Many things can cause high humidity in a home, from the weather outside to inoperable exhaust fans in localized areas of a home. We might want to consider turning on a fan for some relief. Do fans lower humidity?
Fans do not directly lower humidity in the air, however, fans do help to reduce humidity in one localized area of a home if surrounding areas of the home are less humid. Using a fan can help to pull in the air that is less humid, therefore, reducing the overall humidity in one localized area of a home.
In this article, we will discuss why fans feel as though they can lower the humidity in your home and ways that fans can indirectly help with moisture reduction.
Fans Assist in Lowering Temperature, Not Humidity
The purpose of fans is to circulate air. Whether you’re using a box fan, ceiling fan, pedestal fan, or any other kind, fans help disrupt the stagnant air in your home.
In this way, it can sometimes feel like they’re helping reduce the humidity, especially if they’re blowing directly on you. The reason for this is that fans can help evaporate the sweat on your skin.
The Effect of Fans on Your Body Temperature in Humid Climates
When outdoor temperatures rise in humid climates, our bodies respond by producing sweat.
Sweat offers a cooling effect on our bodies when it evaporates from our skin.
When you’re stuck inside with hot, humid air, it can be difficult for the sweat to evaporate, but fans can help with airflow, encouraging the perspiration on your body to vaporize.
While fans don’t directly affect the overall humidity in the air, they can help this evaporation process take place, which gives us a feeling that the room is less humid.
The Effect of Fans on Your Body Temperature in Arid Climates
While fans help cool us off in humid climates by evaporating our sweat, they have the opposite effect in drier climates.
When temperatures get high without humidity in the air, our bodies hold on to as much water as possible to prevent dehydration.
Because of this, we produce significantly less sweat, meaning that we’re unable to achieve the same cooling effect as we experience when sweat evaporation in more humid climates takes place.
This lack of sweat eliminates the need for a fan to help with evaporation, meaning that when you run a fan in dry climates, it just results in blowing hot air around the room.
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Ways That Fans Can Indirectly Lower Humidity
Aside from helping with sweat evaporation in humid climates, fans can indirectly affect the humidity in the air by lowering the overall temperature of your room or house.
The air circulation and ventilation that fans provide can be an important factor in lowering the air temperature.
While fans cannot reduce overall humidity in your space, they’re still capable of indirectly lowering the humidity.
Hot air can hold more moisture than cooler air, so if you live in a humid climate, reducing the temperature in your space is crucial if you want to reduce the humidity.
There are three specific methods of lowering the air temperature that we will discuss in the following sections.
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One of the most common uses of a fan to lower temperature is ventilation. Ventilation circulates stagnant air by bringing fresh air from outside into your room or house.
Window fans and box fans set in front of open windows are commonly used types of fans intended to ventilate your space.
The idea here is that the air outside your space is at a lower temperature than the one inside. By bringing the colder air in, you lower the overall temperature inside.
The same happens when the air inside is at a higher level of humidity than the air outside. By bringing the lower moisture air inside, you reduce the overall humidity inside of your space.
Ventilation is effective in the early morning or late evenings into the night when you can assume it’s cooler than it’ll be in the middle of the day.
However, this method will not work when the air outside is hotter or more humid than it’s inside, such as at midday.
If you’re using a ventilating fan, make sure to close your window in the middle of the day or any time it’s hotter outside to avoid increasing the heat or humidity inside your home.
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Cross-ventilation fans take the fundamental principles of ventilation one step further.
Rather than simply bringing cool air inside, cross-ventilation aims to get cool air from outside through one access point into your home and then push the hot air from inside out through an opposite access point.
This constant rotation of air prevents inside air from getting stagnant and consistently filters hotter air outside.
Cross-ventilation is an excellent method of cooling your house, which, in turn, helps with the overall humidity and tends to offer results relatively quickly.
The downside of cross-ventilation is that for it to work, you need two separate fans: one to bring the cold air from outside, the other set up to push the air from inside your home out.
Not only do you need two of them, but these fans also need to be positioned correctly to control the same general space, meaning you need access to two windows that are as close to facing each other as possible.
Do your best to consider the best placement for your fans when using the cross-ventilation system, as it won’t be effective if one of the fans is off in the corner of the house in a room with the door closed.
Whenever possible, keep all your doors open to have the best results across your whole house.
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The final method of lowering air temperature is through the use of exhaust fans. Exhaust fans function to blow hot and humid air out of your space entirely.
An example of an exhaust fan would be the fans above your stove or in your bathroom. The second fan used in the cross-ventilation system to push hot air out is another example of an exhaust fan.
If you don’t have an excellent setup for the cross-ventilation method, using the existing exhaust fans in your house is a great idea, as it can steadily take the hot air out.
If you’re not concerned about the cost of your electric bill, leaving your bathroom and stovetop fans on all the time (as well as any other exhaust fans you have) may be a helpful way to manage the overall heat and humidity in your home.
Do Ceiling Fans Help Lower Humidity?
A lot of homes come with ceiling fans installed, especially in warmer areas without air conditioning. But do ceiling fans help lower the humidity?
Ceiling fans do not directly reduce the humidity in a room, yet the breeze from the ceiling fans can help evaporate excess moisture from the skin offering some feeling of relief. Ceiling fans may also help to mix the more humid area of a home with air in surrounding areas that are less humid.
Ceiling fans promote circulation within a room, creating a more uniform temperature and moisture level. And with the added benefit of sweat evaporation, ceiling fans can be nice to have in a home.
Rather than letting the hot and humid air settle at the top of the room, ceiling fans effectively push it back down toward the bottom, reducing the feeling that certain parts of the room are hotter and more humid than others.
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The reason that we use fans is to help us feel cooler when temperatures and the humidity rise.
While fans don’t directly affect humidity, they can effectively make us less sensitive to the moisture in the air by evaporating our sweat and making us feel cooler.
Fans can also indirectly lower humidity in the air through air circulation and ventilation by lowering the overall temperature in your house.
- NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Understanding Climate
- NBC News: Electric Fans Aren’t Always Best for Cooling Off. Here’s Why.
- Scientific American: Fans May Be Okay for Muggy Days – But Avoid Them in Extreme Dry Heat
- Temperature Master: Can a Fan Help With Humidity?
About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.