Published on December 20th, 2017
Temperatures are dropping and heaters are cranking out lots of warm air. My space heater is cranking out warm air as we speak. Cold air combined with heaters working to keep your home warm creates dry air. That’s because heaters reduce moisture resulting in dry indoor air.
You’re probably dealing with static shocks and other effects of dry air in your home right about now. What about the dry itch that seems to show up when you lie down to sleep? You just can’t scratch it enough to get it to go away! Dry air is a trigger of allergy symptoms in addition to dry skin, scratchy throats, and irritated nasal membranes. Even wooden furniture and flooring can be damaged as a result of dry air.
But did you know that the most common cause of low humidity levels in the home is air leakage? As cold air enters your home and heats up, it leads to a drop in relative humidity. If there’s a significant amount of air leakage in your home, a humidifier is merely a band-aid solution. Check your home inside and out for air leaks where two different types of material meet. Look for cracks and openings (plumbing lines, fan covers on walls, furnace vent stacks, fireplace chimney siding) that could be sources of major air leaks in your home.
How to Get Rid of the Effects of Dry Air in Your Home
- Monitor the level of humidity in your home
The first step in fighting the effects of dry air is to find out and maintain a healthy level of humidity in your home. Levels that aren’t high enough fail in the fight against the effects of dry air while levels too high encourage mold growth and dust mite propagation. A hygrometer (humidity gauge) monitors the humidity levels. You can purchase them at hardware or home stores.
For those who suffer from allergy symptoms and asthma, experts recommend an indoor humidity level 40 and 50 percent. It is recommended that the rest of us start with lower humidity levels and adjust accordingly until a comfortable level is reached.
- Maintain the proper level of humidity with a humidifier
To alleviate the effects of dry air, humidifiers add moisture back into the air. We recommend the installation of a whole-house humidifier for greater ease and comfort, but there are basically four types of humidifiers:
- True steam or warm mist
- Impeller/Air washer
- Wick or evaporative
- DIY Hacks to Help You Protect Your Home and Family from the Effects of Dry Air
If you don’t have a whole-house humidifier installed, there are a few hacks you can try to put some moisture back into the air.
- Set pots or containers of water on vents, the stovetop, and/or your woodstove. Refill every few days as needed.
- Don’t turn on the drier. Dry clothes on a drying rack inside the house instead. If you’re all caught up on laundry and there’s no clean laundry to dry, place damp hand towels over heat vents.
- Buy a fish tank. The filter and bubbler will add moisture to the air.
- Set shallow dishes or vases without flowers in the sunlight around your house to add moisture into the atmosphere. Dishes and vases look nicer than pots and pans. Refill as needed.
- Eat steamed veggies, pasta, mashed potatoes, … Cooking meals on the stovetop instead of the oven combats the effects of dry air. Ovens dry out the air.
- Use a crockpot. When you fill a crockpot with water, turn it on, and leave the lid off, your crock pot will humidify the air. Refill with water daily.
- If your home is excessively dry, simmer water on the stovetop. Keep an eye on the water level so the pot does not go dry. Add cinnamon sticks, whole clove, orange and lemon peels, lavender, or other herbs or spices to scent the air.
- A wet sponge exposed to the air helps to increase humidity.
- Spray your curtains with a spray bottle.
8 More DIY Hacks
- If you have an electric dryer, vent your dryer inside. This a great way to add moisture and heat to your home. A simple kit catches the lint in a water-filled plastic cup while the exhaust blows hot, moist air into your home. Do not use this hack if you have a gas dryer.
- Shower or bathe with the bathroom door open. Even better, use a room fan to push the damp air out of the bathroom.
- If there are no small children at home, leave water in the bathtub.
- Don’t use the drying cycle on your dishwasher. Leave the door open instead. This allows steam to flow into your home. Air drying your dishes lowers your energy bill and saves you money.
- Decorate with houseplants. They are beneficial for many reasons. But adding humidity to the air in your home is one of them.
- Simply spray a fine mist of water into the air every now and then.
- Build an indoor water feature or add a fountain. Indoor waterfalls or decorative fountains optimize local humidity. The sound of moving water has a calming effect, too.
- Purchase a vaporizer. They’re inexpensive, require little maintenance, and work well to humidify your home.
When You Need More Moisture in the Air at Home
If you’re dealing with extreme cases of dryness, these common hacks and devices won’t cut it. You need the measurable and noticeable difference a little table-top device cannot provide. You need a whole-house humidifier. Installing a quality whole-house humidifier may set you back financially at first, but it has its benefits.
Dry air is an invisible enemy in your home. Put an end to:
- Waking up thirsty
- Dry skin that just won’t quit
- Costly damage to your home and belongings
- Dust Mites
- Increased allergy and asthma symptoms
- Even severe muscle cramps, heat exhaustion and/or fatigue.
Combat the effects of dry air with a whole-house humidifier. Call Blue Frost Heating & Cooling at (630) 631-9007 today and start living comfortably and healthy.