During the summer months, DC’s high humidity can make being outside unbearable. Not only is It uncomfortable, it may cause health issues such as fatigue, muscle cramps, hyperthermia, and could even lead to heat stroke in extreme cases.
High humidity can also damage your home if left unchecked. Too much moisture can hurt your home’s building materials, creating the perfect surface for mold and bacteria to grow. This impacts your indoor air quality and your health.
According to Home Energy Hub, you should try to keep your home’s Relative Humidity (RH) below 60 percent in summer. Here are some effective ways to combat DC’s humidity this summer:
Use air conditioning (set at 78 degrees Fahrenheit for sustainable usage).
While we all know that air conditioning can help make us cooler, did you know that air conditioning also removes the moisture in the air? This is a great way to fight against humidity while maintaining a comfortable temperature in your home. For optimal sustainable usage of your AC unit, set your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you are home and 85 degrees Fahrenheit when you are away for more than a few hours.
If you’re planning on replacing your AC system, you can save on your utility bills by using an efficient HVAC unit. You can also save by receiving a rebate for up to $300 from the DCSEU when you purchase a qualifying unit. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you may be able to have your inoperable central HVAC unit repaired or replaced through the DC Department of Energy and Environment’s Emergency Heating, Cooling and Air Conditioning Program.
Place a dehumidifier in your basement.
If your home has a basement, you should consider using a dehumidifier to prevent bacterial growth and mold. Home Energy Hub recommends setting a dehumidifier placed in a basement at 50 percent RH. Try to find an energy-efficient model to save money and energy. For example, an ENERGY STAR dehumidifier can save you up to $175 in utility costs over the life of the unit. You can get a $25 rebate from the DCSEU on an eligible unit. You can also find information about the proper size you should purchase for your space on our website.
Make sure you have suitable ventilation.
Using fans in your kitchen and bathroom are key to dissipating steam and making sure that you remove any unwanted moisture. Keep these fans and vents clean to ensure they’re operating efficiently.
Check your insulation and sealing.
Proper insulation and sealing around your home and windows will help keep out humid air. If you find that you need to reinforce your insulation, you can install weatherstripping on your windows and doors. You can also use caulk to seal around tubs and sinks to prevent water from leaking into your walls.