Here in Alabama, we are no stranger to humidity. It’s what makes our summers so unbearable and our snow wet enough to make a snowman (on the rare occasion that we get snow). But in the winter, the natural humidity level drops significantly, making our homes feel less comfortable as the heat blasts through our vents. Increasing the humidity can have many benefits in regards to comfort, health and cleanliness. There are many easy ways to add humidity to your house, so that you can be comfortable in your home all year round. If the discomfort in your home is due to heating issues, contact Mainline Heating and Air Conditioning in Alabaster, AL for your heater repairs.
The Benefits of Balanced Humidity
A home with a balanced, healthy humidity level can have numerous benefits. The ideal humidity level is about 45% and if your home humidity level stays around that percentage, your living environment will be cleaner, safer, healthier and more comfortable. How do you know what the level is? You can add an indoor weather meter to give you accurate readings of the interior temperature and humidity levels in the home.
The benefits of balanced humidity levels this winter include:
- Prevention of common illnesses- Cold and flu viruses are transmitted more easily in dry air.
- Prevention of sore throats and headaches; decreased contact lens discomfort.
- Better control of dust- An ideal humidity level helps to keep dust, allergens and pollutants out of the air, making the air cleaner and healthier to breathe.
- Hydrated skin- Many of us suffer from extremely dry hands during the winter, no matter what we do. Increasing the humidity in your home can help prevent the symptoms of dry, irritated skin.
- Furniture left in better shape: Extremely dry air can be hard on wooden furniture, hardwood floors, pianos, and more. Proper humidity prevents warping or cracking.
- Reduced electrostatic shocks: Ouch! Getting shocked by almost everything you touch is just plain annoying. Dry winter air makes the ideal conditions for those annoying little shocks we get when we touch certain surfaces. Prevent this by increasing the home’s humidity.
How to Increase Humidity Levels in Your Home
There are many practical ways to add humidity to your house. Here are our favorite easy and creative solutions:
- Use a humidifier
This is the most obvious and perhaps the easiest solution for controlling the house humidity in winter. There are smaller, portable units for small areas like a bedroom. You may even already have one for when someone in your home gets sick. You can also have professionals install a whole-home system. The whole-home option is more efficient at ensuring an exact humidity level to keep you comfortable and healthy. This is your best option for the ultimate in humidity control.
- Add some houseplants
They help purify the air and add to the humidity level while adding to the decor and ambiance of your home. Properly watered plants will release vapor from the leaves and stems into the air. Palms, philodendrons and Chinese evergreens may be the best for humidity control. Tropicals with large leaves, and plants that do well in dry conditions.
- Boil water and cook using the stovetop
When you use the stovetop for cooking and boiling water, you’ll release steam into the air while you prepare your food or boil water. Simply using the stovetop more often than the microwave will help improve your home’s humidity level.
- Hang dry your laundry
Forget the clothes dryer and try hanging up laundry inside for a little while. The moisture will evaporate into the air of your house. You’ll also save on energy costs by reducing your dryer usage.
- Use shower steam
Any time you take a bath or shower, some steam is released into the air. Make the best use of this extra steam by opening the bathroom door, if privacy allows for it, or just keep the door and shower curtain open after you’re done. Don’t use the built-in bathroom fan, as this is designed to suck the excess moisture from the air.
- Let bathwater cool off before draining
As long as the water from a bath remains warm, it’s contributing moisture to the air. So, let the bathwater sit and cool completely before draining, and you’ll get the benefit of that added moisture. There’s nothing like a hot bath during the cold winter months, and it can even be useful after you’re finished bathing.
- Upgrade doors, windows and weatherstripping
This not only helps keep in warmth and moisture, but also helps lower your energy costs, so it’s doubly helpful (and helps you get return on your investment). Mitigate this heat and humidity loss by installing newer, more efficient windows and doors. If new doors and windows aren’t in the budget yet, consider using weatherstripping or other means to seal up cracks and keep your warm, moist air inside and the cold, dry air outside.
If you find yourself with heating issues this winter, contact Mainline Heating and Air Conditioning in Alabaster, AL for your heater repairs. While low humidity levels can make the air in your home uncomfortable, going without heat when it’s freezing outside is worse and can even be dangerous. So please call us as soon as you notice that your heat has gone out!