As the seasons necessitate switching from the air conditioner to the furnace, keep an eye on your relative indoor humidity levels. In today’s post, M & M Heating & Air Conditioning Service Co. discusses the importance of maintaining the correct humidity levels during the fall and winter seasons.
Relative Indoor Humidity
Water cannot stay as vapor under low temperatures, which makes cold air a natural dehumidifier. This is why food that’s left in the refrigerator uncovered tends to dry out and why dry skin and eye irritation are common during the fall and winter seasons. The lack of moisture in the air also causes electrons to accumulate on other surfaces, resulting in static electric shocks when you touch your pet or a doorknob.
A humidifier helps compensate for the reduced humidity levels by periodically releasing moisture into the air. With a central heat and air conditioning system, a humidifier can be installed in the air handler, where a filter-like component adds moisture to the air as it passes through. A humidity sensor, typically located near or built into the thermostat, informs the humidifier when the desired humidity level is reached. Standalone humidifiers can also be used to humidify smaller rooms.
Other Ways to Increase Humidity
If a humidifier is not an immediate option, you can do the following to increase humidity in your home:
- Bowls of water. Many people take the DIY route by placing a bowl of water near the HVAC floor registers, or at a windowsill where sunlight would cause the water to evaporate into the air. When doing this, make sure the bowl is away from electrical outlets or at least in a spot where it won’t get tipped over.
- House plants. Plants help release moisture through transpiration. An additional benefit of having plants indoors is they help clean the air that you breathe by consuming carbon dioxide.
- Steam. The kitchen and the bathroom produce plenty of steam from cooking and bathing. Leave your bathroom door cracked open when taking a hot shower to allow some of the steam to escape into other parts of the house. You can also do the same to your kitchen unless you have an open floor plan.