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Why Worry About Humidity in the Winter?

January 2, 2016

Winter is the time to worry about a lack of humidity in your home. This post explains how proper humidity levels improve your health and the health of pets, plants, and furniture, eliminates static shock, and decreases your heating bill.

In Middle Tennessee, we are all too familiar with the long, humid summers. But in the winter, the humidity is very low, and when indoors in heated space it’s even lower, so that should be a good thing, right?  Not so!  If your indoor humidity is below 30%, you could actually be causing harm to yourself and your home, and increasing your energy bills while decreasing your comfort.

Humidity Affects Your Health

Low humidity can adversely affect your health. It can make your throat feel dry, aggravate respiratory ailments, increase respiratory infections including colds and flu, cause itchy, dry skin and even nosebleeds. Many doctors recommend whole-house humidification for allergy and asthma sufferers.

Humidity Affects Your House

Dry air can adversely affect other things in your home, too. It steals moisture from your plants, your pets, your furniture and all the wood in your home. Hardwood floors separate at the seams, furniture shrinks and cracks, doors warp and no longer fit their frames, wallpaper and paint crack and peel.

Humidity Affects Electronics

Perhaps one of the most annoying effects of dry indoor air is static shock. Ever get “zapped” after walking across the carpet, or “zap” your pet or someone else? This static electricity can even wreak havoc on home computers and other sensitive electronic devices.

Proper Humidity Saves Energy

How does humidity save energy? Warm, humid summer air feels hotter than it actually is because of the moisture it contains. That same principle applies to your home in the winter. By keeping the relative humidity inside your home at an ideal level typically between 30-40% – you can turn your thermostat down a few degrees and actually feel more comfortable.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to our podcasts or our HVAC News posts so you won’t miss the next post in this series, where we talk about whole house humidifiers.