In the winter, the natural humidity level drops significantly, making our homes feel less comfortable. Increasing the humidity can have many benefits for comfort, health and cleanliness. Luckily, there are many easy ways to add humidity to your house, so that you can experience all of the benefits of a home environment with the proper humidity.
Benefits of Increasing Your Home’s Humidity
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A home with a healthy humidity level can have numerous benefits. Ideally, a home should have a humidity level of about 45%. If it dips below 30%, it’s much too dry, and if it’s above 50%, the high humidity may start to feel uncomfortable. If your home humidity level stays around 45%, your living environment will be cleaner, safer, healthier and more comfortable. Learn how to decrease your home’s humidity.
The benefits of maintaining ideal humidity levels for your home in the winter include:
- Prevention of common illnesses and symptoms: Viruses, like the ones that cause the flu and the common cold, transmit more easily in dry air. Air at the proper humidity level also prevents sore throats and headaches and decreases contact lens discomfort.
- Better control of dust: An ideal humidity level helps to keep dust, allergens and pollutants out of the air, making the air cleaner and healthier to breathe.
- Hydrated skin: Prevent the symptoms of dry, irritated skin with increased humidity.
- Proper care of furniture: Extremely dry air can be hard on wooden furniture, hardwood floors, pianos and more. Proper humidity prevents warping or cracking.
- Reduces electrostatic shocks: Dry winter air makes the ideal conditions for those annoying little shocks we get when we touch certain surfaces. Prevent this by increasing the home’s humidity.
8 Tips for Increasing Humidity in the Winter
It’s not too difficult to control the humidity levels in your home, and there are many practical ways to add humidity to your house. Here are our favorite easy and creative solutions to increase humidity in winter:
- Add some houseplants to your home. Indoor plants add to the decor and ambiance of a home, but they also help purify the air and add to the humidity level. Properly watered plants will release vapor from the leaves and stems into the air. The soil for the houseplants also holds water that slowly evaporates. The best choices for humidity-boosting houseplants are tropicals with large leaves, and plants that do well in dry conditions. Choose plants like palms, philodendrons and Chinese evergreens for the best humidity control, and remember to water regularly or mist for extra moisture.
- Boil water and cook using the stovetop. When you use the stovetop for cooking and boiling water, you’ll release steam into the air while you prepare your food or boil water. Simply using the stovetop more often than the microwave will help improve your home’s humidity level. Leave lids off of pots and pans to release even more moisture.
- Set out a pan or vase of water. Leave open containers of water on top of radiators or near heating vents, and the water will slowly evaporate into the air. The warmth from your heating system will help speed this process along. You can use decorative vases or vessels that add to the decor of the room, and even include citrus peels, vanilla or essential oils to provide a pleasant scent while you humidify the room. Alternatively, boil a pan of water on the stovetop to add humidity a little faster. Just remember to turn off the stove when the water has evaporated.
- Hang dry your laundry. Forgoing the clothes dryer and hanging up laundry inside means that all the moisture will evaporate into the air of your house. You’ll also save on energy costs by reducing your dryer usage while you line-dry and improve the home humidity in winter.
- Use your shower steam. Any time you take a bath or shower, some steam is released into the air. Make the best use of this extra steam by opening the bathroom door, if privacy allows for it, or just keep the door and shower curtain open after you’re done. Don’t use the built-in bathroom fan, as this is designed to suck the excess moisture from the air. You could even use a stand-up fan to blow the moist air into the rest of the house.
- Don’t drain the bathwater right away. As long as the water from a bath remains warm, it’s contributing moisture to the air. So, after a bath, resist pulling the plug immediately. Let the bathwater sit and cool completely before draining, and you’ll get the full benefits of that added moisture.
- Upgrade doors, windows and weatherstripping. In the winter, inefficient doors and windows leak out heat and moisture. This means energy costs increase and the home environment is less comfortable. Mitigate this heat and humidity loss by installing newer, more efficient windows and doors. If new doors and windows aren’t in the budget yet, consider using weatherstripping or other means to seal up cracks and keep your warm, moist air inside and the cold, dry air outside.
- Install a humidifier. Perhaps one of the easiest solutions for controlling the house humidity in winter is to use a humidifier. You can buy a smaller, portable unit that works in a small area or have professionals install a whole-home system. This is your best option for the ultimate in humidity control. These whole-home humidifiers are more efficient and ensure an exact humidity level to keep you comfortable and healthy while protecting wooden furniture and other delicate items in the home. You can also consider adding an indoor weather meter to give you accurate readings of the interior temperature and humidity levels in the home.
Humidifier Installation From Home Climates
To improve the indoor humidity of your home this winter, installing a humidifier is the way to go. All of our tips on how to increase humidity in winter certainly help, but the option that gives you the most control and the most peace of mind is a whole-home humidifier system. You’ll get all of the benefits of a properly humidified home in an easy-to-control system. Home Climates is proud to be your home HVAC experts in Elizabethtown and can help you prepare your home for the cold, dry months ahead. Contact our expert representatives for any of your questions about home humidity or any HVAC concerns. We will help you get on track for a comfortable home, whatever the weather.
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Home Climates Review Scored as of 9/22/22