Low humidity is much to be desired in the summer, as the damper the air, the warmer we feel. But in winter, it’s another story. Low humidity can spawn a whole spectrum of problems, including skin and respiratory issues. It can even increase our chances of getting sick.
Here’s the lowdown on low humidity in the wintertime:
When Can Humidity Be too Low?
You know first hand the effects of low humidity in your home in the winter. Cold air holds less moisture than warm air, so the humidity is low to start with. Then, with the heating running continuously, you’re making conditions even dryer, and setting the stage for these irritations:
- chapped lips
- dry skin
- dry, irritated mucous membranes
- aggravation of respiratory illnesses, such as allergies, asthma and rhinitis
- itchy or dry eyes
- sore throat
When mucous membranes dry out, they can crack and make it easier for opportunistic germs to enter our bodies, leading to colds and flu. Further, dry air actually promotes the transmittal of the flu virus from host to host. In wetter air, when a host coughs and launches flu viruses into the room, they are more likely to sink by landing on droplets of moisture. In dryer air, they can travel farther, and possibly reach another host with greater ease.
You don’t really want the humidity in your home to fall below 40 percent in the wintertime. Buy an inexpensive hygrometer, which will measure relative humidity in the home, and then take measures to raise the humidity as needed.
There are some easy home remedies that will help, such as adding plants, boiling water on the stove, or taking long showers and letting the vapor waft through the house. However, these will probably not be adequate. Even portable humidifiers, while helpful, will probably not do the job.
For best results, look into installing a whole house humidifier in your HVAC system, so you can precisely regulate the amount of humidity in your home.
To learn more about low humidity, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We serve greater Indianapolis with pride.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).