It’s that time of year when the heater runs around the clock and the air in your home gets dry. While itchy skin and static can be irritating, the fact is, low humidity causes health issues and can even be damaging to your home and furniture.
Understanding how humidity impacts quality of life and how to achieve appropriate levels as the weather changes is key to keeping your family healthy and comfortable and will likely save you money too.
Humidity varies as air temperature changes because warm air holds more water and cold air holds less. In the summer, air conditioning removes humidity from the air, so it feels less sticky. Cold winter air feels dry and the heat running inside your home will make it even drier.
In general, a humidity level at 30% to 60% will feel comfortable to your family at any time of year. The optimum humidity level that provides the healthiest conditions for your family and the best protection to your home and HVAC system is 45% to 55%.
So, how do you achieve optimum humidity levels and are the benefits really worth the effort?
For many, the issues caused by low humidity go beyond comfort.
- Dry, itchy skin that can lead to rash
- Dry sinuses, sinus headaches, nose bleeds
- Static electricity that can cause painful shocks
- Thriving viruses and germs cause colds, flu and respiratory illnesses
- Increased incidence of allergies and asthma as dry membranes leave you vulnerable
Your home and possessions suffer as well, as wood floors, walls and furniture can crack, painted walls and surfaces chip, and electronics can be damaged from static electricity.
Your best solution is to use a humidifier during the winter months. Portable humidifiers are readily available and easy to operate, but a whole house humidifier is the surest way to achieve and keep a balanced level with minimal effort. Whole house humidifiers attach to your ductwork and blow moist air into your home, raising your relative humidity and reducing those problems that come with low humidity. Uniform humidity also maintains a comfort level with lower actual temperatures, so you can lower your thermostat a few degrees and save money.
The comfort benefits are obvious, as air feels warmer, static is reduced, and skin is less dry. Health benefits, however, are significant, including less risk of illness, since viruses do not thrive in moist air, and quicker recovery from infections as membranes are not as dry. Many people also experience sounder sleep and relief from snoring.
Whether you opt for a portable humidifier to increase comfort in living areas and bedrooms, or you choose a whole house system, be sure to first seal off your doors and windows, as well as gaps around piping and ductwork. Air leaking in from outside plays a big role in lowering humidity levels in your home.
Our experts can help you identify the best plan for your home. Whole house humidifiers work with the operation of your heating system, so humidity levels are maintained without the risk of mold growth and often reducing the spread of allergens. Contact our experts today for information about humidifiers for your HVAC system.