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Combat Dry Air and Illness This Winter

Sick woman blowing her noseWhen the coldest of winter temperatures hit, it makes sense that you are most concerned with how warm it is in your home. A lack of sufficient heat can be not only uncomfortable, but hazardous to your family’s health. A perfectly functioning furnace or boiler is only half the equation, though, when it comes to home comfort during the winter.

Dry air can be equally damaging and uncomfortable during the colder months, and most heating systems—at least, those that are forced air systems—only exacerbate this issue. A Coeur d’Alene, ID humidifier installation may be an excellent choice for you and your home, eliminating the problem of dry air before it even has a chance to affect your living space. Now is as great a time as any to have one put in.

But you may be wondering, “Do I really need one?”

A Look at the Problems Caused by Dry Air

When temperatures drop, the ambient moisture within the air shifts from gaseous to liquid form, and departs the atmosphere. You witness this as early morning dew on the ground and on plants during the spring and summer seasons.

In the winter, however, this process make the air incredibly dry, both outdoors and in. Humans are most comfortable when the relative humidity levels (the levels that measure the amount of moisture present in the air) are between 30-50%. Anything lower than 30% will start to create a number of unpleasant side effects, which include:

  • Dry Skin: This can lead to itching, painful rashes and chapped lips, and even cracking on your skin which can turn into a painful problem.
  • Dried Mucous Membranes in Your Sinuses: This depletes your body of its primary means of fighting colds and illnesses. This is one of the reasons that colds are more prevalent during the winter (and not, despite popular misconception because it’s cold outside).
  • Static Electricity/Electric Shock: Have you ever noticed an unsettling and perhaps even painful jolt when you come into contact with any metal during the winter? While not necessarily harmful, it can be unpleasant and is worth fixing with a whole-home humidifier.

In addition the illness it can cause or exacerbate, dry air is also not good for your heating system. In fact, it forces this system to work harder than it should have to, since the air in your home feels colder when the air is dry. Additionally, dry air can damage wallpaper and furnishings as well—such as wood furnishings, and even wood precision instruments.

But How Does a Humidifier Work?

Installed directly into your HVAC ducts, whole-home humidifiers work similarly to a portable humidifier, but with a more widespread application and little to no interference to you. A wick or pad is fed with water from a reservoir. A fan blows over the pad to release moisture vapor into the air. This works in conjunction with your forced air heater to spread moisture throughout your living space.

As a result, your home’s humidity levels go up, and the unpleasant side effects we mentioned above are sufficiently eliminated. Humidifiers can even help lower the strain your heating system in some cases, since as we mentioned above, the air feels colder without a humidifier and causes your heater to work harder.

ACI Northwest is here to help with your home comfort needs or concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us for helpful advice.

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