Winter weather means the furnace starts up and outside and inside humidity levels start to have a greater impact on your health. The cold air forces your furnace to turn on, which leads to more dry air inside your home. Humidity levels definitely affect your home’s comfort, so managing indoor humidity can make the time you spend there much more enjoyable.
If you’re like most people, listening to your furnace turn on and off can create anxiety about your heating costs. What you may not realize is the same weather that makes your furnace turn on can also reduce humidity and cause your sinuses to dry out. The low humidity can also decrease the efficiency of your furnace and air conditioning units.
The experts at JD Swallow recommend a whole house humidification system. Humidifiers keep indoor air healthy and comfortable, keep moisture balanced, improve air quality and your family feeling more comfortable.
What is Humidity, and How Does It Impact Your Furnace Efficiency and Health?
Relative humidity refers to the percentage of water vapor present in the air at a given temperature. For example, when the relative humidity is 50%, the air is holding half the moisture it’s capable of holding. The air’s ability to hold water decreases as the temperature goes down and increases as the temperature goes up.
The right humidity levels help your home feel cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
When Your Furnace Turns On, You’ll Experience Low Humidity in Action
On a winter day, the outside temperature might be 21° C with 70% humidity.
When the cold outside air gets into your home, and your furnace heats it to 21° C, the air expands. While the moisture in the air remains the same, the relative humidity is significantly reduced. This means that the outside cold air with 70 percent humidity has an indoor relative humidity of only 6 percent. That’s more than four times drier than the Sahara Desert.
The dry interior air 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 and the cycle continues, which can become expensive.
What Should Home Humidity Levels Be?
A range of 45% – 55% humidity is recommended to manage indoor comfort levels.
- Comfortable: 30% – 60%
- Recommended: 45%- 55%
- High: 55% – 80%
To keep your home feeling comfortable during the winter, keep your furnace set at around 20 degrees celsius, with relative humidity at the recommended level of 45% – 55%.
Problems of Low Indoor Humidity
As the heat travels through your HVAC system, it sends out dry air to warm your home. This dry air creates some problems, but having a whole house humidifier will improve, prevent, or eliminate the following:
- Static electricity
- Dry, itchy skin and hair, chapped lips
- Susceptibility to colds, respiratory illness and sinus infections
- Viruses and germs thrive, spreading colds and flu
- Damage to wood furniture and floors, trim and framing around windows and doors
- Worsened asthma and allergy symptoms.
- Wood, furniture, flooring, molding, trim and framing around doors and windows can become cracked and damaged
How Your Furnace And Your Humidity Work To Keep You Healthier Indoors
To combat the problem of low humidity in your home during winter, relative humidity levels should be maintained at the recommended 45% – 55% range to reduces the air’s need to replenish moisture by taking it from your skin.
As a result, you can actually turn down your thermostat a few degrees and still maintain your comfort and warmth. Your furnace can use less energy, you will remain comfortable, and you will have lower energy bills.
To humidify the air in your home, JD Swallow recommends installing a whole home humidifier that coordinates directly with your furnace or boiler system. These humidifiers work automatically to ensure the air in your home is at optimum humidity levels to keep you comfortable.
Typically, these whole home systems cost several hundred dollars, but the energy savings make it a wise investment. They provide other benefits, as well.
When The Weather Turns Cold And You Turn Your Furnace On, You May Want To Ask Us For a Whole House Humidifier, Too
- Improves breathing. Clears your sinuses and keeps your nasal passages moist.
- Reduces risk of infections. Humidity levels above 43% reduce the ability of airborne viruses to cause flu infections.
- Softer skin. Humidifiers help to keep your skin moist to help prevent dry skin.
- Snoring relief. With moist air in the respiratory system, snoring can decrease in volume and actually go away.
- Does away with scratchy, sore throats.
- Supplies the entire home with properly moisturized air because it is installed with the HVAC system and is connected to the duct system.
- Requires minimal maintenance.
- Out of sight and out of mind. They provide necessary moisture without any input from you.
- Consumes less energy to balance humidity across an entire home than a portable humidifier does to humidify air in one room of the home.
JD Swallow Can Repair Or Replace Furnaces, Or Contractors Install Whole Home Humidifiers
By installing a humidifier connected to your furnace, you can monitor and control the humidity of your home all year long. To operate efficiently, your equipment and ductwork will need to be sized and installed correctly. The whole home humidifier is installed between the supply and return air ducts and works with the furnace and air conditioning systems to maintain proper levels of moisture.
What You Should Know About Your Furnace, Air Conditioning Unit, And Humidity
Regardless of whether you have a heat pump or a gas, oil, or electric furnace, a whole-house humidification system can help you manage your home’s humidity levels year round.
If you are concerned about managing the humidity levels in your home, consult with the trusted, professional heating and cooling experts at JD Swallow to ensure that your systems are keeping your home environment healthy and comfortable.