Here at the beginning of winter, you will benefit both yourself and your family by making sure your home’s humidity level is high enough throughout the entire heating season. Excessive dry air in your home reduces energy efficiency and home comfort, and can even affect your family’s health. You can help solve these problems by making sure your humidifier settings are at the proper levels.
Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air, expressed as a percentage of the total amount of moisture the air can hold. A relative humidity level of 30 percent, for example, means that the air contains 30 percent of the humidity it can hold.
Dry air – low relative humidity – is more common in winter, and it can cause physical conditions such as itchy skin; irritated, scratchy throat; dry, burning eyes; and sinus troubles and nosebleeds. It can contribute to respiratory infections and can aggravate allergies, asthma and symptoms of the common cold. Various types of disease-causing bacteria, such as pneumococcus, staphylococcus and streptococcus, are more likely to survive in dry, low-humidity environments.
In addition to health concerns, you are more likely to feel colder when the air in your house is dry. This is because dry air absorbs moisture from your skin, which has a cooling effect similar to that you feel when sweat evaporates. You may be tempted to turn up your heating system to compensate. In the long run, doing so means you expend more fuel than necessary to keep yourself comfortable, wasting both fuel and money.
Keeping your humidifier settings between 35 to 55 percent relative humidity (depending on outdoor temperatures) will reduce harmful bacteria in the air, alleviate physical conditions related to dry air, and will help you feel warmer while running your furnace at a lower level.
Since 1983, Overland Park Heating & Cooling has provided reliable residential, commercial, and industrial heating and cooling services to customers in Overland Park, Johnson County and the greater Kansas City area. Contact us todayfor information on home humidifiers and how they can benefit you.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about humidifiers and other HVAC topics, visit our website.
Glasco Heating & Air Conditioning services South Windsor, Connecticut and the surrounding areas.
Green house image via Shutterstock