From flakey, cracked skin to respiratory issues like nosebleeds or sinusitis – dry, winter air can wreak havoc on our bodies. Fortunately, there are many solutions out there that help curb these effects. Most of us already employ some of them every day, such as hand cream or lip balm. But a more effective option to combat winter dryness is a humidifier.
Below, Miles Service Cooling & Heating goes over the benefits of maintaining a balance of humid air in your home with the help of a humidifier this winter.
Why is Humidity Important During the Winter?
To understand the necessity of a humidifier or how they work, we first need to know how humidity affects us during the winter. The two main areas affected by dry winter air include physical health and indoor air quality.
Humidity and Your Health
Cold winter air is often very dry because cold air holds less moisture than warm air, making it low in humidity. For this reason, what little moisture is around, such as that found within our bodies, is quickly sucked up into the air. This can have negative (sometimes even dangerous) effects on our health. Here are some of the most common ailments caused by severely dry air:
- Sore throat
- Severe eczema or dermatitis
- Irritated eyes
- Increased stress levels
Humidity and Indoor Air Quality
You might think that one way to avoid the effects of dry winter air is by simply staying indoors. But dry winter air is not a strictly outdoor issue. It can also affect indoor air humidity, thereby affecting our health while inside our homes as well.
In fact, when this dry winter air makes its way indoors, it can cause your indoor humidity levels to drop to levels as low as 15 percent. When humidity levels fall this low, it can affect our body’s immunity to allergens, bacteria or viruses. The reason for this is once the mucous membranes in our noses dry out, then we lose the protective filtration system for your respiratory system. This is not something to take lightly, as low humidity can have detrimental effects on those that already suffer from compromised immune systems.
Also, aside from protecting our health, having adequate indoor humidity can also significantly reduce heating costs. Because humid environments create warmer air, homeowners don’t need to depend so much on their heaters. This also means your heaters won’t need to work as hard to maintain your comfort, which can help their lifetime and prevent repairs down the line.
How Can a Humidifier Help?
As suggested, humidifiers increase the relative humidity in the air by adding moisture that naturally depletes during the winter. The humidifier creates a mist and releases it into the air, which then increases the number of water droplets in your air. These water droplets are important as they determine relative humidity levels.
So, what’s considered the right humidity level? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests maintaining humidity levels between 30-60% to protect your home and health. You can measure indoor humidity levels by using a hygrometer, which serves as an indoor thermometer and humidity monitor in one.
Types of Humidifiers
There are many different types of humidifiers on the market to choose from. Here are the most common according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Portable room humidifiers: small, transportable humidifiers that help improve humidity in individual rooms; often referred to as “cool-mist” humidifiers
- Central humidifier: larger humidifiers built into HVAC systems; these are meant to increase humidity throughout an entire house
- Evaporators: use a fan to blow humidity through a wet filter or belt
Picking the right humidifier for your home is one story, but maintaining a healthy humidifier is another. With that being said, dirty filters in humidifiers can quickly breed bacteria and mold, often triggering flu-like symptoms or even infections once released into the air. Make sure to clean your humidifiers often and replace the water every day.
Contact Miles Service Cooling & Heating!
Are you interested in having a humidifier installed into your HVAC system? Or are you looking to learn more about which humidifier is best for you and your home? Miles Service Cooling & Heating is ready to help!
Miles Service Cooling & Heating has provided HVAC services to residents in the Pasadena area since 1982. Whether it’s heater repairs, heater maintenance, or even humidifier installation, Miles Service Cooling & Heating provides customers with quality work you can always rely on.
Contact us to set up an appointment today!