Imbalanced, improperly managed indoor humidity does more than just make you feel hot and sweaty in the summer. 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.
From our home base here in Hoffman Estates, IL we work with homeowners all over the Fox River Valley to control the humidity in their homes.
During the summer and fall, we’re pulling the humidity out of your home, but once summer’s over, we do our best to make sure your home has a healthy balance.
Here’s the thing: cold air is dry air. The lower the temperature, the less water vapor the air is able to hold.
In places like East Dundee, Buffalo Grove, and Carol Stream, this is absolutely a problem. That’s thanks in large part to our geographic location in the Midwest, not to mention how close we are to Lake Michigan, it’s not uncommon to for temperatures to drop average as low as 12 degrees in January and February.
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 less air flow. You’re stuck with dry heat.
That’s where humidification systems come in handy.
At Compass Heating and Air Conditioning Inc., we often work with flow-through models. These systems bolt right on to your furnace. That way, the humidity throughout your home is treated.
This way, there’s no dealing with cleaning out tanks and buying smaller units for each room.
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.
A big selling point for these guys is the humidifier effects on asthma and allergies. For people who suffer from these, controlling the indoor air quality and moisture is huge.
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. For one thing, air that’s too dry causes your throat to swell. If you’re already having trouble breathing, that’s going to make it even worse.
That’s 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’ll have dust and other allergens hanging in the air.
But, controlling the moisture is important. You want to have enough to keep all your breathing passages clear and comfortable. And, the air can get way too dry in the winter for that to happen.
Your skin needs plenty of care, especially in the winter. 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, humidity can help. When your skin dries out, it starts to crack. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s not fun to look at. And, it can make your skin look older.
People with eczema often have flare-ups in the winter. 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.
If the air is too dry, your body wants more of it. But, that leads to congestion. So, you’ll want to make sure there’s enough moisture in the air. That way, you don’t overproduce and get stuffy.
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.
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 humidifier 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.
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.
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.
Compass Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. is well-known in the Fox River Valley 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.