If you are experiencing a lot of static electricity, nasal congestion and even frequent bloody noses, it’s likely the air in your home is too dry.
Why does indoor air get dry in the winter? The most common answer you hear is that forced air furnaces dry out the air. This answer might be a small part of the reason, but it is mostly wrong. It has more to do with the cold temperatures outside. This is important because the level of humidity in your home can impact your overall health and comfort and potentially affect the cost of heating.
Let’s say it’s a cold day in January. The temperature outside is 10° F with 70 percent humidity. Meanwhile, indoors, your thermostat is set to 72° F. When the cold air creeps into your home, your furnace heats it to 72° F, and the air expands. While the moisture in the air remains the same, the relative humidity is significantly reduced. This means that the cold air from outside with 70 percent humidity has an indoor relative humidity of less than 10 percent.
The dry air inside your home will steal moisture from wherever it can find it, including your body. As moisture evaporates off your skin, you feel cooler. When you feel cooler, you tend to turn up your thermostat.
By maintaining balanced humidity in your home between 30% and 50% year-round, your home will have improved protection from airborne viruses like the common cold, the flu, and COVID-19. You'll also be protected from frequent nosebleeds, sore throats, and dry skin. You might even save some money on your utility bills.
Which Type of Humidifier?
When selecting a whole house humidifier, you will find that there are two main types to choose from.
Using electric probes, steam humidifiers boil water and then inject the steam into the air stream. This type of whole house humidifier is great for larger homes or those that have lots of real wood in the home. However, steam units generally cost the most to install and run. They also require annual maintenance.
Also known as an evaporative pad humidifier, these work by blowing warm air over an evaporative pad that has water trickling down it. From there, the water evaporates and the moisture is absorbed into the air. An evaporative pad humidifier is the most commonly used whole house humidifier. These units are generally easy to install and maintain and are less costly than the steam option.
Do You Need a Whole House Humidifier?
Some homeowners get by with portable systems. A portable humidifier is exactly that. It’s a smaller humidifier that’s portable, you can put it exactly where you need it in a room. It benefits only one area at a time.
In the end, the choice is yours. A whole house humidifier can be a great addition to your home. Not only can it provide added comfort, help prevent damage from a dry environment and aid with health issues, it can even lower your energy bills.
The most common, whole house humidifier we install is the Aprilaire 700. It will work great for keeping the relative humidity between 30% and 40% in a home of up to 4200 square feet. It is an evaporative humidifier with dual sensors to monitor and respond to both outdoor temperature and indoor relative humidity, delivering optimum humidity 24/7. We can install one in your home for between $1200 and $1300.
If your home is larger or you need to have the humidity higher, we could install the Aprilaire 800. It is a steam humidifier. It allows you to choose from 6 levels of output adding 11.5 to 34.6 gallons of moisture into the air per day based on voltage and installation. This unit will cost between $1500 and $2000 including installation.
Need more information? Please call us. We would be happy to discuss adding a humidifier to your heating and cooling system.