During the winter, we often experience a drop in humidity to the point where the air becomes too dry. Anything lower than 30% relative humidity is considered too low, the same way more than 60% is considered too humid for comfort.
But … what’s so bad about having dry air inside your house? Most people associate dry air with better comfort. (“But it’s a dry heat.”) So what exactly are the issues with having low humidity during the winter?
There are a number of problems, and some of them can be serious. Here are the main ones:
Cold weather feels worse when the air is dry
This is the opposite of what happens with hot weather and high humidity. Everyone knows how much hotter a summer day feels when it’s muggy, and that’s because higher levels of moisture trap heat inside the body. When there’s little humidity in the air, heat escapes from the body faster, making it harder to stay warm. On a cold day, the temperature in your house might feel like it’s 8°F lower than it is because of dry conditions. You can run the heater longer to compensate, but that means energy waste.
The rapid spread of illness
The winter is prime season for colds and flus, and dry air makes it much easier for people in a house to get sick. The reason for this is that cold conditions dry up the mucus membranes in your respiratory system, which are a vital defense against the spread of airborne germs, viruses, and bacteria. Balancing the humidity can mean a healthier house.
Heat isn’t the only thing that escapes through your skin when the air is dry. Moisture escapes as well, making your skin dry and itchy. You’ll encounter chapped lips, flaking skin, cracking skin, and nose irritation.
Here’s an annoyance you could certainly do without during winter! If you find yourself hesitant to touch the doorknob or a piece of your system because you know you’ll get an electric shock, then you’ve got dry air. The reason for this is that electricity dissipates quickly in moisture. Under dry conditions, static electricity builds up on surfaces. When humidity is balanced, you won’t have to deal with shocks or laundry and sheets that stick together.
Damage to furnishings
Moisture escapes from objects in your house as well when the air is too dry. This can lead to wooden furniture warping and cracking. Other objects that are in jeopardy include books and wood musical instruments, which can warp or lose their shape.
The best way to solve low humidity for your house is to arrange for a whole-house humidifier in Rio Rancho, NM. A portable humidifier won’t get the job done—it only affects a single room and doesn’t have precision controls. Our indoor air quality specialists can install a humidifier into the HVAC system that gives you precise control over the humidity levels in rooms all across the house.
Santa Fe Express Plumbing & Drain serves Santa Fe, Espanola, Los Alamos, and Pecos. Why wait for service when you can get it Express?