As the temperatures drop during the winter months, many of us crank up the heat in our homes to stay warm and cozy. However, with that increased heat comes a decrease in humidity levels. But how low is too low? At what point does low humidity become a problem? When it comes to indoor comfort and health, finding that balance between warm and humid can be crucial. In this article, we’ll explore whether 38% humidity is too low in the winter and what you can do to manage the humidity levels in your home.

1. The Importance of Humidity in Winter

Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air, and it plays an important role in maintaining a comfortable indoor environment, especially during the winter months. In the winter, the air inside your home can become incredibly dry due to the colder temperatures and the use of heating systems. This can also lead to low relative humidity levels in your home, which may result in a range of issues.

Humidity levels between 30-50% are considered ideal for maintaining good health and comfort levels in your home. Low humidity levels can cause dry skin, static electricity, respiratory infections, and other health problems. On the other hand, excessively moist air can encourage the growth of mold and bacteria, leading to a range of health issues. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy humidity level for a comfortable and healthy living environment.

During the winter months, maintaining the right humidity level in your home is essential to keep you and your family safe and healthy. The most optimal way to measure humidity is with a hygrometer. This device can determine the moisture levels in your home and provide you with essential data to ensure the right humidity level in your home. In the next section, we will discuss the health effects of low humidity and its ideal levels for comfort and health.

2. Health Effects of Low Humidity

During winter, indoor heating systems tend to make the air inside our homes very dry. Low humidity levels can not only affect our comfort but also our health. Here are some :

1. Dry skin and Irritation

When the humidity level drops below 30%, our skin becomes dry and itchy. Low humidity pulls moisture out of our skin, leaving it dry and flaky, which can lead to skin irritation and cracked skin. This is one of the most common during winter.

2. Respiratory Issues

Low humidity levels can also cause respiratory problems, such as sore throat, coughing, and bronchitis. When the air is dry, it can cause our nasal passages and throat to become dry and irritated. This can result in respiratory infections, especially for those who have asthma or allergies.

3. Eye and Nose Irritation

Low humidity levels can also lead to dry nasal passages, causing nosebleeds and sinus pain. Dry air can also cause eye irritation, resulting in itchy and dry eyes. These conditions can make it difficult to focus or work effectively.

Overall, low humidity levels in winter can have significant health effects, ranging from minor irritations to serious respiratory issues. It’s crucial to maintain optimal humidity levels for both comfort and health.

3. Ideal Humidity Levels for Comfort and Health

Is 38% Humidity Too Low in Winter?

Humidity is the amount of moisture present in the air we breathe. It plays a critical role in our overall health and comfort, especially during the winter season. The vary depending on the temperature. In general, the recommended humidity level for indoor spaces during winter is between 40-60%.

  • When humidity levels are too low, it can cause dry skin, irritated eyes, and respiratory problems.
  • When humidity levels are too high, it can cause mold growth and damage to paint, wallpapers, and wooden surfaces.

Keeping the indoor humidity levels within the recommended range is crucial for optimal health and comfort.

One way to check humidity levels is by using a hygrometer, a device that measures the amount of moisture in the air. It can help you determine if you need to increase or decrease humidity levels in your home.

It’s important to note that temperature also affects the humidity levels. As the temperature drops outside, the humidity levels also tend to drop indoors. Therefore, it’s essential to maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level in your home.

If you’re concerned about low humidity levels in your home during the winter season, there are various ways to increase humidity levels. These include using a humidifier, keeping houseplants, taking shorter and cooler showers, and leaving the bathroom door open after a shower.

4. Common Causes of Low Humidity in Winter

During the cold winter months, low humidity levels are a common occurrence in many homes. Low humidity can cause various discomforts and affect your health negatively. Here are some of the common causes of low humidity indoors during winter:

  1. Heating System: The primary cause of low humidity in winter is heating systems used to keep your home warm. Central heating systems, space heaters, and wood-burning stoves reduce the humidity level indoors.
  2. Weather Conditions: Winter weather conditions are dry, leading to low humidity levels. The freezing temperatures cause the air to lose moisture content, which is then circulated in your home.
  3. Lack of Ventilation: During winter, it is common to shut doors and windows to keep the cold out. However, this leads to poor ventilation, trapping moisture indoors.
  4. Use of Humidifiers: While using humidifiers during winter is essential, some models produce dry air if not correctly maintained. Old models and those without automatic humidity regulation can cause low humidity levels.

Knowing the common causes of low humidity levels in winter is crucial to maintaining healthy humidity levels in your home. With this knowledge, you can take appropriate measures to maintain indoor humidity levels that are comfortable and safe for you and your family.

5. Tips on Increasing Humidity at Home

Looking for ways to increase the humidity in your home during the dry winter months? Here are some tips to help you keep your indoor air within the ideal range of 30-50% humidity.

1. Use a Humidifier

A humidifier is the most effective way to add moisture to the air. There are various types of humidifiers that can fit your needs. Ultrasonic and evaporative humidifiers are the most common types, with ultrasonic models being ideal for large areas and evaporative models for smaller ones. Place your humidifier in the room where you spend the most time.

2. Add Indoor Plants

Indoor plants can help increase humidity levels by releasing moisture through transpiration. The more plants you have, the better the effect. You can choose plants like peace lilies, spider plants, and Boston ferns, which are known for improving air quality and increasing humidity levels.

3. Cook on the Stovetop

Cooking on the stovetop can also help increase humidity levels. When you cook, steam is released, which can contribute to the overall moisture level of your home. This method can be especially useful when you are making stews or soups.

4. Leave Bathroom Doors Open

Leaving bathroom doors open while showering can also help increase the humidity level in your home. The steam from a shower can quickly fill the bathroom. Leaving the door open allows the steam to escape into other rooms.

5. Use a Water Bowl

Place a water bowl near the heating source in your home. This can help improve the humidity levels in the area. This is an easy method that can help keep the air moist. Be sure to refill the bowl periodically to ensure it stays effective.

By following these tips, you can increase the humidity levels in your home and prevent dry air from negatively impacting your health and comfort during the winter months.

6. The Best Humidifiers for Winter Dryness

As winter months approach, the low humidity levels in the air can cause all sorts of problems. From dry skin and cracked lips to respiratory issues and susceptibility to infections, the effects of low humidity should not be taken lightly. Using a humidifier at home can help counteract the effects of low humidity and provide relief. In this section, we will discuss .

1. Ultrasonic Humidifiers
Ultrasonic humidifiers use high-frequency vibrations to produce a fine mist that is dispersed into the air. They are quiet and energy-efficient, making them ideal for use in bedrooms or offices. These humidifiers also come in various sizes and designs, so you can choose one that suits your specific needs.

2. Evaporative Humidifiers
Evaporative humidifiers work by blowing air through a moistened filter, which then evaporates the water and adds moisture to the air. They are affordable and easy to use, but they can be fairly noisy. They are also recommended for larger rooms, as they have a higher output than ultrasonic humidifiers.

3. Warm Mist Humidifiers
Warm mist humidifiers use heating elements to boil the water, which is then released into the air as warm steam. They are quieter than evaporative humidifiers and are generally easier to clean. However, they do require more energy to operate and may not be ideal for use in homes with children or pets.

When choosing the best humidifier for your home, consider the size of the room, your budget, and your personal preferences. Regardless of which type of humidifier you choose, be sure to maintain it properly to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. A well-maintained humidifier can provide significant relief from the effects of low humidity and improve your overall wellness during the winter months.

7. Final Thoughts on Maintaining Healthy Humidity Levels in Winter

Now that you understand the importance of humidity levels in winter, the health effects of low humidity, and how to increase humidity at home, let’s talk about some final thoughts on maintaining healthy humidity levels during the winter months.

Invest in a Hygrometer

The first step to maintaining healthy humidity levels is to invest in a hygrometer. This device measures the humidity levels in your home, so you know when to increase or decrease humidity. Ideally, humidity levels should be between 30-50%. If your home’s humidity is consistently below 30%, you may want to consider purchasing a humidifier.

Don’t Over-humidify Your Home

While low humidity levels can be detrimental, it’s important not to over-humidify your home either. Too much humidity can create an ideal environment for mold, bacteria, and dust mites to grow, which can exacerbate allergies and cause respiratory issues. It’s also important to clean your humidifier regularly and change the water daily to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.

Consider Investing in a Whole-House Humidifier

If you live in an area with extremely low humidity levels, you may want to consider investing in a whole-house humidifier. These systems connect to your HVAC system and automatically monitor and adjust humidity levels throughout your home. They can be more expensive upfront, but they can save you money in the long run by improving energy efficiency and reducing the need for portable humidifiers.

By following these tips and maintaining healthy humidity levels during the winter months, you can improve your health, reduce dry skin, and enhance your overall comfort at home.

People Also Ask

What should the humidity be in winter?

In winter, the humidity level should be between 30% and 50%. This range can prevent dryness in the skin, nose, and throat, and also reduce static electricity.

What happens if humidity is too low in winter?

If humidity levels are too low in winter, it can cause various health issues such as static electricity, cracking or peeling floors and walls, dry skin, nosebleeds, and respiratory problems. It may also damage wooden furniture and dry indoor plants.

How can I increase humidity in my home in winter?

You can increase humidity in your home in winter by using a humidifier, placing bowls of water near your heating system, and improving ventilation. Additionally, you can hang wet clothes to dry inside the house instead of using a dryer.

Can low humidity cause headaches?

Yes, low humidity can cause headaches by drying out your nasal passages and throat, leading to more frequent headaches and migraines. It can also cause eye irritation, dizziness, and fatigue.

How do I know if humidity is too low in my home?

If you feel uncomfortable indoors, notice static shocks, have dry skin or nasal passages, and experience frequent respiratory problems, it could be a sign of low humidity in your home. Additionally, if your wooden furniture and floors are cracking and peeling, it is likely due to low humidity.


Low humidity in winter can have negative impacts on both human health and home maintenance. It is suggested to maintain indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50%. Increasing humidity can be done through a humidifier, ventilation improvements, and placing bowls of water near your heating system. It can reduce dryness in airways and prevent health issues like headaches, dry skin, and respiratory problems.