Texas has mild winters when it comes to snow, ice, and sub-zero temperatures but we still suffer the low humidity problems of our northern neighbors. When the outdoor humidity drops so does your indoor humidity leaving your home feeling dry and often uncomfortable. Lack of humidity or moisture in the air can wreak havoc on you, your family, and your home.
The most obvious health impacts are typically dry sinuses and nose bleeds, and dry skin that cracks. The latter is really aggravating for those with psoriasis or eczema. The real problem that comes with a dry home is much less obvious but much more threatening. Viruses and bacteria thrive in dry cold air. When there is a sneeze or a cough the viruses and bacteria stay suspended in the air longer in the dry air.
Your comfort is compromised with dry air. Static electricity is annoying, drier air feels colder than humid air, so you must crank the heat up a couple of more degrees to get a warm feeling. This results in higher utility bills, and that is uncomfortable.
Your home suffers as well. The moisture is sucked out of all your wood products. Your wood floors shrink and get gaps and cracks in them. Doors shrink and don’t operate properly. If you have a piano, fine guitar, or violin you know how quickly low moisture can ruin these prized possessions.
First, understand the primary cause of a dry home. It is usually the warm humid air escaping your home and being replaced by dry, cold outside air. Yep, you are heating the outdoors. Most homes are poorly sealed (even the new ones) and poorly insulated.
You can add humidity to your home thru mechanical means typically with a humidifier. This can be a tabletop-type humidifier that will help with one room or a whole house humidifier that is part of your HVAC system. The ideal winter, indoor humidity is 35% or higher. In January and February, we will see levels drop below 15% without some means of adding humidity.
The room humidifiers are economical costing less than $100 for a respectable unit and you can install them yourself. Just fill it with water and plug it in essentially. The downside is you will need one for every room you occupy, and these small appliances usually are only good for two or three seasons. They require regular cleaning which can become aggravating.
The whole home humidifying system is a steam humidifier that integrates with your HVAC system and is typically installed by a professional. It needs an electrical and a water source and is tied into your air distribution system. The cost is around $4000 but depends on the size of your home and the number of HVAC systems you have. This may sound expensive but considering the long-term savings, most find it to be the most economically sensible solution. Less sickness in the home means less spent on over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, and Doctor, visits. Less spent on skin moisturizers and lotions. A comfortable home with the thermostat 2 degrees lower means lower utility bills.
Here are a few tips.
Have a design specialist design a humidifying system for you at no charge and you can decide if that is the solution for you.