How Do I Increase The Humidity In My Home During The Winter?

Posted 11-20-09 in Indoor Air Quality
Controlling the humidity levels in your home greatly influences the comfort you will experience as well as save you energy and reduce maintenance. Your home will feel most comfortable at humidity levels between 30 - 50%. We need humidity for our comfort and health but too little can produce difficulties for homeowners.

When the temperature outside falls, your furnace runs more. In extreme cold conditions, your home humidity level can drop as low as 10 percent. By comparison, the Sahara Desert has an average relative humidity of 25 percent. When you consider that people generally are most comfortable when the relative humidity is approximately 40 percent, you can see how dry indoor air can take a toll on your family.

Low humidity causes static electricity, dry skin, lips and hair, scratchy throats and noses, and itching and chapping. Mucous membranes in nose and throat dry out, increasing your discomfort and susceptibility to colds and respiratory illness. With low humidity levels, body moisture evaporates so quickly that you feel chilled even at higher thermostat settings.

Your home suffers, too. Low humidity can cause havoc with woodwork and furniture. You'll notice hardwood floor separation and warping, your piano will go out of tune, wallpaper peels at the edges, drawers loosen and molding gaps start to appear.

A humidifier built into your heating and cooling system is the best long-term solution. The water supply is constant and it can be controlled by a humidistat mounted on your wall, properly regulating the humidity in your home. With the right amount of humidity, you’ll find that you can be comfortable at a lower thermostat setting. And that will increase your comfort as well as save you money on your energy bills.
Some other solutions are:
  • Individual humidifier units for rooms or areas in your home.
  • Boiling or cooking with the lids off the pans
  • Moisture from the shower or bathroom
  • Keep houseplants