This time of the year, you might notice that the air in your house is a little dry. You may wake up with a sore throat or find yourself getting static shock every time you turn on the lights. You may even start to notice cracks in your woodwork or cabinets. All of this is caused by the low humidity levels that exist inside your home.
During the summer, your house gains weight as the woodwork absorbs the moisture in the air. It’s estimated that your home gains as much as 5,000 pounds in the summer months, just in moisture absorption.
However, in the winter, much of that humidity dries up. It’s kind of like your house is on a diet. You’ll hear lots of cracking and popping sounds, which some people equate with the house settling. However, what it more often means is that your house is losing weight, as all of that moisture the home absorbed in the summer begins to dry out.
So how do you increase the humidity levels in your home and kiss that dry air goodbye?
You don’t have to go very far north to find that humidifiers are a necessity. Around western Kentucky and southern Illinois, how much humidity you need to bring into your home depends on the house itself. Dry air is often blamed on your HVAC unit, gas or electric heat. While the HVAC unit may be contributing to the problem, it’s not the only factor in this equation.
When it’s cold outside, your house loses heat through the various openings, mostly the ones that you can’t see or don’t pay attention to. This includes openings around doors, windows, plumbing penetrations, attic accesses and ductwork.
In fact, ductwork is often a major culprit in dry air and low humidity in your house. When all of that heat escapes, it has to be replaced by something else. That replacement air often comes from outside air. So when heat escapes, the cold, dry air comes in and creates the dry air in your home. This makes the furnace run much longer, which ultimately leads to even less humidity and more dry air.
There are a few things you can do to reduce this problem. In addition to making sure that your house is sealed and insulated well, paying close attention to openings around doors and windows, etc., there are a variety of portable humidifiers that you can purchase and are simple to use. Simply add water to the humidifier, plug it in and, presto! You can breathe easy again. There are also models that can be installed into your HVAC system. These can be controlled with a thermostat that has humidity control. Both are good options that should be considered. If you have questions about your HVAC unit or the dry air in your home, give us a call.