Balancing Home Humidity During Winter for Optimal Air Quality
Home humidity during winter takes a one-two punch from both climate and heating systems. First, cold winter air is usually much lower in relative humidity than other seasons. As it naturally enters your home when doors or windows are opened, this dryness lowers the overall interior humidity. Second, standard forced-air heating systems draw air for the combustion process from the interior of the home. Indoor air burned by the furnace is continually replaced by much drier outdoor air infiltrating the home.
The results of living with indoor relative humidity levels below the EPA recommendation of 35 to 50 percent are familiar. Discomforts such as dry itchy skin, sore throats and static shocks are common, as well as peeling paint, splintering woodwork and other structural effects. Some consequences of low humidity are less obvious. For example, cold and flu viruses actually thrive in drier air and dryness in the respiratory system makes many individuals more susceptible to these pathogens.
A whole-house approach to home humidity during winter treats the entire house automatically. Installed into your heating and cooling ductwork in the path of circulating air, a whole-house humidifier treats the entire air volume of your home as it passes through the ducts many times per day.
There are several other features of whole-house humidifiers that you should understand:
- The whole-house unit is connected directly to your home’s plumbing system. No daily filling or draining of water by the homeowner is required. Maintenance of most units is limited to an annual check-up and cleaning.
- The exact humidity in the home is selected at a programmable digital humidistat that works just like the thermostat for your furnace. Once the level is set, the humidistat activates the whole-house humidifier automatically.
- A home with humidity levels in the proper range heats more efficiently. This allows a lower thermostat setting and your furnace runs less. For each degree you lower the thermostat, you can reduce your heating costs by up to 4 percent.
For more of the benefits of maintaining proper home humidity during winter, contact the pros at Sobieski Services.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
Image Credit: Brother O’Mara