Indoor air quality is a hot topic these days.
Thanks to a recent shocking study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we now know that our indoor air is up to five times more toxic than the air outside.
Unfortunately, mainstream media is often more preoccupied with issuing dire health warnings than they are with offering practical, actionable steps to fix the problem.
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we spend our days implementing indoor air quality solutions for worried homeowners and business owners. In this post, learn why humidity is essential to winter indoor air quality and how to use this tool to stay healthy all winter.
Humidity: A Missing Link to Winter IAQ
Most homeowners today know that the optimal indoor humidity balance ranges from 30 to 50 percent.
During the hot, humid summer season, when outdoor humidity can easily hit 60 percent or higher, it is pretty simple to achieve this balance just by turning on your air conditioner.
But in the winter, unless a storm blows through on a warmer day, the air outside is usually quite dry. When the humidity content in the air drops below 30 percent, everything starts to dry out.
For your home, overly dry air can take the form of cracked wood furnishings, creaking hardwoods and uncomfortable and dangerous static electricity discharge. For you, overly dry air makes your sensitive respiratory tissues less well able to fight off health threats like cold and flu germs.
Without at least 30 percent humidity (and ideally more) content in your indoor air, life can get pretty uncomfortable during the winter.
Strategies to Add Back Humidity to Your Indoor Air in Winter
Happily, inadequate indoor air moisture content is a relatively easy problem to fix. These are some of our customers’ favorite humidity remedies.
Reseal your home with caulk, weather stripping and insulation
Air leaks are common in older homes. While these leaks can provide an arguably handy source of natural ventilation, they are not without their challenges.
In winter, air leaks will inevitably drive up your heating bill and help indoor humidity escape outside.
The only way to keep your hard-won humidity indoors is to seal up those leaks and cracks. Here, pay special attention to sealing around any pipes or vents that exit to the outdoors. Also seal around electrical outlet covers, windows and doors.
Add houseplants in strategic places
Houseplants are indoor air quality wonders. They can do so much for your indoor air and will beautify your space as well.
Because houseplants take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, they are our perfect air quality counterpart in an indoor setting.
Plus, houseplants can be a great natural source of indoor air humidity. While you do need to be more careful not to over-water your houseplants in winter, you can give them a daily misting as well as watering when needed and they will steadily emit this humidity back into your air.
Place bowls of water near heating vents
Placing a bowl of water near a heating vent works similarly to simply opening the bathroom door after taking a warm bath or shower and letting the steam out.
As the warm air emerges from the air register and passes over the bowl of water, it will pick up some of the moisture from the water in the bowl and add it back to your ambient air supply.
Use a portable or whole-home humidifier
By far the best and most consistent way to ensure adequate indoor air humidity levels in winter is to make use of a humidifier. This piece of modern technology makes balancing indoor air humidity a simple matter.
For older homes and commercial buildings in particular, some areas may be naturally more or less humid. In these cases, a portable humidifier may do the trick to add some extra humidity to overly dry rooms.
For airtight new construction homes or any space where winter indoor air is consistently too dry, a whole-home humidifier is the perfect solution.
This humidifier can be retrofitted to work with any central (ducted) HVAC system to keep indoor air humidity levels consistent throughout your home or workplace.
Two Main Types of Whole-Home Humidifiers: Flow-Through and Steam
There are two main types of whole-home humidification systems. Both types of humidifiers have many advantages for spaces of different sizes and seasonal or year-round humidity needs.
A flow-through humidification system connects directly to your furnace and uses your air ducts to distribute humidity along with warmed air.
There are two types of flow-through humidifiers: bypass and fan-powered. The bypass system requires a small addition of a bypass duct that conveys the water through the furnace first and then flows the humidity out into the air ducts and into your space. The bypass system is quieter to operate but can be less energy efficient.
The standard (fan-powered) humidifier substitutes a fan for the bypass duct to achieve the same result. A power humidifier can be noisier to operate but is generally more energy efficient.
Both types of flow-through humidifiers are ideal for small to medium-sized homes or workspaces that have forced-air heating systems installed.
A steam humidifier is often recommended in large homes and commercial spaces since they have dedicated power and their own separate heating element to generate the humidity.
Steam humidifiers can be more costly to install and run but are very energy-efficient and effective. This is also a particularly wise choice if you are living in new airtight construction or you do not have a forced-air heating system installed in your home.
Get in Touch
Right now and through September 30, 2019, save $25 on the humidifier of your choice and get two FREE humidifier pads with your purchase! Just complete this simple online form to claim your special offer!
Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.