When To Turn On A Humidifier In The House In Winter?

The harsh, dry winter air along with the dry air coming from your heating system can cause the humidity levels indoors to drop to uncomfortable levels.

You can turn on your humidifier during winter as soon as you start using your heating system/furnace or when the humidity level drops below 30%. Always ensure that you maintain a relative humidity level of 30-50% for best results.

Below you’ll find out the benefits of a humidifier during winter as well as if you need a furnace humidifier or not.

Let’s get started.

When to Turn On Your Humidifier During the Winter?

You should start to turn on the humidifier during winter when you feel that the air inside your home is dry.

You can however preemptively turn on your humidifier as soon as you start using your furnace to maintain proper humidity levels.

The best time to turn on your humidifier during winter is when the indoor humidity levels drop below 30%.

To measure the humidity levels inside, you can use a simple tool called a hygrometer. The recommended indoor humidity level is 30-50%.

Your humidifier can help aid in reducing dryness, and skin irritation. cold and flu symptoms, itchy throat, static electricity and even cracking wood and furniture from the dry winter air.

While a humidifier can be helpful, you must use it properly.

Always monitor the humidity levels inside of your home to ensure that the indoor humidity level doesn’t go above 50%.

Any higher and you can start having issues with condensation, bacteria, and mold growth and it can trigger conditions like asthma and allergies.

A humidifier can also be helpful during the summer if you find that your air conditioning is causing the indoor air to be dryer than you prefer.

Should You Use a Humidifier During the Winter?

When using your heating system, it will naturally dry the air inside of your home.

If you find that the dry air from your furnace bothers you, then feel free to turn on your humidifier as soon as you start using your heating system.

The dry, hot air from your furnace or central AC can also feel worse during the winter as the outside air can be dry as well.

Considering these two factors, a humidifier can be a great preventative measure to keep you comfortable all winter long.

When To Stop Using Your Humidifier in Winter?

You should always monitor the indoor humidity levels to ensure that they don’t go past 50%.

During the winter, you may experience days or even weeks where the outside humidity levels and outdoor temperature make it so you don’t need a humidifier.

If you find that you feel comfortable inside of your home without a humidifier during winter, then there is no need to turn it on.

If however, you start suffering from low humidity side effects, then you should continue using your humidifier.

Too much humidity in the air can be as bad as low humidity, so always monitor and adjust your humidifier to your preferences.

It’s not advisable to leave your furnace humidifier all night unless it is capable of sensing the humidity level and turning itself off when reaching the desired relative humidity.

Why a Humidifier is Important for Winter?


The outside dry winter air, as well as dry heat from your furnace or heating system, will dry out the air inside of your home during winter. This can cause dry eyes, dry skin, and even nosebleeds.

If you suffer from low humidity during the winter, a humidifier will help bring back the relative humidity to the optimal range of 30-50%.

You’ll also lower your electric bill by making the hot air feel warmer, resulting in less use of your heater.


While a humidifier can not only keep you comfortable during winter, it can reduce the following side effects of low humidity:

  • Cracked wood and furniture
  • Static discharge
  • Allergy symptoms
  • Dry throat, eyes, and skin
  • Bloody nose
  • Chapped lips

Humidifiers improve the health of the mucous membrane of your airway during the dry months.

With this in mind, you always need to take proper care of your humidifier by giving it proper cleanings or you may end up with a bacteria and mold problem.

Prevents damage to your home

Humidifiers can cause damage to the inside of your home by causing cracks in the wood of your doors, floors, and even furniture.

The dry air sucks out the moisture of these objects and can cause them to warp and damage.

A humidifier can prevent an expensive repair bill and will ensure that the items inside of your home stay in optimal condition all year round.

Does Your House Need a Furnace Humidifier?

If you’re finding that you’re suffering from low humidity levels or the indoor humidity levels are under the recommended 30%, then it’s recommended to get a humidifier.

You may not need a whole-house humidifier if you only spend time in a portion of your house.

If however, you have a larger home that has multiple people suffering from low humidity, then a furnace humidifier will save you money in the long run.

A furnace humidifier is also easier to use as you won’t need to have multiple units running and you won’t have to fill up the water tank often.

The downside is a furnace humidifier can be much more expensive to install over residential standalone humidifier.

Final Thoughts

The best time to turn on your humidifier during winter is by using your best judgment. If it feels dry inside, feel free to turn on your humidifier.

If you feel comfortable, then you don’t need to use the humidifier.

About Roy Cohen

Roy Cohen has a burning passion for heating, cooling, and ventilation. He aims to help you save money on expensive repairs and bring you the best HVAC products. He has years of experience behind him in HVAC repair and garage maintenance.

You can find Roy at his LinkedIn or his email: [email protected]

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