It's Time for a Humidifier

If you live in a cold climate, you probably deal with low humidity every winter. Cold air can’t hold much moisture, so your home naturally dries out this time of year. The solution is to run a humidifier.

What is a Humidifier?

This equipment has one purpose: increase the humidity level in an interior space. There are two main types of humidifiers:

  • Portable humidifiers are small enough to set on a tabletop. They feature a water reservoir that you must refill periodically to keep the humidifier running. This option is best if you only want to humidify one room in your home, such as the bedroom while you sleep.
  • Whole-house humidifiers are installed in the HVAC system and work in tandem with your furnace. A humidistat controls the water output, which is directly connected to the plumbing for your convenience. These machines require professional installation, but the end result is a comfortable, evenly humidified home.

How Does a Humidifier Work?

Different humidifiers are available, each of which works slightly differently:

  • Evaporative humidifiers feature a cold-water reservoir and a wicking filter. A fan blows air over the filter as it absorbs water, evaporating the moisture and sending it into the room at a regulated rate.
  • Impeller humidifiers sling water from a spinning disc to a comb-like diffuser. This splits the water into tiny droplets that waft into the air as a cool mist.
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers operate silently, using a metal diaphragm that vibrates at high frequency to produce a cool mist.
  • Steam humidifiers, or vaporizers, boil water and release the resulting warm steam into the air.

Who Needs Increased Humidification?

The goal is to keep your home in the ideal comfort zone of 30 to 50 percent relative humidity. With an inexpensive, handheld hygrometer, you can measure the humidity level in each room of your home. If any are significantly lower than 30 percent, you could benefit from increased humidification. It’s especially beneficial to run a humidifier when you’re congested, or if you’re prone to dry skin or bloody noses in the winter. For all your indoor air quality concerns, visit our service page.

What are Some Humidifier Benefits?

Here are the top ways running a humidifier in the winter benefits you and your family:

  • Stay healthy: Humidification helps reduce the spread of germs through the air. Comfortable humidity also eases congestion and enables you to recover from illnesses more quickly.
  • Sleep better: Winter is a prime time for scratchy throats, parched mouths, and dry nasal cavities. Keeping your bedroom at a comfortable humidity level helps you sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed, not dried out.
  • Prevent dry skin and hair: Many people only use lotion in the winter. To prevent dry skin, a flaky scalp, and brittle hair, run a humidifier in your home.
  • Save on your utility bills: Evaporation has a cooling effect. It’s the reason you sweat when you’re overheated. Of course, this is not the effect you want in the winter. By humidifying the air, less moisture evaporates from your skin, and you can turn down the thermostat by a degree or two without feeling uncomfortable.
  • Reduce static electricity: Static shock is irritating. It makes your clothes stick to your body, hair stand on end, and fingers sting when you touch a metal doorknob or light switch. Adding more moisture to the air with a humidifier decreases the buildup of static electricity to reduce these annoyances.

You can enjoy many humidifier benefits from running a tabletop unit, but the best way to maximize comfort during the winter is to install a whole-house humidifier. Contact Aire Serv® today to learn more about installing a humidifier in your home and visit our heating repair, replacement and maintenance page in this season.

To help meet all of your home service needs, check out Neighborly. Once on the site, click on "Join the Community" to find providers to service all your home needs.