Free Tip Friday – January 12, 2018

Does your heating system have a humidifier installed?  Is it functioning properly? Or perhaps you use a room humidifier.  Is it working well enough to keep your home comfortable?  Do you know what level of humidity in your home is, or how to measure it?

So many questions…how about a few answers?

Let’s start with the basics – why should you consider a humidifier, and what are the benefits?

  1. Increased comfort – The higher the humidity level, the warmer the air will feel at any given temperature.  Just think of how hot it feels in the summer, when the humidity level is sky high. Same principal in the winter months.  If you can keep the humidity level in your home up, you will feel more comfortable at lower heat levels.  Your home will just “feel” warmer, even at the same temperatures.
  2. Save Money – Higher humidity levels allow you to keep the temperature in your home lower.  Lower temp = lower heating bill!
  3. Avoid Illness – Dry air in the winter months can lead to increased health risks:   allergy symptoms, dry sinuses and headaches, colds, and irritated skin conditions, just to name a few.
  4. Prevent damage to wood floors and fine furniture – Extremely dry air can cause damage to surfaces in your home.  Wood floors and antiques are most susceptible to this damage.

How do you know if your humidifier is working properly?  I’ve found two rules-of-thumb that work pretty well:  If you’re getting shocked by static electricity in your home, the level is too low.  If you’re seeing water beading up on the glass of windows and doors, the level is too high.

Many homes have a whole-house humidifier system installed on the furnace.  These can work well, but require ongoing maintenance (and often repair) to remain functional.  And – these systems only run when the furnace is running.

Even if you have a humidifier installed on the furnace, I would suggest a room humidifier in the areas you spend the most time (bedroom, living room, etc.), to keep the levels in those areas a bit higher.

Bottom line:  during the winter months, adding moisture to the air in your home with a humidifier is well worth the effort!

Darren Emery

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