At JK Mechanical, our team is busy this time of year keeping our clients warm and comfortable throughout the cold winter heating season. In addition to chilly weather, however, cold outdoor air and the warm heat we use to keep it at bay can cause an uncomfortable lack of humidity. Just as it can be helpful to remove excess humidity in the summer to stay comfortable, adding humidity in winter can improve your family’s health and comfort all winter long. And while a portable humidifier can be a great way to boost humidity over the short term in a single location, a whole home humidifier has the benefit of adding consistent moisture to your entire home with less maintenance and less obtrusiveness in your space.
If you’re not sure if a humidifier is a necessary enhancement for your home, continue reading for five signs the JK Mechanical HVAC team suggest looking for that may indicate you need to add humidity:
Dry, Uncomfortable Sinuses or Chronic Congestion
The quality of our indoor air plays a huge role in our health, wellness, and comfort at home. Indoor air outside the “ideal zone” of 40-60% relative humidity can cause or worse sinus issues such as sinusitis, allergies, asthma, and congestion. Properly humidified air helps with cold and flu prevention as well: not only does quality humidity prevent the spread of airborne bacteria and viruses that can make us sick; it can also help moisten the air passages in our sinuses. Chronic nosebleeds and snoring can also be seriously exacerbated by insufficient humidity.
Did you know that dry air can make static shocks more common? “Static shock” is caused by the collection of extra electrons from surfaces and the air. Dry, cold air collects more electrons, which is why you’re more prone to static shock in the winter. By boosting the moisture in your air, you can avoid the unpleasant clings and zaps from static electricity buildup.
Dry, Flaky Skin and Lips
According to Harvard Health Publishing, dry skin occurs more often in winter because the water content of the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) tends to reflect the level of humidity around it. In other words, if your indoor air is uncomfortably dry, your skin will follow. While lotions and skincare can help alleviate the symptoms of dry skin, properly humidified air can improve comfort and stop dry skin at the source.
Bonus tip: Itchy, irritated skin can also be caused by water quality issues. If you’ve already tackled your humidity and are still noticing discomfort, it may be time to schedule a complimentary water quality test with one of JK’s experienced plumbing team.
Wood Floors and Furniture are Warping
You and your family aren’t the only ones that can feel uncomfortable in dry winter air. Just like our bodies, organic home furnishings and materials such as wood and paper can shrink, warp, or even crack if humidity is too low. Low humidity can upset your houseplants, too! Just as there are dangers in too high humidity for your home, too low can cause serious damage over time. Protect the investment you’ve made in your home and furnishings by maintaining balanced whole home humidity.
While whole home humidifiers don’t literally warm the air, they add water vapor, which holds more heat than dry air. (This is the same reason you may want a dehumidifier in the summer, when you want to avoid excess heat!) Properly balanced indoor humidity means that you can feel more comfortable even when your thermostat is set at a lower temperature, which is certainly a win-win. Plus, whole home humidifiers are very economical, running at an average of 25 cents an hour! For many homeowners, the cost savings of being able to turn down their thermostat by a few degrees more than offsets the cost of running a humidifier, in addition to all the other great benefits of properly humidified air.
The indoor air quality experts at JK Mechanical are available all year long to help ensure that you and your family are as comfortable in your home as possible. If you have questions about installing a whole home humidifier or any other indoor air quality concerns, talk to your JK Service Technician at your next appointment or contact us to schedule today.