Whole-House Humidifiers Best Option for Indoor Health in Winter
It’s autumn, and we’re busy preparing for Thanksgiving, jingle bells, and the next Indianapolis Colts game. It’s a good thing we’re so busy. We need these events to distract us from the wet weather and annoyances that come with dropping temperatures. But there’s really no need to find comfort in the distractions. Anyone can address seasonal problems like dry skin by upgrading their home heating system with a whole-house humidifier.
Installing a whole-house humidifier in your home helps resolve seasonal annoyances because you decrease the indoor relative humidity when you turn on the heat. (Relative humidity refers to the amount of moisture the air can hold before dew or frost forms.)
That’s why, although the average outdoor humidity reaches its lowest point around Indianapolis in March (at an average 66 percent), you’re likely to experience the worst symptoms associated with low humidity in January and February, when it’s coldest outside. As the relative humidity decreases, evaporation increases. Without a humidifier or additional source of moisture, the relative humidity in your house will drop to about 10 percent during the coldest winter months, which average between 20 and 24 degrees Fahrenheit in the Indianapolis area.
Low indoor relative humidity is associated with a number of seasonal ailments. Dry skin, chapped lips, itchy eyes, and dry mucus membranes are all symptoms of low relative humidity. Dry mucus is especially problematic because it can lead to increased respiratory problems, like snoring and asthma attacks. It also decreases your body’s ability to fend off viruses, which is one reason why it’s easier to catch a cold in the winter than in the summer. And what’s perhaps for some people, dry air feels colder than warm air. That means you’ll feel chillier and want to crank up the thermostat.
As humidity drops below the recommended levels (between 30 and 50 percent), your house is affected, too. Wood dries out and can crack, for example. Photos, veneers, and even carpets suffer from low humidity, as well.
If you want to stop addressing the symptoms of low relative humidity, you’ll need to install a whole-house humidifier.
There are two types of whole-house humidifiers: portable and whole-house. Portable humidifiers are standalone units that add humidity to a single room. Whole-house humidifiers, on the other hand, work with your home’s heating and ventilation system to regulate the humidity throughout your living space.
When Portable Humidifiers are the Best Option
Choosing between portable and whole-house humidifiers really depends on your needs. Portable humidifiers provide flexibility. You can transport them as needed, and if you’re renting, they provide an option to add humidity to the air if your landlord hasn’t equipped your building or home with a whole-house humidifier. Portable humidifiers are also good options for businesses that require a specific humidity level in one room or which rent office space.
When Whole-House Humidifiers are the Best Option
Otherwise, if you’re a homeowner and you don’t need to transport your humidifier, your best option is to install a whole-house humidifier.
Whole-house humidifiers work by allowing the warm air from your furnace to blow over a tray of water or distribute the water vapor that the unit produces. The humidifier keeps track of the humidity in your home and only provides additional moisture as needed.
Whole-house humidifiers are superior to portable units for many reasons. For one, they don’t require as much maintenance. Portable humidifiers need to be refilled every day with expensive distilled water. They also require that you clean them on a regular basis to discourage mildew. Whole-house units, however, plug into your home’s plumbing, adding only pennies to your monthly water bill. As for cleaning, you’ll only need to replace the humidifier pad/water panel one or two times a year, depending on how mineralized your water is. If your unit doesn’t come equipped with a humidifier pad, you’ll have to remove mineral deposits at the end of the season.
Whole-house humidifiers are also much more energy-efficient compared to portable units. While portable units draw a lot of power to run, whole-house versions attach to your house’s electrical structure and draw minimum power.
In addition, whole-house humidifiers are quieter than portable units, they’re unobtrusive — you don’t have to look at them — and they can even help save you money on your energy bills because your whole home will feel warmer, being properly humidified, and you won’t have to turn up the thermostat as high.
Cost: Whole-House Humidifier vs. Portable Humidifiers
Whole-house humidifiers actually match or cost less than portable units. The main price consideration, therefore, comes with installation costs. Because whole-house humidifiers work with your HVAC system, professional HVAC technicians need to install them. Installing one of these humidifiers requires modifying the ventilation system, attaching it to your plumbing, and wiring it correctly — all tasks a professional can best complete.
If you’d like to learn more about whole-house humidifiers, contact us on our webpage. You’re more than welcome to ask any question. Our qualified HVAC technicians in Johnson County, Indiana, will reach out to you to best understand your problems and provide solutions tailored to your needs.