The winter months can be some of the driest times of the year for the inside of your home. Depending on the age of your home, you can experience a range of issues related to humidity in your home. If you find yourself getting a nasty shock every time you flip on the light switch, or have breathing difficulties, your home may be too dry. Older homes face the issue of becoming too dry over the winter because of poor insulation. Cool drafts from loose fitting windows or doors can creep in and suck the humidity right out of your space. It’s important to understand what the hazards of lower humidity are in order to move forward with fixing the problem.
Why Is Low Humidity Bad For Your Home?
Humidity can be a tricky thing to monitor and maintain in your home. Too low and you face problems with asthma and allergy symptoms, warping floors and doors, and even extreme buildup of static electricity. These might seem like minor problems, that pass with the change of indoor humidity, but when you are consistently shocking all of your appliances or your pets, then maybe the pain isn’t worth sticking through. It could be time to put a stop to the problems.
- Dry Skin
- Chapped Lips
- Frequent Nosebleeds
- Excessive Static Electricity
- Warping Doors And Floors
- Asthma And Breathing Problems
The ideal moisture in the air rests somewhere between 40 to 60 percent for most people, though depending on personal preference, it could sit just outside of that range. Too much higher or lower and you begin to run into the problems mentioned above. There are some simple steps that can be taken to help balance your internal humidity before taking more permanent steps.
How To Maintain Healthy Humidity In Your Home
In older homes, low humidity is the most common problem. By checking your windows and doors to find any gaps where you’re losing humidity, you can make sure your home is also not losing excess heat at the same time. A quick caulking can do the trick around drafty windows or doors with minor gaps.
Shutting down those drafts prevents the loss of humidity, but sometimes you also need to introduce humidity. This can be done using a variety of ways. One is by boiling water on the stove or leaving the door to the bathroom open after a hot shower. These methods offer short boosts to interior humidity, but as they distribute throughout the home, their effect can be minimal.
Other options include hanging wet clothes to dry through the house or distributing bowls of water in each room. This can add to the overall humidity, but requires constantly checking the bowls. Also, you run the risk of knocking those over especially if you have children or pets in the home.
These tricks can help in the short term, but over a long period of time can become tiring or a hassle. It’s possible that stringing up wet clothing across your rooms isn’t a viable solution. If you do have pets or children, maybe the danger of spilling water all over your home isn’t worth the added comfort. Instead of putting weighted draft protectors around your windows and doors, you could replace them for a more secure fit. This again, prevents the loss of humidity in a more permanent way, but doesn’t do much to add to the humidity.
Integrated Humidifier Solutions
To consistently add to the humidity of your home, the best solution is to use a humidifier. These are specifically designed to disperse humidity into the air, and are usually a closed system that doesn’t risk spilling water like open cups or bowls. Depending on the complexity of the dehumidifier, you may be able to program timed cycles or have it maintain a specific level of humidity.
If you have central heating and cooling systems, it’s possible to install a central humidifier that automatically adjusts to maintain a specific and healthy level of moisture in the air. These systems are more expensive than the smaller models designed to work for a single room, but when you consider that it can take care of the whole home, the cost is easily worth it. Instead of ducking damp laundry strung across your living room and shocking your cat when you go to pet them, you can enjoy the benefits of automating control of your indoor humidity.
If you install a humidifier as a part of your central system, you can also integrate a humidistat. In the same way a thermostat monitors your home’s temperature and tells your heating and cooling system to turn on, a humidistat tells your central humidifier to kick in to balance the moisture in the air. This also makes it possible for you to get an idea about what a comfortable humidity percentage is comfortable for you!
Having a humidifier installed is a direct fix for the low humidity, but after having it installed, be sure to keep it well maintained. Scheduling regular maintenance can ensure that your humidifier continues to monitor your air moisture properly and prevents it from building up layers of residue. Without proper maintenance, any humidifier (not just a central one) can begin to introduce unpleasant smells and even spores into the air.
For the smaller, room-based humidifiers, you can do the cleaning and maintenance yourself. With the larger integrated systems however, a professional is your best bet, as they have the proper tools and training necessary to thoroughly clear out your system.