Is winter humidity an issue in your home? While indoor humidity levels can be too much in summer, indoor humidity in winter is usually a matter of too little. It’s a natural fact of physics that warm air holds water vapor more efficiently than chilly air. Therefore, air in the winter season tends to be dry both outdoors and indoors.
Humidity levels at 35% and below inside a house are generally considered too dry. Overly dry air within the indoor environment causes a number of issues for the structure of the house.
- Wood floors may splinter, causing gaps to appear between planks
- Drywall can shrink, causing cracks
- Wallpaper and paint peel easily
Inhabitants of the house are also affected when there’s not enough winter humidity:
- Dry air feels much colder than more humid air, and the house seems chronically less comfortable. Warmer thermostat settings are usually the attempted remedy. Unfortunately, more dry heat only tends to lower humidity further.
- Low humidity dries out the mucous membranes in the nose and throat, making individuals more susceptible to airborne viruses such as colds and flu.
- Dry skin is irritated and conditions such as eczema are more common.
- Shocks caused by static electricity are an annoyance generated by low humidity.
Keeping Indoor Winter Humidity Higher
- Because the furnace evaporates water vapor in the air, a lower thermostat setting is preferable to maintain comfortable humidity.
- Seal air leaks around doors and windows and elsewhere in the structure to allow dry outdoor air to infiltrate the house, making the indoor environment dryer too.
- Buy standalone room humidifiers to add humidity to single rooms and other spaces. These units are portable and affordable.
- Invest in a whole-house humidifier. Connected to the HVAC ductwork, usually in the attic, these large units include a humidistat that continuously monitors indoor air and maintains precise humidity settings automatically.
For more options to support comfortable winter humidity levels inside your house, talk to the experts at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.