The Importance of Humidity

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Many homeowners do not understand just how important the amount of humidity in their homes can be. The amount of moisture in the air can dictate how the inhabitants of a home may feel or even allow for certain unwanted organisms to grow within the home. However, maintaining humidity levels may be the last thing on your mind, especially if you are busy keeping your air conditioner, roof and gutters maintained. Regardless, adding the maintenance of humidity levels could greatly improve the way that you feel while hanging out at home.

 
Dealing with Dry Air

You may find that you suffer from dry sinuses, dry skin and chapped lips during the winter time or when the air becomes particularly dry during the summer. Dry indoor air can cause a person to suffer from nosebleeds, headaches and other associated illnesses.

The main way to increase the humidity level within the home is to purchase a humidifier. There are several different types of humidifiers available, including:

  • Install a Central Humidifier: These humidifiers are included as part of the home’s HVAC system and are designed to raise humidity levels throughout the home.
  • Impellar Humidifiers: These humidifiers have a rotating disk installed that produces a cool mist.
  • Steam Vaporizers: Electricity is used to create a cooling steam that is then released into the air. Because this device involves hot water, it is not recommended for households that have children or pets.
  • Ultrasonic Humidifiers: These devices use an ultrasonic vibration to produce a mist that increases humidity levels.
  • Evaporators: Air is blown through a wet material, which could be a wet filter, belt or wick.

Dealing with Damp Air

High humidity levels often becomes a problem during the summer time. Occupants who suffer from certain allergies may be more likely to suffer from respiratory problems or even asthma flare-ups. Further, dust mites, molds and bacteria can also grow within the home if the humidity levels are high enough.

There are several things that you can do to lower the humidity levels within the home:

  • Purchase a Dehumidifier: Dehumidifiers suck the excessive moisture from the air and collect it in a reservoir.
  • Install a Permanent Dehumidifier
  • Run the Air Conditioner: When air is forced through the air conditioner, the air is not only cooled but dried.

What are the Ideal Humidity Levels?

In general, humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air. If the home does not have proper ventilation, the indoor air can become stale and dry. However, if too much moisture is added to the indoor air, the occupants of the home could also suffer from symptoms associated with the flu while the growth of harmful bacteria and other organic contaminants may be assisted.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that homeowners keep their indoor humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. If you or another occupant suffer from allergies, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor about what humidity levels would be right for you.

How do I Measure My Home’s Humidity Levels?

The device used to test humidity levels is called a hygrometer, which resembles a thermometer. While these devices can be purchased at any of your local hardware stores, many humidifiers also come equipped with a hygrometer to help keep indoor humidity at a healthy level. Hydrometers come in both analog forms and digital forms, both of which are simple to use and allow you to better control the conditions within your home.

 

The Importance of Moisture During the Winter Season

Friday, February 5th, 2016

36. Drop of waterAlong with a string of holidays and vacations, the winter season often brings with it dry air, itchy skin and sore, scratchy throats. While you may believe that this is just something that must be dealt with each winter, that’s just not the case. There are many ways that you can increase the amount of moisture in your home.

 

The Importance of Moisture for Your Health

When the temperature drops, the amount of moisture in the air also decreases. This decrease in moisture is often accompanied by dry skin and stuffy noses, in addition to an increased risk of suffering from a sinus infection or cold. This is because the body needs a certain amount of moisture to properly function; for example, certain body fluids, such as mucous linings in your nose, mouth and throat, assist with taking air into the body. When the air is dry, any excess moisture from the body evaporates, leaving a dry nose, a scratchy throat and irritated skin. If your skin feels dry and you’re suffering common cold symptoms without actually feeling sick, it may be beneficial to increase the humidity in your home. 

Humidifiers

Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air is one of the easiest ways to increase indoor winter comfort. There are different types of humidifier available depending upon your personal needs. Some tabletop humidifiers simply release a mist into the air while others warm or cool the water before releasing it. For those who suffer chronic dryness, a whole house humidifier may be more appropriate. These humidifiers are installed as part of your home’s heating and cooling units, allowing the moisture to be added to the indoor air as it re-circulates. 

Alternative Ways to Increase Moisture in Your Home

While a humidifier can help remedy dry air inside your home, there are plenty of ways to increase the moisture level using every day items. Some of these ways include:

  • Leave water in the bathtub or sink after you’ve finished washing. Dry air will soak up any moisture available, so this is a great way to use leftover water. However, if you have kids or pets, this could be a drowning hazard if left unattended.
  • Decorate your home using bowls filled with water. While this is similar to leaving the water in the bathtub, using bowls allows you to add moisture in the air while removing the risk of drowning. Just make sure to keep the bowls out of reach of children or pets.
  • Hang damp clothes on a drying rack and let them air dry. Not only will you avoid making the air even drier by using a dryer, your damp clothes will help increase the moisture in the air.
  • Use the stove top to cook instead of the oven. Using the oven to cook can actually dry the air out while cooking with boiling water will add moisture. Making tea or other hot drinks can also help.

Dangers of Too Much Moisture

While moisture is absolutely essential in keeping you healthy and increasing your comfort during the winter months, it is possible to add too much moisture. Moisture allows for the growth of mold and bacteria, which can be harmful to a person’s health. Humidifiers are also notorious for being breeding grounds for mold; the mold spores can be released from the unit in a mist that is then breathed in by the home’s occupants. 

One way to avoid this is to use humidifiers only when the air becomes too dry. It is recommended that you purchase a hygrometer, which measures the amount of moisture in indoor air. Routinely cleaning the humidifier will also reduce the risk of growing harmful bacteria or mold.

 

How to Stay Warm This Winter while Reducing Your Energy Bills

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Depending upon where you live, heating your home during the winter can be an expensive endeavor. Even if you strive to keep your heating equipment and vents in good, maintained condition, you may find your electric bills to be on the expensive side. While many often harbor slightly negative feelings towards the changing season and the onset of cold weather, there are a number of innovative ways that can help you keep your home a warm haven while keeping your energy bills reasonable.

 

Install a Programmable ThermostatAprilaire 8600 Thermostat

The lower you set your thermostat, the more you could potentially save on your energy bill. However, lowering your thermostat too much could make for a very cold winter. A programmable thermostat allows you to keep your home at a comfortable during the day while adjusting to lower temperatures while you sleep. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy stated that turning down the temperature 10 degrees for just eight hours could shave 10 percent off of your bill.

Ensure that Your Home is Well-Insulated

The small gaps around your windows and doors are quite efficient in sucking the air you’ve been paying to heat outside. Applying weather-stripping and ensuring that the caulk around your windows is well-maintained can save up to 30 percent on your energy bills.

For drafts caused by the space between your doors and flooring, the use of a draft snake can be a quick and easy fix. For example, placing a rolled up towel on the floor against the door should keep the warm air in and the cold air out. If you or your family members are stuck indoors due to poor weather conditions, a funky, attractive draft snake could potentially make a great project to keep everyone occupied.

Further, many hardware or general retail stores offer window insulation kits. These kits include plastic that can be used to cover your windows to provide an additional buffer between the inside and outside environment. When installed properly, the plastic becomes virtually invisible.

Seal Off Unused Portions of Your Home

If there are portions of your home that you just don’t use on a regular basis, don’t waste money on heating them. Seal off the ducts in these rooms and use a draft snake to plug any gaps. Not only will you use less heat overall, it will take less energy to heat the portion of your home that you do use. Further, shutting off unused rooms also reduces the amount of circulation of air throughout your home, which also reduces the amount of heat lost. Rooms that may not need to be regularly heated could include any room that you use for storage or your garage.

Invest in a HumidifierAprilaire Model 600 Humidifier

During the winter, the air within your home often becomes dry. Not only can dry air dry out your skin and cause discomfort, but it also makes you feel colder. Air that is moist holds heat and can make you feel warmer, especially if you set your thermostat to a lower temperature. As an added bonus, the moisture from a humidifier may also have some additional health benefits.

Check Your Water Heater

As the technology continues to advance, many people are choosing to turn to tankless water heaters or water heaters that make use of solar power. Not only do these types of water heaters reduce the amount of electricity your home uses, you can also take advantage of a federal tax credit that could potentially reimburse you for 30 percent of the cost or a maximum of $1,500.

If you are not in the market for a new water heater, you don’t have to lose out on the savings. One simple way to reduce your costs is to turn down the temperature of your water heater. When they are installed, water heaters are often set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In reality, most households do not need or use that much steam. Setting the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit could cut your bill by up to 10 percent.

 

The Importance of Moisture During the Winter Season

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Along with a string of holidays and vacations, the winter season often brings with it dry air, itchy skin and sore, scratchy throats. While you may believe that this is just something that must be dealt with each winter, that’s just not the case. There are many ways that you can increase the amount of moisture in your home.

36. Drop of waterThe Importance of Moisture for Your Health

When the temperature drops, the amount of moisture in the air also decreases. This decrease in moisture is often accompanied by dry skin and stuffy noses, in addition to an increased risk of suffering from a sinus infection or cold. This is because the body needs a certain amount of moisture to properly function; for example, certain body fluids, such as mucous linings in your nose, mouth and throat, assist with taking air into the body. When the air is dry, any excess moisture from the body evaporates, leaving a dry nose, a scratchy throat and irritated skin. If your skin feels dry and you’re suffering common cold symptoms without actually feeling sick, it may be beneficial to increase the humidity in your home.

Humidifiers

Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air is one of the easiest ways to increase indoor winter comfort. There are different types of humidifier available depending upon your personal needs. Some tabletop humidifiers simply release a mist into the air while others warm or cool the water before releasing it. For those who suffer chronic dryness, a whole house humidifier may be more appropriate. These humidifiers are installed as part of your home’s heating and cooling units, allowing the moisture to be added to the indoor air as it re-circulates.

Alternative Ways to Increase Moisture in Your Home

While a humidifier can help remedy dry air inside your home, there are plenty of ways to increase the moisture level using every day items. Some of these ways include:

  • Leave water in the bathtub or sink after you’ve finished washing. Dry air will soak up any moisture available, so this is a great way to use leftover water. However, if you have kids or pets, this could be a drowning hazard if left unattended.
  • Decorate your home using bowls filled with water. While this is similar to leaving the water in the bathtub, using bowls allows you to add moisture in the air while removing the risk of drowning. Just make sure to keep the bowls out of reach of children or pets.
  • Hang damp clothes on a drying rack and let them air dry. Not only will you avoid making the air even drier by using a dryer, your damp clothes will help increase the moisture in the air.
  • Use the stove top to cook instead of the oven. Using the oven to cook can actually dry the air out while cooking with boiling water will add moisture. Making tea or other hot drinks can also help.

Dangers of Too Much Moisture

While moisture is absolutely essential in keeping you healthy and increasing your comfort during the winter months, it is possible to add too much moisture. Moisture allows for the growth of mold and bacteria, which can be harmful to a person’s health. Humidifiers are also notorious for being breeding grounds for mold; the mold spores can be released from the unit in a mist that is then breathed in by the home’s occupants.

One way to avoid this is to use humidifiers only when the air becomes too dry. It is recommended that you purchase a hygrometer, which measures the amount of moisture in indoor air. Routinely cleaning the humidifier will also reduce the risk of growing harmful bacteria or mold.

Installing an automatically controlled whole-home humidifier can be the answer. It adds humidity on an automatic basis based on the outdoor temperature. Call us today for more information about installing the correct model.

Aprilaire Whole-Home Humidifier