Keep Your Tenants Comfortable by Installing a Humidifier
As the temperatures decrease this season, we’ll be spending more and more time indoors where it’s warm. The heat will be welcome, but along with the heat will come another effect of winter: dry indoor air and the physical discomforts it creates. One of the best ways to tackle this problem is with a humidifier, whether it’s one directed at individual rooms or one large enough to provide a humidity boost to a whole building. Here is some background information on humidification and the use of humidifiers that you can use to improve indoor comfort for your commercial or residential tenants.
Why be Concerned about Humidity?
Humidity is the amount of moisture contained in the air. A certain amount of humidity is necessary to maintain the comfort level in an indoor space. Relative humidity is the amount of moisture in the air relative to the amount of moisture the same amount of air can hold before becoming saturated. An indoor relative humidity level between 40 and 60 percent is usually sufficient for most people’s comfort.
Low humidity can cause a range of problems for residential and commercial tenants, such as:
- Unpleasant, uncomfortable physical symptoms: Dry air can cause physical discomfort and symptoms such as dry skin, itchy eyes, cracked lips, coughing, and irritated throats and nasal passages.
- Increased perception of cold: Dry air will absorb some moisture from the skin, which produces a cooling effect similar to what happens when perspiration dries. This will make the room feel colder than it actually is.
- Damage to furnishings and objects: Dry air can cause furniture, wood paneling, wood flooring, and building frames to warp and crack.
- Increased static electricity: Dry air promotes more static electricity, which causes those unpleasant shocks that occur when touching a metal object. Static electricity can also damage electronic devices such as phones, computers, and video equipment.
Sources of Low Humidity
- Dry winter air: Air in the wintertime naturally becomes drier, which will decrease the amount of humidity in both indoor and outdoor air.
- Ventilation: Ventilation in the winter can allow some indoor moisture to exit the indoor environment with stale air.
- Opened doors: A business with doors that are continually opened and closed will lose moisture through the doorways.
- Air leaks: Air leaks in the structure of the building can cause the loss of warm air and indoor moisture.
Using Humidifiers to Control Humidity
Humidifiers add moisture to the air inside a building, increasing humidity levels and reducing the effects of dry air. There are two common types of humidifiers that you can use in a commercial or residential environment.
- Whole-building humidifiers: Whole-building (sometimes called whole-house) humidifiers are designed to increase humidity levels throughout an entire structure. They are designed to divert the airflow from the building’s heating system through the humidifier. Inside the humidifier, moisture is added to the air. The humidified air then travels on through the HVAC system, into the ductwork, and out into the building’s indoor spaces. Whole-building humidifiers are typically connected directly to the building’s water supply and will require professional assistance for installation.
- Portable humidifiers: Portable humidifiers are independent models that are intended to increase humidity in a smaller area, usually only a single room or a small space, such as an office cubicle. They add moisture directly through the air, usually in the form of mist or water vapor. Portable humidifiers can be easily moved from place to place, allowing users to increase humidity in areas where it is needed the most. Remember, however, that portable humidifiers are useful only in a limited area. They will also need to be regularly refilled with water.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on using a humidifier in a commercial setting, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!