Using your furnace in the cold winter months keeps you warm and cozy, but it also dries out the air causing your home and your body to be much drier than normal. Dry, cracking skin and lips are uncomfortable, but the wood furniture and trim in your home can also be ruined by the warm dry air your furnace pumps into your home for months on end. The answer to these problems may just be a whole-house humidifier.
Ideal Humidity Levels in Your Home
The process of adding moisture into your home can be a little scary at first, but if you can reach the proper balance (experts say the optimal level of humidity is from 30% to 50%) the idea actually makes a lot of sense. Adding a humidifier to your furnace doesn’t mean you’ll end up with sultry, sticky air like in the hot summer months, it simply means you’ll balance out the dryness and add a level of comfort that will help warm your home, help keep your heating costs more manageable, and decrease your likelihood of getting colds, flu and various upper respiratory issues.
Ways to increase your home’s humidity can include portable humidifier units that need refilled frequently and help only a certain room or region in your house; or something that is fairly easy to maintain, the whole house humidifier. This is a unit that is installed directly with your house’s central cooling and heating system.
Whole house humidifiers monitors the relative humidity levels of your home continually, and then delivers the exact amount of moisture your home needs to the air inside your entire home. Oftentimes, a whole-home humidifier has a sensor system where you can set the exact amount of humidity you desire for your home and the system will keep the humidity within the range you’ve set. This makes the whole-home system nearly automatic, with maintenance needed just a couple times a year to replace the filter and to clean the unit.
Installation and Maintenance
A whole house humidifiers unit can be installed on both new or existing home heating and cooling systems. The unit draws water directly from your plumbing system as it’s needed, and is integrated into your furnace’s blower system. There are different types of humidifiers to choose from, including one that is a sprayer injecting mist into the airflow directly into your ductwork; or on that is a foam cylinder rotating in a water tray with air blowing all around it and through it to circulate the vapors.
These whole-house humidifiers are virtually maintenance-free after installation, and the humidity can be controlled through a one-time set-up. They are very quiet systems, and the initial cost of the unit is just a fraction of what most portable units cost. The upkeep is extremely simple and the annual cost to run this system is extremely affordable for any household (usually a small amount on your electric and water bills, pennies really).
In addition to easing dry skin and sinuses, as well as protecting the wood in your home, whole house humidifiers has numerous other benefits. Increasing the humidity in your home will make you feel warmer so you can turn down the thermostat and save some money on your heating bill. Besides the wood in your home being affected, the humidity will also prevent damage to paint, plaster, furniture, artwork, musical instruments and electronics. Not to mention it will cut down on the amount of static electricity you and your family members will experience. Health benefits include reducing the incidence of flu, colds, asthma, respiratory ailments and other infections.