Why You Could Use A Humidifier This Winter
If you live north of the tropics, low indoor humidity is a problem every winter. Cold air is drier because it can’t hold as much moisture as warm air, and indoor air that’s gone through your heating system will be just as dry. If the dry air is causing you enough problems, you can improve things by using a humidifier.
First, what problems does dry air cause?
- Static shock. You always notice more static shock in the winter.
- The tissue on the inside of the nose gets dry and brittle in dry air, often resulting in bleeding.
- Dry skin and hair. Your skin may feel chapped and sensitive, and your hair may become brittle or hard to keep tidy.
- Your sinuses don’t drain properly when the fluid dries too much, so your passages fill with mucus that won’t move the way it should.
- Wood damage. Wood floors and furniture can hand some changes in humidity, but if the fluctuation is severe enough, they can sustain enough damage to shorten their service life.
One way to tell if your air is too dry is if you experience these things a lot, but inexpensive hygrometers are available online which can give you an exact humidity number. You generally want indoor air between 30 and 50 on a hygrometer.
Well, they’re basically just devices that put more moisture into the air. Some are portable and you can put them into a room you want to humidify. If you want to raise the humidity of your whole house, you’ll want to consider getting a stationary humidifier installed into your HVAC system. The HVAC humidifier draws from the plumbing while the portable one uses a reservoir you have to refill. In either case, the machine puts water it into the air.
Steam humidifiers boil water into steam. This technically means you could just use a tea kettle as a cheap humidifier, but your stove probably uses more energy than a humidifier would, making the humidifier would be more wallet-friendly in the long term.
Impellers use centrifugal force to throw water through a diffuser into the air. Because of the fast-moving parts, these are some of the loudest humidifiers. Evaporative humidifiers wick cool water through a filter, often made of cardboard. Air cools and picks up moisture as it is forced through the filter. Ultrasonic units have a metal or ceramic diaphragm that vibrates at a frequency too high to hear. That vaporizes water droplets, which are then blown out as a mist.
So what benefits can a humidifier bring?
- Better health. Research has suggested that flu viruses thrive better in dry air than in humid air.
- Better sleep. Dry air dehydrates you while you sleep and you wake up feeling parched instead of well-rested.
- Better skin. More humidity will reduce chapping and soreness.
- Feel warmer. More moisture evaporates from your skin in dry air, taking body heat with it. With more humidity, you will lose less moisture and retain more heat, and may even be able to turn the thermostat down a little.
- Less static shock. Water molecules settling on surfaces can inhibit the buildup of static charges.
You can get these benefits in some parts of your house by running a portable unit or even boiling a pot of water. But the best and most efficient way to raise humidity throughout your whole house is to get a whole-house humidifier installed in your heating system. Give Twin Air in Manassas a call at (703) 754-1062 to set up a consultation about your humidifying options. You can also visit us on our website.