According to the National Geographic Society, humidity is defined as the amount of water vapor in the air. Naturally, as the temperature drops, there’s less water vapor in the air. While you don’t want too much humidity, the colder months offer a different challenge of zapping the humidity out of the air altogether. It’s especially challenging when there’s a mix of dry, hot air pumping from your HVAC system. To maintain healthy humidity levels this winter, employ the following tips.
1. Don’t Turn the Thermostat Too High
When it’s cold outside, it’s normal to desire warmth inside. As you set your thermostat to experience relief from the winter temperatures, don’t crank the thermostat up too high. If you set the temperature extremely high, you’ll end up living in an overheated space. When you’re inside, high temperatures commonly lead to dry air. As dry air circulates, it’s much harder to experience healthy, normal humidity levels.
Instead of skyrocketing the thermostat to 75°F or higher, set it to 68°F. Try not to go above 70°F. If you want to feel warmer, simply wear more layers in the house. When it’s time for bed, be sure to use warm, cozy blankets. As you employ other methods to maintain healthy humidity levels, your home’s temperature will be conducive to this goal.
2. Closely Monitor Space Heater Usage
Space heaters can be excellent for heating small spaces in a shorter period. However, they’re known to use an excessive amount of energy. Plus, they’re not the safest option to run for extended periods. One of the reasons they’re the safest option is because they contribute dryness to the air in the room.
If you’re going to use a space heater, use it in tandem with a ceiling fan or a standing fan. Once the space heater introduces hot air into the room for about 10 minutes, turn it off while the standing fan continues to run. The standing fan will continue to circulate the hot air. It’s the perfect way to experience the heat without adding more dry air as the minutes and hours pass.
3. Purchase and Maintain Humidification Systems
Humidifiers are one of the most immediate ways to add moisture to the environment. Whether you choose to purchase smaller humidifiers for each room in your home or install a whole-home humidification system, it’s wise to prioritize this tool as it can provide myriad benefits. A humidifier directly impacts your ability to maintain healthy humidity levels.
During the winter season, when the air is drier, many people are more susceptible to nose bleeds, respiratory issues and viral infections. If you have a dry cough, a humidifier can help provide relief. Humidifiers are also beneficial for assisting in improving the look of hair and skin, as these areas greatly benefit from added moisture.
If you’re someone who uses their voice consistently to speak or sing, moisture is essential. Being connected to a humidifier consistently can be of great benefit as well. Many people opt to sleep with a humidifier in their bedroom to improve their appearance, physical well-being and more.
4. Cultivate a Green Thumb
If you’re not already familiar with how to keep house plants alive, it’s time to cultivate a green thumb. Houseplants can offer plenty of health benefits. They can provide benefits for your mental health and well-being. However, when it comes to humidity, house plants offer it through the process of transpiration. Transpiration, in the context of botany, is when moisture is released into the air from the plants. Granted, there are numerous studies on how house plants can benefit homes in terms of humidity. In many cases, scientists suggest considering the size of the room and how many plants you have in that specific room to experience the effectiveness of healthy humidity levels. Some of the best house plants to consider cultivating include spider plants, aloe plants and peace lilies.
5. Prioritize Proper Ventilation
Ventilation deserves a two-pronged approach when you’re looking to increase or maintain a certain amount of humidity in your home. The first step involves opening the windows. Since the windows tend to be closed more during the colder months, it’s much easier to experience a reduction in the quality of indoor air. By allowing air to circulate through the opening of windows, you’ll increase the quality of your indoor air. This also helps increase the chances of maintaining healthy humidity levels. When the weather allows for it, open the windows for about 15 minutes each day.
The second part of maintaining ventilation involves using exhaust fans and vents. The rooms where you’ll typically use exhaust fans are the bathrooms and the kitchen. When it’s time to cook on the stovetop, use the exhaust fan to quickly absorb the odors, toxins and particles that get released while cooking. In the bathrooms, you’ll want to use the exhaust fan because there’s an excess of humidity in this space due to the steam from hot showers and more. An excess of humidity can lead to mold growth and mildew. By using exhaust fans, vents and open windows regularly, you’ll feel the impact on the quality of the air and humidity levels in the winter.
6. Replace Dryers With Drying Racks
While there’s nothing wrong with using a dryer during the winter months, it’s important to be a little more strategic and creative with the way you infuse moisture into the air. This is where drying racks enter the conversation. Drying racks are efficient for increasing the amount of moisture in the air because everyone has to wash and dry their clothes. Instead of using artificial air to dry your clothes and adding more dryness to the air, use the process of air-drying clothes to add moisture to the air instead. It’s also an efficient way to decrease your energy consumption, which benefits your wallet at the end of each billing cycle.
7. Regularly Measure Humidity Levels
If you don’t know how much humidity is in the air, it’s going to be impossible to know what a healthy amount looks like. This is why it’s important to invest in a hygrometer. A hygrometer is a measuring tool that tells you how much humidity is in the air. It’ll let you know when you have too much humidity—just enough or not enough. You can purchase small ones that can go on different levels of the home.
Sometimes the humidity might be different on the bottom level of your home versus the top level. By strategically placing hygrometers throughout your home, you’ll be aware of what needs to happen to get the levels in a healthy place. Because there are so many factors that impact the amount of humidity in the air, it’s best to take note of the humidity levels daily. Place the hygrometers in visible spots so that you don’t forget to check them.
As you work to include these tips and cultivate a comprehensive guide, don’t forget to enlist the help of the professionals at F.F. Hitchcock Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. With over 40 years of service to the Cheshire, CT and surrounding communities, we offer expertise in areas such as choosing dehumidifiers, humidifiers and other tools for improving air quality. We also provide AC and plumbing installations and repairs. To learn more about how we can help you maintain a healthy environment at home, contact us today!