Winter can be a special time of year. The beauty of snow falling. The warmth from your working furnace or heater. And for those so inclined, there’s skiing, snowboarding and ice skating.
But with the beauty of winter comes changes to our bodies and homes. Dry air can cause health problems and make the inside air a giant grid of static electricity. Taking the appropriate steps to control the air quality of your indoor living space is a necessary and comforting task for all of us, especially those with health problems.
One of the best ways to improve the indoor air quality in our homes is with a humidifier. But what is a humidifier and why do we need one in the winter? Let’s explore what a humidifier is, and what it can do to improve our indoor air quality during the drier months.
What Is a Humidifier?
A humidifier is a machine that adds moisture to the air in a single room or an entire building. In the home, small humidifiers are used to humidify a single room, while whole-house or furnace humidifiers, which connect to a home’s HVAC system, provide humidity to the entire house. There are also larger industrial humidifiers that are installed in commercial, institutional, or industrial buildings as part of a larger HVAC system.
Several types of humidifiers are available for residential use. They all share a common trait of producing moisture into the air but achieve that goal with different methods.
Based on our experience in providing the best in home comfort across the Northeast Ohio we recommend using a whole-house humidifier.
Whole-house humidifiers work by adding moisture directly into your present central heating and air conditioning system. They regulate the overall humidity in your home and automatically add moisture to the system when your furnace or air conditioner kicks on. They differ only in how they introduce moisture to the system. The three most common types are drum, flow-through, and spray mist humidifiers.
Nearly all whole-house humidifiers are controlled by a device called a humidistat, which allows you to set the exact level of humidity desired. Depending on the type of system you choose and the size of your home, a whole-house humidifier will use from 1.5 gallons up to 12 gallons of water per day when the furnace is operating.
Why Do I Need One?
Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. The amount of humidity varies depending on the season, weather and where you live. Generally, humidity levels are higher in the summer and lower during the winter months. Ideally, humidity in your home should be between 30% and 50%. Humidity that’s too low or too high can cause problems.
Humidifiers are tools to add moisture back into the air. The benefits of balanced humidity can be measured by what happens when the humidity in our homes is too low. Many health problems can be traced to low humidity:
- Dry eyes
- Sore throat
- Dry nasal passages
- Bloody nose
- Make colds and the flu worse
- Chapped skin and lips
- Itchy, dry skin
- Worsened asthma and allergy symptoms
The best way to test the humidity levels in your house is with a hygrometer. This device, which looks like a thermometer, measures the amount of moisture in the air. When buying a humidifier, consider purchasing one with a built-in hygrometer (humidistat) that maintains humidity within a healthy range.
Humidifiers in the Home
What is a humidifier and why do we need one in the winter? The best way to learn about humidifiers, determine if you need one, and what type to purchase is to consult with a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional like those at Huge Heating & Cooling. They’ll provide an assessment of your indoor air quality and determine if a humidifier is right for you. Their over 50 years of HVAC experience and A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau means they have the knowledge and skills to recommend and install the right humidifier for you.