Winter is right around the corner, and we’ve already experienced some nights below freezing here in Northeast Ohio. As we all know, with winter comes frigid temperatures, more frequent illness, and dry indoor air. If you experience discomfort during the winter, you may benefit from a humidification system.
Our friendly professionals here at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling want to educate you about home humidification, the different systems available, and the benefits you’ll receive during the winter season.
So, what is humidity?
Humidity is the measurement of how much moisture is suspended in the air. Generally speaking, humidity is lower in the winter and much higher in the summer. However, the more relevant question is – what’s the relative humidity in your home?
Relative humidity factors in the moisture and temperature levels, both of which affect how comfortable we are at home.
For instance, a room that is 77° F can hold about 3/4ths of an ounce of water in a cubic yard of air. If that much moisture is actually present, you have a relative humidity of 100%. On the other hand, if only half that amount of water exists, your relative humidity is 50%.
At 100% relative humidity, the surrounding air is holding the maximum amount of water, which means sweat can’t evaporate from our skin, making us feel hot.
When relative humidity is low, moisture on our skin does evaporate, making us feel cool. Ideally, your home’s relative humidity should be around 40% to 50%.
What is a humidifier, and how does it work?
A humidifier is a device that produces water vapor to increase the humidity level inside your home. Many different devices allow you to do this. Here are the commonly available types and how they work:
Evaporative humidifiers. The most common humidifier, an evaporative system pulls water from a holding tank, transports it to a basin that contains a wicking material, then blows air through the wet filter. This moisture is then distributed into the surrounding air in the room.
Steam vaporizers. In simple terms, this system boils water and releases the steam produced into your home to increase humidity. It’s the simplest and least expensive option.
Impeller humidifiers. An impeller-based system uses a spinning disc to throw water at a diffuser, atomizing the water droplets to create a cool mist.
Ultrasonic humidifiers. Virtually silent, an ultrasonic humidifier uses a high-frequency vibrating metal component to create ultra-fine water droplets.
Many room-sized humidifiers can be purchased nearly anywhere and work especially well in bedrooms to help family members recover from a winter illness. However, investing in a whole-house humidifier that works in coordination with your heating and cooling system may be more cost-effective.
Whole-house humidifiers help balance the airborne moisture levels throughout your home. When air is distributed through your heating ducts, it passes through an integrated water panel, collecting moisture that can is then dispersed throughout your home. Fan-powered humidifiers take this one step further by forcing air through the water panel, further enhancing the humidification process.
Just as steam vaporizers humidify a single room, whole-house steam humidifiers use the same technology to send steam throughout your house regardless of whether the furnace is currently on or not. This is the most effective method of humidification.
Do low humidity levels adversely affect my life?
When you have dry winter air in your home, you’ll probably experience overall discomfort. You may feel colder because the moisture from your skin evaporates into the air around you. Many people also suffer from dry, chapped skin or uncomfortable sore throats. Humidity below 30% can also make the flu, seasonal colds, and other respiratory illnesses more uncomfortable. Overly dry air can also damage items in your home, such as wood furniture or sensitive musical instruments.
Let’s talk about your home’s humidity
If you’re looking for humidification solutions or have other heating, cooling, and ventilation concerns, call Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling! Our professionals can recommend the right equipment for your home and provide expert repair and maintenance services. Call 844-HEY-NEIGHBOR or request service online today.
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