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Why humidify your home?

There are a lot of reasons why humidifying your home, particularly during the winter months should be important to you. While not every region experiences low winter humidity levels, most states in the U.S. and Canadian provinces will experience low home humidity from September through March, and often during other months as well. Some regions experience severe lack of humidity, with indoor humidity levels dropping below 5%! Most air quality experts suggest that the optimal home relative humidity level should be between 30 and 55%. Significantly higher levels will result in excessive levels of household dust mites and bacteria, and not surprisingly, mold and fungi spores. Significantly lower levels allow dust and mite feces as well as other allergens to become airborne more readily, and also cause respiratory irritation, dry cracked skin, and even spontaneous nosebleeds.

Below, you will find some of the most common reasons for humidifying your home:

Comfort

Few people realize that dry air feels cool to the skin, and fewer yet understand why. Everyone, even those whose activity is very limited, loses heat energy to the surrounding air. Heat energy takes two forms. Your warm body at 37°C/98.6°F, in contact with room air at, for example, 23°C/75°F, heats that air by convection and radiation. The air takes the heat from your body and keeps you cool. That's called sensible heat transfer. Latent heat transfer takes place when moisture on the surface of the skin evaporates. The heat energy for the evaporation is also taken from your body, cooling you further. Air is like a sponge, it soaks up moisture from wherever it can. Dry air soaks it up very well. When that moisture comes from your skin, it cools the skin, and you feel cool, often cold. So you set the thermostat up until you feel comfortable, using up even more heating energy. On the other hand, raising the moisture level of the air, the relative humidity, decreases the rate of evaporation, and you feel comfortable at a lower temperature setting. So that's humidification for Comfort and Economy - turn the humidistat up, the thermostat down, and save on your gas or electricity bill!

Health and Wellbeing

Health Canada recommends that your home's relative humidity should be kept between 30% and 55% in winter. As noted above, lower levels aggravate skin allergies and respiratory infections, and higher levels increase the spread of mold, bacteria and viruses. Dust mites reproduce actively when the humidity is above 50%. Experts at the Association of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers in Atlanta say medical studies indicate that maintaining your home's humidity in this optimum zone inhibits the survival of such viruses as cowpox, influenza, measles, polio, and herpes.

Maintaining an appropriate level of humidity in your home will reduce dry skin problems. Severe cracking of skin on the hands and face indicates a considerably humidity deficit that needs to be addressed. Children who experiences spontaneous nosebleeds, especially at night, are typical found to live in a home with poor humidity control. The dry air sucks the moisture out of the cells in the nose and nasal cavity, causing small blood vessels to harden and crack, causing the nose bleed.

Interesting information linking allergies to indoor humidity at the following website: Allergies and Indoor Air Quality

Protecting Your Hard-Earned Assets

Maintaining the proper relative humidity in your home can help protect your investments. Dry air results in warping and splitting of furniture, woodwork and hardwood floors. As well, wooden instruments, such as woodwinds, strings and even pianos, loose pitch and can be prone to cracking and warping, sometimes permanently disabling the instrument. A properly humidified environment can help diminish the chance of permanently damaging your precious woodwork and instruments over the long term.

Reduce Static Electricity

Another scourge of dry air is static electricity. If you want to avoid the zap! every time you touch a light switch, or if kissing a loved one puts a spark in the relationship you didn't intend on, it's time to turn up the humidity. Static discharges can also be genuinely harmful to various electrical components, especially the many sensitive computers and home stereo systems that occupy today's home.