When the cold weather hits and the furnace begins to run, most of us accept the dry skin, static electricity and occasional sinus headache. The dry feeling we experience in the winter time is because of the low humidity prevalent in cold air. A constantly running furnace only exacerbates the problem.
Low humidity is actually more than a comfort issue, however, and it is generally advisable to take steps to get more moisture back into your home. Low humidity contributes to several health issues and can also be damaging to wood furniture, paint and your electronics.
The negatives of low humidity:
- Colds and flu due to viruses and germs thriving in dry air
- Dry sinuses and nasal membranes that cause headaches and nose bleeds
- Vulnerability to respiratory illnesses, allergies and asthma
- Difficulty fighting infection due to dry membranes
- Itchy, dry skin and brittle hair
- Static electric shocks
For your home
- Cracked wood furniture
- Gaps in wood floorboards
- Chipping paint
- Brittle and discolored photos and paintings
- Damage to electronics
Most people are comfortable if the humidity level is between 30% and 60%, although optimum levels are 45% to 55%. Levels outside this range leads to problems mentioned above when humidity is too low and such issues as mold growth, poor air quality and warped wood when humidity is too high.
The simplest way to combat low humidity during the cold winter months is to run a humidifier. Portable humidifiers are simple to run and easy to position in your home to provide comfort where you spend the most time. Air feels warmer with less static and most people report fewer headaches and nose bleeds and softer skin. Overall health also is improved, as viruses are not as prevalent in higher humidity and people are more able to fight infection when nasal passages and sinuses are moister.
For optimum humidity levels that are easily kept uniform, many families choose a whole house humidifier that works in conjunction with their heating system. Whole house humidifiers attach to the ductwork and dispense warm, moist air throughout your home. In addition to the health benefits, because moist air feels warmer, most families using them find they can keep their thermostat a few degrees lower, thereby saving some money on heating bills.
If you are tired of the consequences of dry winter air, contact the experts at Lew’s Reliable Heat & Air Conditioning for information on how you and your family may benefit from a whole house humidifier, or click here for details.