In the summertime, a comfortable basement should maintain a humidity level of 30 to 50 percent — although this can differ by climate. In the summer months the air outside is hotter and more humid which can increase your humidity levels to around 60 percent or higher. Summer humidity control tends to have less guess work as the goal in Maryland is to remove as much humidity as possible to avoid mold, mildew and bacteria growth.
Winter humidity control in the basement is a little different as the cold air from outside can make the humidity levels in your basement drop. During winter months, optimal home humidity levels should be around 25 to 40 percent. However, if the humidity levels drop too low, you can experience adverse effects on your health, causing things like nosebleeds, dry skin and more vulnerability to common winter-time sicknesses. When the temperatures drop and your heat is running all the time, the humidity levels will continue to drop especially if you have forced air heating.
The most important thing to is to find the balance for what feels most comfortable to you in the wintertime. Adjust your dehumidifier accordingly, if you are experiencing a lot of static, you might be removing too much moisture from the air. Likewise, if the heat is running and the dehumidifier is also and you still have above a 40% level of humidity, there may be an underlying issue elevating the levels.
And at anytime if you have musty odors and other signs of mold or mildew, schedule an in home inspection and test.
Keith Bock, Owner, Peake Restoration