Updated for 2017
We don’t often think about the air in our homes. It’s just…there. But we should be thinking about it a lot, especially in the winter. Dry indoor air can cause big problems for our health and our home if we don’t do something about it.
So how do you know you need to do something about your dry indoor air?
Are You Experiencing a lot of Colds or Cold Symptoms?
Once winter rolls around, the number of colds we get shoots up. We experience:
- Dry eyes.
- Stuffed up noses – a shame when we want to smell all that holiday baking.
- A sore, scratchy throat that no amount of throat lozenges can soothe.
- Allergies – as if you didn’t already suffer enough in the spring.
Everyone knows that colds are caused by viruses. Cold viruses are less than 3 microns in size, and are easily transmitted from handshakes, utensils, doorknobs, and even the air we breathe.
One of our most important natural defenses against the cold is the moisture in our bodies. It sounds gross, but mucus in our noses, throats and sinuses help form a protective barrier against the incursion of infections. Even the natural moisture on the surface of our eyes helps.
But these natural layers can’t help us if they dry out. And this is what happens every winter when we turn on our furnaces. Furnaces will keep our homes warm and snug, but they will undeniably dry out your indoor air. In some homes, the air becomes drier than a desert, and you’ll become more vulnerable to colds, sore throats, and flu.
That’s right – your own air could be making you sluggish and miserable.
Please Note: You should always check with a doctor first when you experience cold and flu symptoms.
Is Your Skin Dry and Itchy?
Are you constantly applying moisturizer in winter, and still ending up with dry skin? How about constantly reminding yourself not to scratch your scalp or arms because you’ll only make it worse?
This is another symptom of dry indoor air, and can make winter the most unpleasant time of year.
Is Your Home Filled with Static Electricity?
Every time you touch your hair, clothes, or doorknobs, you get a sharp shock. It’s mildly surprising the first few times, but now it’s just plain frustrating.
You could be getting shocked so much because of your home’s humidity level. Without enough moisture in the air, static electricity increases. Your blankets and clothes stick together, and makes doing the laundry or making the bed a scary chore.
Your Home Humidity Level Should be Between 35-50%
The ideal humidity level in your home is between 35-50%. Most homes do not meet this level in the winter. It’s no one’s fault; drier outdoor air mixed with heat from a furnace is the recipe for dry indoor air.
To test the humidity level in your home, you should use a hygrometer. It’s an affordable hardware store purchase that will tell you whether your home’s air is in that sweet spot.
If it’s not, and you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, there’s a solution that will make you – and your home – feel so much better. We recommend installing a humidifier.
How a Humidifier Can Help You
A whole-home humidifier works with your furnace, and releases water vapour into the air. This may not sound like such an important job, but a humidifier can help you in a lot of ways.
1. Ease Those Pesky Cold Symptoms and Allergies
A humidifier could become the cure-all for your cold woes!
Those cold symptoms are your body’s – very mean – way of telling you it needs humidity. Once you start using your humidifier, you’ll feel a whole lot better.
2. Takes Care of Your Dry, Itchy Skin
When the air is dry, it tries to find moisture wherever it can – that includes you. The moisture from your skin is taken away, leaving you feeling dry, scaly, and uncomfortable.
A humidifier gives dry indoor air what it’s looking for, so it won’t take it away from you. While we still recommend moisturizing for healthy skin, a humidifier will go a long way towards helping to stop the itching.
3. Save You Money on Heating – Yes, It’s True!
We’re not pulling your leg – using a humidifier will actually save you money.
When the air is humid, it feels warmer. A humidifier will leave you feeling cozy and warm at a lower temperature, which means you won’t have to use your furnace as much.
When you don’t use your furnace as much, it doesn’t cost you as much!
4. Protect the Wood in Your Home
If dry indoor air is hard on you, it’s especially hard on your home. Just like dry air will pull moisture from you, it’ll do the same to the wood in your home’s flooring, structure, and furniture. This causes:
A humidifier will help protect your home from dry indoor air damage. It’s a worthy investment, particularly if you have a lot of wood flooring and furniture.
Change the Water Pad 1-2 Times Per Winter
Humidifier cleaning and upkeep is easy to do, and will make sure your home stays comfortable all winter. The majority of humidifiers use a water pad to add moisture to the air. All you have to do to clean it is to replace the water pad 1-2 times per winter.
If you have a steam-based humidifier, you won’t have to change anything, but you will have to monitor your vents to make sure there is no water scale buildup.
Start Feeling Better with a Humidifier
A humidifier will make you feel a lot better this winter if your home is suffering from dry indoor air. All you have to do is get in touch with us, and we’ll start you down the path to a more comfortable holiday season.
Are you in need of a humidifier?