As the temperatures begin to drop and winter approaches, combined with the increased use of your furnace, it's important to be aware of the impact that the colder, drier air can have on your home. In many cases, low humidity levels can cause static electricity, cracks in woodwork, and irritate asthma symptoms. The level of humidity in your home can have a big impact on your health, the condition of your home, and your comfort.
Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor present in the air. Warm air is able to hold more moisture than cold air and that’s why we often feel sticky during summer. An indoor relative humidity level of around 50% is comfortable for most people. However, this range may vary depending on individual preferences and health conditions. As you flip the switch on your thermostat from the air conditioner to the furnace consider the impact of drier air and low humidity in your home.
Low Humidity Affects Your Health
One of the most common problems caused by low humidity is dry skin. When the weather is dry, there isn’t enough moisture in the air to hydrate our skin resulting in flaky skin that’s prone to cracking. This problem is further exacerbated when turning on our furnaces or by using space heaters, which strip away natural oils from our skin. Low humidity can also exacerbate respiratory problems such as asthma and allergies as it dries out the mucous membranes lining our noses and throats making us more susceptible to infection. Many people even wake up with nose bleeds and see an increase in headaches.
Low Humidity Affects Your Comfort
Another problem caused by low humidity is static electricity. When there’s not enough moisture in the air, triboelectric charging occurs when two different materials are rubbed together causing them to either attract or repel each other. This can often lead to an electric shock when you touch someone or something else. Just normal movement within your house can start including surprise shocks when we hit the cold season…
Low Humidity Affects the Condition of Your Home
Woodwork such as floors, doors, frames, and even furniture can also suffer from low humidity as the wood dries out and shrinks, causing gaps and cracks to form. Wood is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs or releases moisture from the air to maintain equilibrium. When there's not enough moisture in the air, wood will absorb moisture from its surroundings, causing it to shrink and crack.
It’s evident that humidity levels have a huge impact on both our health and home due to all these reasons. There are a few DIY remedies to help increase humidity levels. One way is to place bowls of water around your home, especially near any drafty areas such as doors or windows. Another way to increase the relative humidity level in your home is to use a humidifier but that’s only going to help a little and only for the room that it’s placed in. Even then it’s not going to overcome the Midwest Winter and heat of your furnace. The best way to solve this issue is to have a whole home humidifier installed in your home. Using a whole-house humidifier will mitigate these problems to a great extent and help ensure that your family stays healthy and comfortable all winter long! Give SS&B Heating & Cooling a call today for information.