When you first become a homeowner, you may not realize all of the little things that need to be maintained. You need to change the air filters, check for termites, and do something that very few people think of: maintain your humidity levels. Fortunately, nowadays, there’s an easy way to do this with something called a hygrometer, a meteorological device that measures humidity levels.
The best locations to place a hygrometer are living areas away from windows or any room that produces excess humidity, like a bathroom. If the air is stagnant or there’s too much airflow, the reading will be wrong. Living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens are typically the best places for a hygrometer.
In the rest of this article, I’ll go over the best locations to place your hygrometer, how hygrometers work, and why they’re such an important aspect of home maintenance.
What Are the Best Locations for Your Hygrometer?
The best locations for your hygrometer are areas with constant airflow. If the air is too stagnant, you won’t get an accurate reading. It’s also important to place it away from humidity producers, such as bathrooms and windows.
When placing your hygrometer, it’s essential to remember that you’re trying to read the average humidity level of your home.
You aren’t checking a particularly humid space or an area that can vary a lot, such as a bathroom or near an outside facing window or door.
You’ll also want to place your hygrometer in an area that receives plenty of airflow. If you choose a stagnant area, such as a corner room that only receives or pumps out air, you won’t receive an accurate reading.
It’s important to have an accurate reading so that if it’s high or low, you can take the appropriate steps to correct the humidity.
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If it’s inaccurate you may end up doing the opposite of what needs doing which can exacerbate the problem.
That said, the best locations for your hygrometer are typically your living room, bedroom, or, depending on how it’s set up, kitchen.
Of course, if any of these areas are more stagnant, they won’t be the ideal choice. Any room with carpet won’t be the best choice because that’ll also skew the moisture reading.
Personally, my kitchen has always been very open to the rest of the house and hasn’t dealt with built-up humidity, so for me, my kitchen would be an excellent place for my hygrometer.
If your kitchen is more closed off, you’ll likely have extra humidity from the dishwasher and sink, so you shouldn’t place your hygrometer there.
The type of your hygrometer also determines where you should place it. If you’re using a hygrometer in a grow tent, it should be placed on the floor.
This placement will allow for the most accurate humidity reading. If you’re using a typical electric hygrometer, it should be placed at around 3.3 feet, or one meter off the ground.
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This will ensure that any humidity gathered around the floor in rugs or carpets doesn’t affect the reading.
Remember that even when the hygrometer is on the wall, it shouldn’t be placed near any outside-reaching doors or windows as it can affect the accuracy of the reading.
How Hygrometers Work
The most common type of hygrometer for in-home use is an electronic hygrometer. It measures the humidity by measuring the capacitance or resistance of a sample of air.
Capacitive hygrometers work by measuring the effect of the water in the air on metal oxide material.
If calibrated correctly, they’re typically accurate to ±2%. An uncalibrated hygrometer can be up to three times worse.
That’s the main issue most people face with this type of hygrometer. They purchase a capacitive hygrometer and don’t know if it needs to be calibrated, leaving them with grossly incorrect readings.
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They’re the cheaper of the two options and are most commonly used in family homes.
Resistive hygrometers work by measuring how the electrical resistance to the substance being measured, in this case, its air, changes.
They’re typically accurate to around ±3% and require a much more complex circuit board than capacitive hygrometers.
The Importance of a Hygrometer At Homes
When purchasing a home, monitoring the humidity isn’t the first thing you think of, but it’s quite possibly one of the most important in terms of home maintenance. If a home doesn’t have steady and appropriate humidity levels, you’ll have moisture or dryness caused by damage.
If your home is too dry, you can deal with things like dust buildup, which can worsen allergies, and joints separating in your home’s construction.
Things like crown molding, trimming, or even furniture joints can begin to separate if they don’t have enough moisture. It can also make your floors and stairs squeak.
When wood isn’t kept in a humid enough environment, it’ll dry out and become brittle.
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So not only will it be harder to sneak downstairs for a midnight snack, but your furniture will also wear out more quickly and be more prone to breaking.
If your home is too humid, you’ll run into a completely different set of problems.
If you don’t have a hygrometer, you may notice condensation inside the windows or a musty odor when you enter the home.
While the condensation may just be a visual indication of the humidity, the musty odor is a sign of a far more serious problem.
Excess moisture will lead to the growth of mold in the walls, which can be very dangerous to the health of your family.
That’s one reason that it’s so important to maintain proper humidity. Without it, you could be putting your family at risk.
Humid homes will also be more prone to insect infestations since insects are attracted to warm, moist spaces.
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Chances are your home already fulfills the first criteria, and if you’re not managing your humidity levels, your home will become an insect hotspot.
Ideally, you should maintain a temperature of around 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit (18.33-26.67 degrees Celsius) and a humidity level of approximately 30-50%.
Any more or any less than this, and you risk causing damage to your home.
Relative Humidity vs Specific Humidity
When you’re purchasing a hygrometer for your house, you’ll notice that different hygrometers measure different types of humidity.
Depending on what you’re looking to monitor, you’ll want to know which you should purchase.
For in-home humidity monitoring, two main types of humidity are monitored: relative humidity and specific humidity.
Relative humidity shows the percentage of water in the air versus the maximum capacity. Specific humidity measures the ratio of water vapor to the amount of dry air.
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Relative humidity is probably the kind that you know about. It’s the humidity that you hear in the morning when the meteorologist is going over the weather report.
It’s displayed as the ratio between how much humidity is in the air and how much water vapor the air could hold based on the temperature.
Specific humidity measures the ratio of water vapor in the air to the dry air in that area.
However, unlike relative humidity hygrometers, a specific humidity hygrometer won’t do the work for you; instead, it’ll display the humidity in the original ratio.
When you’re purchasing a hygrometer, unless you’re meteorology-obsessed and like crunching numbers, you’ll probably want a hygrometer that measures relative humidity.
That way, you can see the number in a simple percentage, and you don’t have to calculate the humidity based on the ratio between moisture and temperature.
One of the most important devices that you can invest in when purchasing a home is a high-quality hygrometer.
A hygrometer will help you maintain appropriate humidity and temperature levels to prevent moisture damage.
However, for the hygrometer to function, it must be placed appropriately.
Your hygrometer should be placed in a central room, preferably with no carpet, and with plenty of airflow.
It should also be placed away from any outside-facing doors or windows, as these can affect the accuracy of the reading.
There are many types of hygrometers, but the easiest one to use will be a digital hygrometer that measures relative humidity.
- Good Humidity: Where To Place Hygrometer In House
- Therm Pro: How to Use a Hygrometer and How Does It Work?
- House Logic: Humidity Control with a Hygrometer
- Explain That Stuff: How hygrometers work
- Eva-Dry: Different Types of 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.