When you think of humidity, you probably think of that hot, sticky feeling in the summer. The truth is, humidity isn’t a bad thing, and it’s very important in the winter too! In fact, you or one of your family members could be running into any number of problems if the air is too dry in your home during the heating season.
How do you know when your indoor humidity is causing you comfort problems?
- Dry eyes
- Increased incidences of bloody noses
- Respiratory problems, especially for allergy sufferers
- Dry, itchy skin – “winter eczema”
- Dusty house
- High static electricity
From our home base here in Havertown, PA we work with homeowners all over the main line and Delaware County to properly regulate the humidity in their homes.
During the summer and even in the beginning of the fall, we’re pulling the humidity out of your home, trying to bring down the temperatre and make you more comfortable. Once summer’s over, we do our best to make sure your home has a healthy balance. The humidity will naturally come down, so adding some humidity to keep your levels even is important.
Here’s the issue: cold air is drier than warm air. The lower the temperature, the less water vapor the air is able to hold, which is what humidty is.
In places like Bryn Mawr, Radnor, and Havertown, this is absolutely a problem. In the Northeast corner of the country, we the extremes from all 4 seasons. You always hear people talk about how the heat in Arizona is dry, and 90 there doesn’t feel as bad as 90 does here. That’s becuase we see the increased humidity in the summer, and the extreme drop in the winter. Other areas of the country don’t deal with the same swings in temps.
So, what do we do? Crank up the heat! But that air is dry, too. Now, you have an unnaturally low amount of moisture in the air.
And, of course, you’re not getting any more moisture from outside. Odds are, your windows are shut tight come December. There’s also less moisture and less air flow. You’re stuck with dry heat.
That’s where humidification systems come in handy.
At John Cipollone Inc, we work with whole home solutions that plug right into your HVAC system, or stand alone humidifiers that treat a certain area. No matter how much increased humidity you are looking for, we can help you make the proper adjustments to keep your home healthy.
But, why bother investing in any of these in the first place? Well, there are plenty of reasons, Let’s take a look at five of them.
Humidifier effects on asthma and allergies
A big selling point for adding a humidifier system for your home are the effects on asthma and allergies. For people who suffer from these, controlling the indoor air quality and moisture levels is very important.
Now, this can get tricky. Too much water vapor and you’re going to make things worse. In fact, we talked previously about reducing humidity in the summer for just this reason.
But, you don’t want to go too far in the other direction either. For one thing, air that’s too dry causes your throat to swell, and sinuses to act up. If you or someone in your home already has breathing issues, the dry air is only going to make things worse.
This is a big deal for people with asthma, and it affects allergy sufferers as well. Now again, you have to be careful. Too much humidity and you provide a space for airborne irratants to live easier. Too much water in the air provides a breeding place for allergens and airborne bacteria.
But, controlling the moisture levels can leave your home feeling better, and keep everyone inside healthier. You want to have enough moisture to keep all your breathing passages clear and comfortable. Don’t let that dry air take over your home and make you or your famliy sick!
Humidity prevents dry skin, eczema and nasal congestion
One of the most annoying parts of the decrease in humidity and dryness in the air are the effects on your skin. Your skin needs plenty of care. In the summer you protect yourself from the sun, and in the winter, we need to fight dry skin. Why do you think so many people use moisturizer? It’s not because they want to spend money on health products. It’s because they’re avoiding dry skin and eczema.
At home, adjusting to the proper humidity can help. When your skin dries out, it starts to crack. It’s uncomfortable, painful, and it’s not fun to look at. Also, it can make your skin look older than it is!
People with eczema have more flare-ups in the winter than in the summer. That’s partly from dry air. There’s also the problem of feeling cold. If you’re huddling up under a blanket, you could be exposing yourself to triggers. Humidity can help there too, and we’ll look at that a little later.
Meanwhile, your body produces more mucus when the air is dry. It may be gross, but remember: it serves a purpose. Mucus is there to coat and protect membranes in your throat, nose and other places. This helps keep you from a bloody nose or a swollen throat, but it becomes uncomfortable.
If the air is too dry, your body wants to produce more musus to protect itself. But, that leads to congestion, constantly blowing your nose, and just a general uncomfortable feeling! So, you’ll want to make sure there’s enough moisture in the air. That way, you don’t overproduce and get stuffy.
Reduce static electricity for comfort and protecting electronics
Here’s one that you might think is trivial. But, it’s really not. What we’re talking about here is static electricity. You know, those little shocks you get when you walk around with socks on the carpet. It also makes the hair on your arms and legs stand straight up!
You may notice it happens more in the winter. That’s because the dry air is a better electrical conductor than humid air. By introducing moisture to the air in your home, the humidity reduces the buildup of static charge in the air.
But, it’s not just about not shocking people — or getting that jolt yourself. For people, that’s just a minor annoyance. For electronics, it could be a death sentence.
You’d be surprised how badly some things can get damaged from static electricity. And, look at all the smaller, delicate things we use now. We’re talking smartphones and tablets especially.
Those are all electronics we’re constantly poking at with our fingers. You know, the same fingers we use to zap each other. All that extra current can take a toll. So, you want to keep it to a minimum.
A humidifier in winter saves you money on energy bills
We mentioned staying warm before. Now, let’s go into it a little more. Did you know using a humidifier in winter can actually lower your heating bill?
Like we’ve been saying, winter air is dry. And cold. Summer air is warm. And, it feels warmer when it’s humid.
The more humid it is, the warmer you feel. Air with more water vapor retains more heat than air with less moisture in it.
So, that dry heat you’re creating with a heater? It doesn’t feel quite as warm as air with moisture. This is the old “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” argument in a different light.
With that in mind, adding humidity in the winter can actually lower your heating bill. For instance, you can keep the thermostat at 65 but make it feel like 70. If you do that, you’re using less energy to keep the house warm, while also easing the work your heating system has to do.
Protect furniture, wall paper, and more by avoiding dry heat
Here’s one more that most people don’t think about: Their furniture and floors! The right amount of water vapor in the air keeps them from drying out which leads to increased contraction and damage.
People usually worry about wood products getting water damage. And, that’s definitely something that happens. But, there’s also a problem when there’s not enough moisture around.
The wood is kind of like your skin in that way. If it’s too dry, it gets damaged and cracked. That’s what you want to avoid in the winter.
Imagine the effect this can have on a fine musical instrument like a piano or a cello. Not good!
Now, once again, the key is to get the right amount of humidity. Too much, and you’ve got a problem. But, adding some in the dry winter months can go a long way toward protecting your antique hutch and hardwood floors.
John Cipollone Inc is well-known in the Havertown and Main Line areas for the work we do to improve the indoor air quality of our customers’ homes. You can click here to check out our online reviews, and contact us if you’re interested in adding a humidification system to your home.