When it comes to comfort, your home’s temperature is only one part of the picture. The amount of moisture in the air is just as important. The humidity level inside your home affects comfort but, more importantly, it affects your health. Installing a humidifier is one of the best ways to keep your home’s humidity at the correct level.
Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding if a humidifier is the right choice for your home.
Effects of low humidity on your home and health
Static build-up is one of the first things you notice when the humidity drops. Getting small shocks when you touch metal might seem like nothing more than discomfort. For your expensive equipment and devices, however, static electricity can lead to damage.
Low humidity also causes the dreaded “winter skin” which can become painful as your skin cracks and opens you up to infection. Not only does your skin dry out, but so do your nasal membranes. This increases your susceptibility to colds and other respiratory illnesses.
Damage to furniture and your home’s structure can occur if the air is so dry that it begins to remove moisture from wood. Your floors may begin to creak more and your doorways might warp slightly. This is something that happens over time so you may not notice it right away. To prevent damage and keep your home in good shape, you need to maintain the correct humidity levels.
How much humidity should you aim for?
The ideal humidity range for your home is 40-50% in the summer and 30% in the winter. The slightly lower percentage in winter is to prevent condensate from forming on cold windows. Typically for the colder months, low humidity is the issue since cold air holds less moisture.
Choosing the right-sized humidifier
To get the right amount of humidity, the first step is to install a humidifier that is the correct size for your home. A professional usually calculates the required pounds per hour (lb/hr) of moisture or steam to be added to the air. The amount of moisture needed is based on the temperature of the air entering your furnace (a mixture of outdoor air and return air from your home) as well as relative humidity. Moisture is then added to get humidity levels up to where they should be. Having a humidity sensor ensures your humidity levels do not get too high or too low.