, it is a sign of excess moisture in the room. Condensation forms when warm moist air gets into contact with a cold surface. Another place where this is commonly observed is on your bathroom mirror after you have taken a hot shower. 

condensation on window

Corroding Wooden Furniture

When exposed to excess humidity in the air, wood rot sets in. This is due to the growth of fungi within the wood that breaks down the cellular structure of wood. These fungi do this by secreting enzymes that target the wood cell wall, dissolving it. Rotting wood may look darker or lighter than the surrounding wood and there will usually be cracks in the discolored areas. If you exert force, you will also find that rotting wood is much softer and more brittle than solid wood

infographics of high home humidity

Reduce Humidity Naturally Without A Dehumidifier

The most direct method is to install a dehumidifier. However, there may be situations where the problem is quite mild and does not warrant a dehumidifier. There may also be cases where we just don’t have access to a dehumidifier. In these circumstances, we can make use of some easy hacks to reduce our indoor humidity with minimal fuss.

You literally can start using this hacks RIGHT NOW with almost zero to little additional cost.

Ventilate Your Home

Allow your house to breathe! Open the windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate through your house with natural ventilation. Louvres and blinds are perfect for this as they allow natural ventilation without the heat and light from the sun. Areas that are especially prone to moisture like the kitchen or bathroom will also benefit from mechanical ventilation by having the vents and fans kept on to remove any excess moisture in the air.

Cost: Free

Utilize Fans

You may have opened your windows and doors but the air is stale and you are still feeling warm and sticky. Enter the fan. Fans are an inexpensive way to generate moving air in the house. By pointing it in the right direction, you will be able to blow the moisture out of your house in no time. Fans are also extremely energy efficient. Taking the example of a small table fan running at 50-100 watts, with an electrical cost of 10 cents per kilowatt hour, it costs about 24 cents to run this fan for 24 hours.

Cost: 24 cents per day (Assuming you already own a fan)

Use Your Air Conditioner 

Although the primary job of an air conditioner is not to dehumidify the air, the side effect of cooling the air actually sucks the moisture out of it. The air conditioner works by having a chemical refrigerant that runs through the evaporator coils. When air passes over the coils and cools down, the excess moisture in the air condenses like how water condenses on the outside of a cold glass. The condensed water then drops into a pan below the coil and run out through a drain.

However, it is important to replace the air filter of your air conditioner regularly to keep it working at optimum efficiency. Clogged up air filters will result in lower air flow and poorer temperature/humidity control. It is recommended to replace the air filter every 90 days. If you have pets, you will need to replace it every 60 days.

Obviously running an air-conditioner is going to be much costlier than running a fan but let’s look at how much more we are potentially spending when using the AC to dehumidify a room. Taking the example of a 1440 watt AC with an electrical cost of 13.2 cents per kilowatt hour, it will cost about $4.50 to run a high-powered window AC unit for 24 hours.

You might be interested to read about our experiment where we tried out ways to keep cool without AC over here.

Cost: $4.50 per day (Assuming you already own a window AC unit)

Strategic Placement of Moisture Absorbers

Moisture absorbers or desiccants are drying agents that can absorb the moisture from the air in its vicinity. They can be placed in packets or buckets in the home to help remove the moisture.

The most commonly used types of dessicants are:

The above are Amazon links! Feel free to pop over to Amazon to get them if it is convenient!

However, their dehydrating effect is very dependent on where they are placed. Therefore, you will need to situate them at places like the kitchen or bathroom which are more prone to excessive moisture. Once you feel that they are saturated with water, just pop them in the oven for a quick toast to remove the moisture and they will be good to go again!

Cost: Estimated $2-3 per pound of charcoal

Take Shorter And Colder Showers

A hot shower produces a lot of steam that will greatly increase the indoor humidity. Fortunately, most bathrooms have vents and fans to help expel the steam from the room. If your bathroom has poorer ventilation then it would be wiser to take shorter showers to prevent excessive steam formation. Alternatively, you can take a refreshing cool shower if the weather permits!

Cost: Free (You might actually SAVE money because of reduced heating cost)

shower head

Dry Clothes Outdoors

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that damp clothes contain tons of moisture. Drying clothes indoors will release this excess moisture into the home environment and raise the humidity level significantly. If possible, hang your clothes outdoors. It will dry faster too with the heat from the sun. A possible annoyance may be your clothes pegs breaking down more often due to the heat exposure so you may have to replace them every 6 months. Fortunately, they are inexpensive and a pack of 100 pegs cost about $10.

Cost: $10 every 6 months to replace clothes pegs

Place House Plants Outdoors

Plants are just like human beings. They breathe to survive and in the process they release water vapor into the air. If your plants have large broad leaves, the amount of moisture they release will be even greater. Do yourself and them a favor by growing them outdoors. They will appreciate the additional light and sun they can get as well! If you must have your plants indoors, do not over-water them as the soil will retain the moisture and release them into your home environment.

Cost: Free

plants in a living room

Sun your Rugs & Carpets Regularly

They look good and bring character to your house. However, they also tend to trap a lot of moisture when indoor humidity is high. Over time, the moisture collects and mold may start growing in your rugs and carpets. A good practice would be to sun them out in the open every 2 to 3 months to remove any excess moisture and keep them smelling fresh and clean.

Cost: Free

 Repair cracks in walls

Cracks in walls are essentially portals of entry for moisture to leak into your house from the outside environment. This is especially so when the outdoor weather is warm and humid. This can cause condensation droplets to build up on indoor surfaces if the home ambient temperature is cooler than that outside.  For this project, you will need;

Get it using the Amazon links above for convenient and hassle free delivery!

Total cost: $15 (Ok, we know this is more than 10 dollars but the amount you need is very minimal so you can share this with another project or another homeowner)

Watch this short video below to find out how to repair a cracked wall with ease.

Weatherstripping & Caulking

Weatherstripping is the act of creating an airtight seal to prevent cool or warm air from escaping. It also prevents excess humidity from seeping into your home from the outdoor environment. Caulking is similar to weatherstripping except that it is used to line surfaces that may come into contact with water such as sinks and toilets. Both weatherstripping and caulking may be used around windows or doors to maintain ideal indoor humidity. 

Typical weatherstripping and caulking may be performed by homeowners as a DIY project with easily accessible materials. Even a relative beginner like myself could do it easily.

Items required (You can get them really easily off Amazon using the links below!)

You can read about how I used weatherstripping on my own windows to reduce traffic noises over here!

Cost: Estimated $8 for 10-foot roll of weatherstrip tape OR $7 for 10oz of caulk (+ $400 if you need to buy a caulk gun)

Watch the video below to see how you can do weatherstripping and caulking at home

Comparison of the methods and their costs

Humidification MethodCost
Natural VentilationFree
Fans24¢ / day
Air Conditioner $3.50 / day
Desiccants$3 / pound of charcoal
Cold showersFree 
Dry clothes outdoors$10 / 6 monthly to get new clothes pegs
Sun carpets and rugsFree
Repair wall cracks$15 
Weatherstripping$8 / 10 ft roll of weatherstrip tape
Caulking$7 / 10 oz of caulk
Summary of methods and costs

Questions And Answers (Q&A)

Q: Will a dehumidifier placed in the basement be able to dehumidify the whole house?

A: If the exterior of the house is well sealed and well insulated, then the source of moisture entry is only from the ground. By dehumidifying the basement or crawl space, you will be able to eliminate this source of humidity and reduce your indoor humidity levels.

Q: Will a dehumidifier cool a room?

A: No. A dehumidifier actually generates heat during its operation but the action of reducing humidity may make you feel cooler. Your sweat is able to evaporate more easily when humidity levels are lower and this cools the body down.

Q: How do I select the size of dehumidifier I need for my house?

A: As a general rule of thumb, a 12L/day unit is able to keep your living room (about 300-500 sq ft) at 55% relative humidity.

Sizing table for dehumidifier

Current Home Humidity 300 sq ft500 sq ft800 sq ft1200 sq ft
60% – 70%
The air feels damp
20 pint / day25 pint / day35 pint / day50 pint / day
70% – 80%
You feel hot and sticky and
your sweat doesn’t evaporate
25 pint / day30 pint / day45 pint / day70 pint / day
80% – 100%
Visible condensation on
windows and walls
25 pint / day35 pint /  day50 pint / day70 pint / day
How to choose the right size of dehumidifier

Conversion table for Pints and Liters

PintsLiters
209
2512
3014
3516
4521
5024
7033

Wrapping It Up

After reading this comprehensive guide, you are now armed with all the knowledge you need to reduce the indoor humidity of your home. These hacks are all actionable and do not require any specialized equipment. Some methods may be more suitable than others depending on your unique circumstances e.g. the season you are in, the climate you live in etc. Nonetheless, give these methods a try and let us know how it works for you in the comments below!

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