Many people look at dry indoor air in the winter as a harmless nuisance, but in reality, air that has less than 30 percent humidity is not healthy. It's a more hospitable environment for viruses and other unwanted micro-organisms that are anything but hospitable to you. A whole-house humidifier makes it easy to reduce the risk of spreading these health-threatening particulates through your home. When people who have the flu or another virus sneeze or cough when the air is cold and dry, the water that coats the viruses or bacteria evaporates quickly, leaving the actual germ exposed, which hastens transmission from one person to another.
Dry indoor air also increases the risk of chapped skin and respiratory irritations, and it can lead to painful skin cracks, increasing the risk of skin infections. A whole-house system in homes that have forced-air heating systems is the simplest and healthiest way to humidify the air. Portable systems work fine for small spaces, but they require frequent cleaning to reduce the risk of mold and bacteria growing in the water tanks, and may require daily filling with distilled water, which is expensive.
A whole-house humidifier typically is installed next to the furnace or heat pump air handler and delivers a measured amount of water vapor to your air whenever the HVAC equipment runs. It's controlled by a humidistat, just like a thermostat, and when your home needs more moisture, it turns the humidifier on. You can set your preference for the amount in your air. Some humidistats monitor the outdoor temperature, varying the amount of water vapor based on outdoor temperatures, which helps avoid water condensation on the colder windows.
Not only will you be more comfortable and healthier, your home benefits from a whole-house humidifier as well. Static electricity can damage electronics with low-voltage components. When the humidity is low, anything made from wood in your home can crack and even be permanently damaged. Wooden musical instruments need more frequent tuning, and wood floors and cabinets can shrink.
Increasing the humidity in your home during the winter also can save on your energy bills. Humid air feels warmer than dry air, so if your air is properly humidified, you can turn down the thermostat a few degrees.
If you would like to learn more about a whole-house humidifier, contact Joe Behr Plumbing & Heating. We've provided plumbing and HVAC services for the Mid-Ohio area since 1965 and can help you solve the problems that dry air creates.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Mid-Ohio area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about whole-house humidifiers and other HVAC topics, visit our website.