How to Measure Humidity Without A Hygrometer [ 4 Ways Included]

A hygrometer helps measure humidity levels inside your house. But what do you use to measure humidity at home if you don’t have this device? Thankfully, several other ways exist, including using your hair, phone, and ice cubes. 

Before going into details on how to test humidity without a hygrometer, it’s paramount to know why you should measure humidity in the first place. Both high and low humidity inside the house will put your family members at risk.

Too much humidity can cause allergies and destroy walls and ceilings. The excess moisture can also quicken the spoilage of food. On the other hand, too low humidity dries your nasal cavity, lips, and skin, causing sores and painful cracks. It can even destroy your furniture. So, do you know how to measure humidity at home?

Here are four simple ways to test humidity without a hygrometer.

1. Wet and Dry Bulb Temperature Test

Do you want a more accurate humidity measurement in the house even without the hygrometer? Consider using a wet and dry bulb temperature test. The bulbs, in this case, are thermometer bulbs, not your typical light bulbs.

You need two standard mercury thermometers. One thermometer should have a dry bulb as the other uses wet or moist cotton or cloth wrapped around its bulb or the bottom of the thermometer:

  1. First, select a room in your home to test its humidity. This room should have a fan. If not, bring in a fan and set it in the position where you’ll put the thermometer later as you carry out the test.
  2. Second, get all the mercury inside the bulbs, then shake the two thermometers well. Doing this should only take a few minutes to complete.
  3. Later, take a piece of cloth or a cotton ball and soak it in room-temperature water, but don’t let it get too wet. Once damp as required, place it at the bottom of the thermometer or around its bulb. This thermometer will now act as your wet-bulb thermometer.
  4. Don’t do anything to your second thermometer. It will act as your dry-bulb thermometer in this test. With the two thermometers ready, bring them to your selected room, placing them strategically with the fan pointing at them.
  5. After about five minutes, check the readings in these two thermometers. The difference you get after subtracting the wet-bulb temperature from the dry-bulb temperature gives you the humidity percentage.
  6. Now, note down the two recordings, the dry-bulb reading, and the difference between the two thermometers. Use them on any relative humidity chart to know your home’s relative humidity.

2. Homemade Hair Hygrometer

how to measure humidity in room

Did you know you can use your hair to make a hygrometer at home? Hair naturally contracts in low humidity and expands in high humidity. You can use this knowledge with a bit of creativity to test the amount of moisture in the air.

What do you use to measure humidity in your home following this test? You’ll need the following things:

  • Hair
  • A pin
  • A piece of paper
  • Cardboard
  • A blow dryer

With your requirements ready, here is how to test humidity in room.

Step 1: Make a Hole in the Piece of Paper

First, draw an arrow on the piece of paper and cut it out. Then, you’ll need to make a hole at the bottom of this arrow to act as your turning point.

This hole should be big enough, more extensive than a pin’s needle. The reason is to let the arrow move freely after pinning it on the cardboard.

Step 2: Pin the Arrow-Shaped Paper on the Cardboard

Now, passing a pin through the arrow’s hole, pin the arrow down on a piece of cardboard. Ensure the pin can spin freely without any friction.

Step 3: Wrap Hair around the Pin and Arrow-shaped Paper

Take hair and wrap one side of it around the pin, pinning it on this cardboard at the top of your arrow. Then, wrap the other end of your hair around the arrow. Consider using a long piece of hair. There you have it, your homemade hair hygrometer device.

Step 4: Blow the Hair Using a Blow Dryer

With the blow dryer at hand, blow the hair for about two minutes as you watch how it behaves. You will see that the hair is drawing back a little or retracting, pulling the arrow up. This arrow moves up to a 0% humidity mark.

Step 5: Determine the 100% Humidity Mark

Since you now have the room’s 0% humidity mark, the next step is to get the 100% humidity mark. This mark isn’t hard to get. You only need to moisten the hair by sprinkling or spraying a little water. Doing so makes the hair expand, dropping the arrow slightly. The point at which this arrow settles becomes the room’s 100% mark.

Step 6: Test the Humidity Level

Allow the above setup to stay in place for about an hour without changing anything. That way, it will give an accurate reading of the humidity level present in the air of that particular room.

Base your judgment on where you’ll find the arrow pointing between the two initial readings after this period has elapsed.

3. Ice Cube Method

how to measure humidity at home

Are you still seeking how to test humidity without a hygrometer? Try the ice cubes technique.

Using the ice cube method will only give you a rough idea about your home’s indoor humidity levels. Although you’ll not get readings similar to the first two methods, you can still tell whether the humidity is too low or high.

All you need for this method is a glass, water, and a few ice cubes. You can do this test at any time of the day. At the end of the experiment, you’ll base your judgment on the results indicated on the glass.

Avoid using this method to test humidity levels in your kitchen and bathroom. The reason is that the humidity in these two places tends to fluctuate a lot, which may provide a false output.

Also, forbid access to the room you’re testing until the specified time elapses. Moving in and out of the room may affect the results.

Below is how to test humidity in a room using ice cubes:

  1. The first step is to place a glass of water on a table in one of the rooms. Then, fill it with water and add a few drops of ice cubes. Let the setup sit for about four to five minutes before getting the results.
  2. Once this time elapses, check if a condensation process has occurred outside your glass. If there are drippings on the outside of the glass, then the room has high humidity levels. If you don’t notice any form of condensation or dripping, the room’s air is too dry, indicating low humidity levels.

Bring plants that absorb moisture if you find out that the room has too high humidity from the experiment. Such plants include orchids and Boston ferns.

However, if the room has low humidity, consider buying a humidifier since low moisture isn’t good for anyone in the house. 

4. Use Your Phone

With technology evolving rapidly, phones can be used for many things besides making calls and exchanging messages.

Testing your home’s humidity is another use for Android devices and iPhones. Smart devices can provide information about weather conditions around you, thanks to various ingenious apps.

To test indoor humidity levels using an iOS gadget, download Govee Home App from App Store, then purchase the Govee Bluetooth Thermometer Hygrometer.

Android users can download the Barometer & Altimeter app from their Google Play Store. Once you download the app, install it on your phone and run it to read the room’s humidity level at any time of the day. 

These are not the only apps you can use to get your home’s humidity levels. You can download and utilize several applications for the same purpose. The only downside is that they won’t give a more accurate reading as the two would.

The Govee Temperature Monitor and Barometer & Altimeter use third-party humidity measuring sensors, which other apps lack.

What Are Ideal Indoor Humidity Levels?

According to Central Heating and Air Conditioning, the average humidity levels in your home during summer should range between 30-45%. During winter, the average humidity may be lower than 40%.

Low indoor humidity occurs when the humidity levels drop below 30%. Such humidity levels are typical during winter and regions that experience frigid temperatures.

High indoor humidity occurs when the humidity levels exceed 60%. Expect such humidity levels during summers, when air holds more moisture.

Wrap Up

Controlling humidity levels in your home is vital. You protect yourself against diseases and keep your home safe against damages caused by high or low humidity.

You need a hygrometer to get an accurate reading of the humidity levels in your home. But do you know how to test humidity without a hygrometer? Fortunately, there are several alternatives. Follow any of the methods above to get an accurate reading of your home’s levels.

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Liz Yang is the founder of Airsmartly. She has been working at home for a few years and realizes that the performance of the HVAC system plays such an important role in our life. She has tested a lot of products in person, like humidifiers, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ACs, and wants to share tips about using or troubleshooting these products with you. Her uncle is an HVAC expert with over 30 years of experience in the field, and often offers assistance when she is unsure how to handle a situation. He is also in charge of reviewing the articles on this site.

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