Keeping humidity at optimum levels in our homes is very important during winter. A faulty heating system can exacerbate the issue. The ideal in-home humidity level should be about 45%. Anything less than 30% is too dry, and above 50% is too high. The right humidity level is good for your skin, throat and your overall health. It has also been demonstrated that too low humidity levels may make your furniture deteriorate faster and certain germs will highly thrive.
During winter, humidity levels will drop since the furnaces use combustion to generate hot air. This burns out most of the water content that was present in the first place. Furthermore, when humidity levels fall, the ambient air will feel cooler occasioning turning up more heat to compensate. This even worsens the situation making the air even drier. This can cause your heater to work double time increasing the chance of break down and the need to repair your heater.
Low humidity usually results in static electricity that dries your skin and hair, increasing susceptibility to colds and other respiratory illnesses, and may allow germs and viruses to thrive.
The following are some tips that will help to keep your home comfortable:
You may add a little moisture to the air within your home by simply positioning a vessel of water next to your heating system or radiator. Decorate your rooms with flower vases, bowls of fruit, bowls of water. Ensure you refill water regularly to ensure the moisture evaporates in to the air and improve the humidity.
Hanging wet towels or clothes around your room to dry overnight will also introduce moisture to the air, in addition to saving energy you would have spent on the drier. This is a natural low-tech method and the moisture content control will depend on the size of rooms.
If you ever use bath tabs, leave the water in your tub after bathing. Allowing it to sit and completely cool down will allow more moisture to get into the air. Do not leave the bath water unattended if you have little children as this may be hazardous.
Cook on the stovetop: This is a cozy practice especially during cold winter weather that will release moisture in to your home. If you are preparing something that can be cooked on the oven or the stovetop, go for the stovetop when the internal air is dry.
Portable/Room Humidifier: This is the most commonly used type of humidifier. They come in two models: warm mist and cool mist. Both of these use a reservoir for holding water. Warm mist humidifier has a heating element that warms the water and disperses it to the air. The cool mist model uses a wick for absorbing water and a fan for blowing air through a moistened filter. The air evaporates some of the water in to the room as it passes through the filter. The pros of portable humidifiers are on the ease of use and affordable prices available. However, it has limited control and measure of relative humidity and the reservoir has to be refilled almost every 24 hours.
Whole House Humidifier: This provides the best and fully controllable humidity system. It is usually connected to the furnace and the vapor is directly distributed into the heated air which is then circulated throughout your home via the duct system. The system can however be expensive and requires additional cold water connection and space for the humidifier unit.
Humidity plays a bit part in the comfort of your home during winter. It is important to have your ducted heating systems serviced in order to make sure that they are running effectively and not drawing too much moisture from your home environment.