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Fight Dry Air with a Humidifier

Valerie Johannsen People & Brand Manager

The weather is going to grow colder soon, and homes will switch from cooling to powering up their furnaces and warming their homes.  The fall is a great time to get your home ready for winter.  Updating insulation, inspecting the furnace, and cleaning out filters in advance of that first burn of comforting heat are a great use of time before the actual cold settles in.  But there’s one thing about winter heating that’s often forgotten, and it’s that furnace heating does an incredible job of drying out the air in your home oftentimes requiring a humidifier.

Using a humidifier during the winter will not only improve your relative comfort level, it has a chance at reducing your heating costs and improving your general health.

Effects of Low Humidity

  • Dry Skin
  • Static Fields
  • Temperature Feels Cooler

When the humidity is lower, your skin begins to dry out.

Chapped lips, flaky skin, and extra dandruff are all clear signs of below average humidity.  Mucous membranes are also susceptible and you’re more likely to wake up with a dry or scratchy throat.  This dryness doesn’t just affect people either.  The dry air can be damaging to some types of furniture, making leather a little less resilient, and will dry out plants more readily.  A simple increase in relative humidity alleviates the majority of these symptoms, stopping that winter dryness before it starts.

Winter also brings with it fantastic coats, warm sweaters, and an array of woolen clothing.  All of these items generate a great deal of static electricity.  As an added bonus, the drier your air is, the easier it becomes to generate the electrical potential needed for a static shock.  As uncomfortable (or funny, depending on who you are) as these shocks can be when you’re reaching for a doorknob or shaking a hand, they can be devastating to sensitive electrical equipment.  Any ungrounded device with a microcomputer can be completely destroyed by a simple static discharge.  Adding a humidifier to a house or room increases relative humidity and lessens the risk of damage due to static shock.

Adding a humidifier can save you some money on the cost of heating during the winter.  An interesting property of humidity is its effect on temperature.  If you’ve ever heard someone mention that “At least it’s a dry heat” they’re referring to how warm a location feels based on humidity.  As the percentage of humidity increases, it becomes harder for water to evaporate from the skin, making it more difficult for the body to cool itself using sweat as it normally would, so the higher the humidity, the warmer the relative temperature.  This is different from when it rains and the combination of water and shade reduces the relative temperature through cooling.

But how does this effect help you?

Consider this: When the temperature of a room is extremely dry, say 5-10% humidity, 70⁰ F can feel exactly like 65⁰ F.  If you increase the humidity of the room using a humidifier, the room will feel much warmer because it’s harder for water to evaporate. Keeping a room warm in this way saves on heating costs because the absolute temperature is lower, but the relative temperature feels warm using a low-energy cost humidifier.

One last thing we should mention.  Both heating and cooling units dry out the air.  Adding humidity back into a room comes with benefits, but it also makes it easier for bacteria and mold to grow on surfaces and in your ventilation system.  Just be careful about what percentage of humidity you allow in your home, and keep an eye out for problem areas that remain dark or damp.  Otherwise, enjoy a comfortable and cost-effective winter!


Heating and Cooling Des Moines Since 1997

At Service Legends, we take pride in heating and cooling Des Moines and the surrounding areas. Our HVAC services include furnace and air conditioner installation, repairs, maintenance, and tune-ups. Our lineup of Indoor Air Quality solutions includes whole-home humidifiers, air purifiers, and air filtration systems. We can even help with HVAC financing.

Call 515-657-6634 to contact our Home Comfort Heroes today. We’re standing by 24/7.

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