The summer heat is gone, and most of us were glad to say goodbye to the high humidity that came with it. You know, the kind that causes that sticky, wet feeling, bad hair days, and keeps your air conditioning running on overtime. So why then, would you possibly want to use a humidifier in the winter?
Because even though you’ve switched the thermostat to heat, proper humidity in your home is still important. During the dry winter months, forced air heating systems can severely dry out the air in your home. Humidifiers are an excellent way to add essential moisture back into that air.
What are the benefits of properly humidified air?
Most doctors agree that a properly humidified home creates a better living environment by improving air quality. The National Institute of Health recommends using humidifiers to help relieve congestion from the common cold, flu, and sinus infections. Humidified air will also reduce the amount of static electricity, which can affect computers and printers in your home. And dry air often causes chipped paint, peeling wallpaper, cracked furniture. Moist air feels warmer than dry air (remember summer?) so increasing the humidity makes your home feel warmer.
What are the differences between room and central humidifiers?
If you have a boiler, which circulates heated water through radiators, the humidity in your home should maintain an adequate level. However, if you have a furnace, which blows hot air through ductwork and vents, the air inside your home could be too dry. For more information on the difference between boilers and furnaces, see Do I have a Boiler or a Furnace?
Humidifiers moisturize the air with water vapor. Portable, tabletop and console models humidify a single room or area. A central humidifier is hardwired into to your home’s heating and air conditioning unit and hooked into the house’s plumbing. Instead of only working on a particular room, these permanent installations humidify the entire house at once, making them extremely efficient. Portable units are less expensive upfront, but the electricity and water they use costs more in the long term. Central air humidifiers cost more initially, since you will need to hire a professional contractor for proper installation, but usually require less maintenance.
One of the biggest concerns with all humidifying equipment is health and safety. It’s important to make sure infection and bacteria are not introduced into the air by the water source. Portable units use standing water and need to be cleaned and distilled often. Central humidifiers are connected to your home’s plumbing and use filters to remove water pollutants before they are released into the air.
While we now know that some humidity in the air is a good thing, it’s also important to understand that excessive levels can make breathing difficult and allergy symptoms worse. To maintain a balanced and healthy atmosphere, experts recommend that humidity levels inside the home be between 30-50%. A hygrometer, available for purchase at most hardware stores, is the easiest way to check your humidity.
Levco certified technician’s are ready to help you determine which type of humidifier is right for your family and home. Give us a call today to discuss. Don’t forget follow us on on Facebook, to stay up to date on energy tips for homeowners in Fairfield County, Connecticut.
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