Winter is on its way, complete with deep freezes, snowstorms, and the kind of temperature that can send the hardiest residents running for the fireplace. A quality heating system is absolutely indispensable during our long cold winters, and local homeowners are rightfully concerned with making sure theirs is running reliably before the cold weather hits. But temperature control is not the only aspect of home comfort that merits your attention this winter, and in the midst of your preparations, you might consider an addition to your home that addresses them.
Specifically, we’re talking about dry air, which can be a scourge for any home in the area and lead to all kinds of problems if you aren’t ready for it. You’re likely familiar with portable humidifiers, which can be used to treat sick people or to help plants thrive during the cold months. The same principles that make those devices so helpful can be applied throughout your home to help fight off the dry air of winter. Here’s a breakdown of how it works.
We measure humidity levels in the air in terms of relative humidity, which is expressed as a percentage. At 100% humidity, you basically have rain. At 0% humidity, you have no moisture in the air at all (something that rarely happens on planet Earth), As human beings, we’re usually comfortable when relative humidity levels sit between 30% and 50%. Unfortunately, it often gets lowered than that during the winter. As the temperature drops, the moisture in the air coalesces into liquid and leaves the atmosphere. (This is why you get dew on the ground in the early hours of the morning in the spring and summer). That means low humidity is a big issue in the winter and can lead to all kinds of problems.
What Kinds of Problems?
Problems associated with low humidity can include the following:
- Skin problems, including chapped lips and dry, itchy skin, created when the dry air pulls moisture off of our skin.
- Dry mucous membrane, which is one of our body’s natural defenses against germs and illness. That’s one of the reasons why winter colds are so much a part of the season (unfortunately).
- Static electricity. Dry air brings an increase in static electricity, and while no one likes those painful shocks, they’re unfortunately expected every winter.
- Damaged furnishings. In the worst cases, dry air can damage your furnishings, causing wood to wear out and warp, wallpaper glue to curdle, and the like.
- Higher bills. Dry air tends to feel cooler than humid air, which means your heater needs to work even harder than it normally would to make your home comfortable. If you have a forced-air furnace, that can compound the problem, since forced-air furnaces blow hot air to warm the home.
Whole-house humidifiers, which fit into your HVAC system, release vapor into the ducts that is blown through your house when you run the heater. You can tailor the settings to suit your needs, and eliminate the problems associated with high humidity.
For humidifier installation and repair in the Shawnee, KS area, call on the pros at MVP Electric, Heating & Cooling today!