How To Set A Humidifier? (Winter & Summer Humidity Settings)

If you need to know how to change your humidifier settings, you are in the right place!

In this guide, you will learn:

  • Humidifier settings during winter
  • Signs of too much moisture in the home
  • How outdoor temps can impact your humidifier settings
  • And more...
humidifier settings

As a licensed home inspector, I have inspected hundreds of whole house humidifiers over the years.

These furnace humidifiers are fantastic appliances that can automatically humidify your home using the existing ductwork. There are also portable whole house humidifiers that aren't connected to your HVAC system as well.

According to the EPA, it is recommended that indoor relative humidity to ideally be between 30% and 50%.

Keep reading to learn the best humidifier settings for your home and how to prevent condensation problems!

How To Set A Humidifier?

The most basic setting for whole house humidifiers is to set the humidity between 30% and 50%.

Furnace humidifiers will have a knob (or up and down arrow) on the unit where you can manually set the target indoor humidity. If you have a portable unit, there will be a knob or digital setting where you control the target humidity.

The whole house humidifier will turn on and off in order to reach that humidity setting. We also recommend purchasing cheap $10 humidistats so you always know the indoor humidity in different areas of the home.

Read Also >> What Are The Best Whole House Humidifiers?

humidifier settings (2)

What Is The Ideal Winter Humidifier Setting?

When the outdoor temperature drops in winter, it is important to lower the humidity setting so that condensation doesn't form inside of the home.

If you really don't want to bother with adjusting the humidifier during winter, then you should be cautious and set the humidifier to a low setting such as 30%.

Every home will be a little different depending on the climate and insulation of your home, so you may need to experiment with different settings.

Here are the basic rules for your winter humidifier setting...

  • Outdoor temperature of 20°F to 40°F: humidity should be between 35% to 45% relative humidity
  • Outdoor temperature of 0°F to 20°F: humidity should be between 25% to 35% relative humidity
  • Outdoor temperature of -20°F to 0°F: humidity should be between 15% to 25% relative humidity

What Should You Set Your Humidifier At In The Summer?

The ideal humidifier setting for summer, spring, and fall will be between 30% and 50% relative humidity.

Even though most homes will have their humidifiers shutoff in the warm weather months, some households may need additional moisture if they live in a dry climate.

The positives of using a humidifier during summer or fall is that you likely won't have to worry about condensation forming on the inside of the home.

Read Also >> How Does A Whole House Humidifier Work?

how to set a humidifier

When To Turn On Humidifier In House?

Homeowners should turn on their humidifiers when they notice the air is becoming dry or drops below 30% relative humidity.

Another option is to just turn on the whole house humidifier when you turn on the furnace. It isn't an exact science since climates are different around the country and the onset of cold weather can change.

How To Know If The Furnace Humidifier Setting Is Too High?

The easiest way to know that you have too much humidity in the home is when your windows develop condensation. Wet (or fogged up) windows is a clear sign of excess moisture in the home.

If you notice your windows form water droplets or fog up, then you need to drop the furnace humidifier settings immediately.

Failure to lower the humidity setting when the outdoor temperature drops can lead to mold growth, wood damage, and unhealthy indoor air quality.

Read Also >> How Whole House Humidifiers Can Lead To Mold Problems?

Do Humidifiers Have Outdoor Temperature Sensors?

Whole house humidifiers are sometimes equipped with an indoor humidity sensor as well as an outdoor temperature gauge.

This means that the humidifier can adjust the indoor humidity setting based upon the outdoor temperature. These automated humidifiers are a great way to 'set it and forget it' while helping to prevent indoor condensation problems.

You may want to research your humidifier to see if you can add an outdoor temperature gauge to the unit.

Read Also >> What Are The Pros And Cons of Whole House Humidifiers?

What Is Relative Humidity?

Relative humidity is a measure of how much moisture the air contains.

It is expressed as a percentage between 0% and 100% based on how much moisture there currently is divided by how much potential moisture there could be.

If the relative humidity reading is 50%, this means that the air contains about half the amount of water vapor relative to full saturation where water droplets (condensation) form. According to the EPA, it is recommended that indoor relative humidity ideally be between 30% and 50%.

Final Thoughts

The easiest way to control a humidifier is to adjust the humidity knob or digital controls to between 30% and 50% relative humidity.

However, as the temperature drops outside, you may start to notice condensation forming on your windows (or even the walls). Homeowners should be aware that they may need to drop the humidity setting to a lower amount to prevent mold growth and water damage.

And there are whole house humidifiers that have an indoor humidistat as well as an outdoor temperature sensor so it can adjust automatically.

I hope you enjoyed this guide from Home Inspector Secrets!

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