Modern, airtight homes tend to have lower humidity levels, especially during the winter months. It may be surprising to hear, but inadequate exposure to humidity can cause various health problems, especially in sensitive individuals. Here’s why, and what you can do about it:
Why Your Home’s Humidity May Be Too Low
A hygrometer can measure your home’s humidity level. If it’s less than 40 percent during the winter, you should take action to balance out your home’s humidity level.
Does your family suffer from dry, cracking lips, chapped hands and flaky, itching skin? Do they complain of dry and irritated sinus passages and experience frequent coughing, runny noses and irritated eyes? Low humidity may be the culprit. This is because lack of moisture can dry out the mucous membrane that lines the respiratory tract, and in addition to the symptoms above, can also cause cracking in the membrane that allows viruses and germs to gain entrance to our bodies.
What to Do
You can correct low humidity by boiling pans of water, opening the bathroom door after hot showers and by adding more house plants to your home. These measures may not be enough, however.
Installing a humidifier is the most reliable way to restore moisture levels. Portable humidifiers can help maintain moisture, but will require refilling. A whole-house humidifier is your best bet. Whole-house humidifiers cost more to purchase and install, but are very effective at controlling humidity. They’re plumbed into your HVAC system, so you don’t have to worry about refilling the water.
Whole-house humidifiers release a continuous mist or steam to moisturize the air, so it’s easier to breathe. What’s more, your home’s occupants will feel warmer when the air is moist, so you can turn down your thermostat a few degrees during the winter.
For more information about correcting low indoor humidity levels, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We have been serving Grand Traverse County since 1980.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about humidity and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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