Humidifiers are great products to have in your home; they can do a lot to improve the indoor air quality and making living in your home a lot more comfortable.
However, you may not know when you should be using your humidifier and when it isn’t needed.
You may not even know WHY you need a humidifier in your home.
Let’s get familiar with what humidity is, what the level should be in your home, how to know when you should be using your humidifier, and what the advantages are of doing so.
What Is Humidity?
Humidity, in simple terms, is the amount of moisture that is in the air.
Air can hold a different amount of moisture at different temperatures: warm air has a higher capacity than cold air.
Believe it or not, humidity is actually a more important factor than temperature when it comes to how comfortable we feel in an environment.
A hygrometer is a tool used to measure how much humidity is in the home: many humidifiers and dehumidifiers will have a smart system called a humidistat installed that will take indoor humidity readings and regulate its own functionality accordingly.
Ideal Humidity Level for A Home
The ideal humidity for a home is between 40% and 60%.
The exact reading will vary depending on the temperature, which is why it is represented as a percentage.
40% humidity means that the air is holding 40% of its maximum capacity at the given temperature; this is referred to as relative humidity.
Any level outside of this 40-60% range will feel uncomfortable and will start to present in various noticeable ways.
Low humidity levels will result in frequent illness, cracking wood, dry skin, and various other symptoms.
High humidity in the home will look like condensation on windows and doors, mildew and mold build up, accumulation of allergens, congestion, and others.
Taking the right steps to control humidity throughout the entire house is essential for optimal health and longevity of the home.
Signs You Need A Humidifier
There are many indicators of low humidity in a home, but unless you know what they are, you won’t be able to combat the overly-dry air.
Let’s take a look at some of the most notable signs that your home is in need of a humidifier.
Dry, flaky skin on your scalp, hands, lips, or any other areas of your body is one of the first and most annoying symptoms of low humidity.
Dryness in the air will quickly result in dry skin, and this will often lead to flaking, itching, and cracking, especially on the hands, scalp, and lips.
While you can try to correct this by using lip balm and moisturisers, it won’t completely resolve until you correct the cause of it: low humidity.
Worsening Asthma or Allergies
While asthma and allergy symptoms can sometimes worsen as a result of overly humid air, dry air can be just as detrimental to a person’s respiratory system.
If you notice your asthma symptoms have gotten worse, and any other signs of low humidity have popped up in your home, it is more than likely that a humidifier is needed to add some water vapor back into the home.
If you find yourself being shocked when touching objects quite regularly or notice sparks when you move under blankets, these are signs that your home is full of static electricity.
Static electricity is a result of extremely dry air, and is one of the main signs that you are in desperate need of a humidifier.
This is another sign that can also appear when humidity levels are too high, but it is commonly seen with low humidity as well.
Dry air will dry out the mucous membranes in your respiratory tract.
This contributes to the worsening of various respiratory problems like asthma and allergies, but it also makes you more vulnerable to infection.
Not only will you not be able to expel inhaled viruses and bacteria as easily, but these pathogens will also survive longer in low humidity and have more opportunities to infect you.
If you notice that people in your home get cold or flu symptoms often, you should take a look at the humidity levels in the home and disinfect the living space thoroughly.
Just like dry air can affect the lining of your respiratory system, it can also damage your sinuses.
Inhaling drier air will pull moisture out of your sinuses and will result in a dry throat and more frequent nosebleeds.
A humidifier helps alleviate a sore throat and other sinus health problems by increasing the moisture in the air and therefore in your nasal passages as well.
Benefits Of A Humidifier
Different types of humidifiers will have their own sets of pros and cons, but whether you choose an ultrasonic humidifier, evaporative humidifier, impeller humidifier, steam vaporizer, or even a central humidifier, there are benefits that will be guaranteed.
If you have pets or children in the home, it is recommended that you choose a cool mist humidifier rather than a warm mist humidifier to reduce the risks, but any portable humidifier and whole home humidifier will have some things in common.
Correcting low humidity with a humidifier of any kind will improve your overall health.
You’ll lower the pathogen load in your home, improve your passive immune system, and experience less discomfort in your respiratory system.
A humidifier can’t solve every health problem you encounter, but it can certainly make a lot of things a lot better.
Just like an overly humid home can be uncomfortable to spend time in, an overly dry home can be the exact same way.
Especially in the winter months, when the air outside is cold and dry, your body needs a place to recover and feel better.
A dry, cool home in the wintertime will only exacerbate your issues, lead to frequent shocks from static electricity, and produce a general feeling of discomfort.
While a humidifier will cost you money for its initial purchase and maintenance (you should be buying distilled water instead of using tap water), a humidifier can actually save you some money in the long run.
Just like a dehumidifier can make your air conditioning run smoother in the summer, a humidifier can help your heating system run more efficiently.
When the air moving through the heating system is already warm and moist from the humidifier, the heating won’t have to work as hard to reach and maintain your target temperature.
This will save money on heating costs and also reduce the frequency of maintenance on these complex systems.