As the piercing winter chill approaches, so does the dry air that can make us uncomfortable. In the dead of winter humidity levels can drop as low as 10%. It’s when this dry air enters our homes that we begin to experience that familiar discomfort. Dry, itchy skin, annoying static shock, dry nasal passages and sore throats are the typical symptoms of a Midwest winter. In addition to the tangible discomfort, our bodies become increasingly vulnerable to infections, dust levels increase, and woodwork can be damaged by cracking.
The optimal humidity in our homes for both comfort and health is between 30% and 60%, as shown in the chart below. Without a humidifier, in-home humidity levels can be between 10%-25% in the winter.
The only way to maintain the same comfort we experience the rest of the year is to add moisture to our homes in the winter. This can be achieved several ways. The simple act of running hot water or boiling water can temporarily humidify our air. However, this approach is not sustainable in the long run. Another possible remedy is to buy a portable room humidifier. If a homeowner wants to humidify only one room, portables can work just fine but there are a couple of drawbacks. The portable humidifier must be continually refilled with water and it can only handle small areas. Lastly, purchase a whole-house humidifier which gets installed on your air duct system. A whole-house humidifier taps into your water system and is able to distribute moisture throughout the entire home. Wherever you have air registers you have humidity!
A whole-house humidifier is our recommendation. It is the hassle free decision! No manual water refill is needed, and the capacity is there to handle an entire house vs. just a room. A whole-house humidifier will be more expensive than a portable unit but the ability to serve the entire home and not require constant attention to the water replenishment make it more than worth the cost. Don’t suffer another winter. Have a whole-house humidifier installed.