Are you more forgetful in the winter than you think you should be? Do you often feel lethargic during the colder months? If you find yourself wondering why, it’s time to consider winter season humidity. Poorly regulated indoor humidity has been tied to forgetfulness and fatigue. If low humidity is causing these things, there are some simple things to do to get it under control this winter.
Winter Season Humidity Levels
Summer is often warm, and with the warmth comes an increase in that sticky, muggy, heavy weather. That’s humidity levels rising. Temperatures then drop in the winter, and so too does the humidity. This leaves the air feeling dry, crisp and even bitter.
Humidity is simply the amount of water vapor found in the air. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air. Too little and it can dry out your skin, nasal passage and throat. This dry feeling can cause a plethora of health and home problems. The ideal indoor humidity range is between 40 to 60%. It’s important that your home stays within this optimized range.
The Dangers of Low Humidity in Freezing Climates
There is a difference in temperature and humidity concerns between temperate climates and freezing climates. However, dangers of low humidity exist in both. When the weather is bitterly cold, and humidity all but disappears, the primary danger is dry skin. While this doesn’t sound terrible at first, it can lead to serious itchy and rashy skin and even eczema. For those already suffering from eczema or related issues, low humidity is an added complication.
Low humidity also leaves us more susceptible to colds and infection. The flu is often worse in the colder months. That’s because the flu virus, and others, thrive in dry weather.
Another danger of low winter season humidity is the effect it has on wood. Many things we use in our daily life are made out of wood like furniture, wood floors or even the home itself. Wood retains moisture, and in the summer, moisture expands. In the cold months of winter, the wood loses moisture and shrinks. Sometimes the process is enough to crack or break the wood and cause significant damage. This results in expensive repairs.
The Benefits of Controlling Humidity
There are several benefits from taking control of the humidity levels inside your home. Studies show occupants sleep better when in the optimal humidity range. They also show a reduction in snoring, which might help your spouse sleep better too.
The right amount of moisture in the air also leads to healthier skin. It’s almost an all-natural moisturizer. Dry air is full of static electricity, leading to frizzy hair and potentially zapping others. While this isn’t much more than an annoyance most times, it can impact electronic devices and causes frustrating dry lips and skin.
Optimal humidity levels can also provide significant relief for those that suffer from allergies. By creating an ideal humidity environment, you also reduce the risk of airborne illnesses. Bacteria and viruses cannot thrive in a properly humidified home. This is particularly helpful during the winter season when illness is more prevalent.
A properly humidified home is also easier to keep the temperature regulated in. This makes it more efficient and adds longer life to heating and A/C systems.
How Can I Control Humidity?
While we can’t control the outdoor humidity, we can do something about it indoors. There are simple small steps like house plants that can provide extra humidity. This, however, is difficult to measure, and the effect is usually small.
Portable humidifiers help create moisture, but are limited to the room it’s used in. Of course, you can move a portable humidifier around the house as you move, but that can be cumbersome. It also only improves air quality in a single space at a time. Plus, you need to give the humidifier enough time to produce moisture to make the room comfortable. Depending on the size of the humidifier, this might take an hour or longer. (Not exactly a great solution when you’re ready to go to sleep!)
Rather, we recommend opting for a whole-home humidifier. Whole-home solutions are ideal because they actively improve air quality for the entire space, at once. They are also out-of-sight, out-of-mind upgrades. Whole-home humidification systems are installed directly to the HVAC system. This makes it a low-maintenance, but big-impact option.
Understanding how humidification systems work is important. Your home’s HVAC heating system will make the air in your home, which is already dry in winter, even drier as it warms the space. And as the colder weather causes us to rely on the heat more, it drives humidity levels even lower. This is where a humidifier comes in. There are two main types of humidification systems to combat winter season humidity.
Evaporative humidifiers increase humidity by blowing warm air over a wet pad. The water then evaporates and blends with the surrounding air, making the air more humid as it circulates. Steam humidifiers heat up water and then convert it into a vapor to effectively increase humidity levels.
Having the ability to add in the perfect amount of moisture during the cold winter months removes the problems that come with low humidity. Another benefit is that the added moisture makes the air feel warmer overall.
Finding the Right System
If you’re looking for an effective way to control winter season humidity in your home, contact us! At IAQ Works, we can connect you with professionals who are ready to answer all of your questions and the installation experts ready to help you reach your optimal comfort level today.