When you hear the word humidity, most people tend to cringe at the notion. Typically it’s associated with hot, summer weather and equated with discomfort and sweat. However, a certain level of humidity is actually beneficial and necessary in order to keep the atmosphere balanced and healthy, especially inside the home. If the air in your house becomes too dry it can cause nose and throat irritation (which can increase your chances for illness), chapped lips and skin, runny noses, and contraction of antique wood furniture or wood flooring.
Plus, dry air can damage your home (chipped paint, peeling wallpaper, cracked furniture) as well as generate some severe static electricity. But if the moisture levels get too high, mold, bacteria, dust mite, or other infestations can occur as well. So it’s important to keep your humidity levels in check, and the best way to control the dampness is with a central air humidifier.
What Is a Central Humidifier?
A humidifier is a piece of equipment that moisturizes the air with water vapor. Oftentimes, these devices come in portable, tabletop, or console models, allowing them to humidify a single room or area. However, a central humidifier is hardwired into to your home’s heating and air conditioning unit and then hooked up to the house’s plumbing. So instead of only working on a particular point of use (bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom), these permanent installations humidify the entire house at once, making them extremely efficient in terms of efficacy, conservation, and financial savings.
Portable Shmortable – Get a Hassle-Free Whole-House Humidifier
Now, let’s talk about whole-house humidifiers.
The cold winter air does more than induce shivers and teeth-chattering. The air becomes quite dry during the winter months, both indoors and out.
If you’ve ever felt the uncomfortable side effects of dry air in your home, such as itchy skin, irritation when breathing and even nosebleeds, then you’ve most likely considered the most common solution to this problem: a humidifier.
When most of us think of humidifiers, we automatically think of the portable type.
Here, you simply fill a tank with water, turn it on, and the machine puts humidity into the air until it’s turned off or, more likely, runs out of water. There’s not a lot of control.
In contrast, you can best combat the perils of dry air by installing a whole-house humidifier. It will keep your indoor air’s moisture at the perfect level, helping you stay comfortable regardless of how cold and dry it is outside.
A whole-house humidifier installs directly into your cooling and heating system and works hand-in-hand with your system to add humidity into the air in the form of water vapor at the source – your ductwork. The level of humidity is then monitored and controlled by your thermostat, just like the temperature is, and an even level of moisture can be released into your home all year long.
Whole-house humidifiers work with your HVAC system to help ensure that every room of your home has the optimal moisture levels for your family’s home comfort.
Fact is, dry air can cause respiratory problems and increased allergy symptoms for many people, especially in the winter. Dry air in your house can also draw moisture out of porous materials like wood, including furniture, woodwork, wood floors, pianos and other musical instruments. Plus, dry air makes the air temperature feel cooler than humidified air, so you set your thermostat higher to reach the same comfort level.
You can easily have a whole-house humidifier installed if you’re replacing your heating and cooling system or, more simply, you can have a unit fitted to your current system.
Putting a whole-house humidifier into your house can be rewarding in a number of ways. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more important advantages.
Bye, Bye Bugs
Winter is an especially bad time for dry air, and home heating systems, especially forced-air systems, can dramatically reduce indoor relative humidity. In the presence of low humidity, the air will dry out your body both inside and out. This causes uncomfortable problems like cracked lips, nosebleeds, itchy and irritated skin and much more. Fact is, dry air can have an adverse impact on your family’s health!
Let’s face it, most of us tend to spend more time inside during the winter season. Living spaces can become rife with germs that can lead to illness. Many viruses thrive in low-humidity environments, which can increase your likelihood of catching the flu, colds, and other respiratory ailments. Moreover, a dry, persistent cough, despite the lack of other cold or flu-like symptoms, is often a tell-tale sign of relatively low humidity.
Our respiratory systems have a mucus membrane that defends our bodies from germs and viruses. This mucus membrane can dry out when the humidity is low, which greatly reduces our bodies’ abilities to fight off illnesses. Additionally, many viruses and allergens survive longer in conditions of low humidity, so there will be a much better chance of illnesses lasting longer and spreading among family members if you don’t control your home’s humidity levels.
Dry air is not just hard on the lungs, it can also affect your skin, as dry air pulls moisture away from your body. Skin problems are often exacerbated by low levels of humidity – dried out skin is bad enough for people without skin conditions, but it’s much worse for anyone who suffers from things like eczema or dermatitis.
The easiest and most effective way to alleviate dryness in your home to help keep your family healthy this winter is by installing a whole-house humidifier.
Dry Air Sucks, Literally
Your health isn’t the only thing that’ll suffer if the air in your home is too dry. Dry air creates static electricity, which can cause damage to computers and electronics.
Dry air can even suck moisture out of your home’s wood floors, wood frames, and wood furnishings. Wallpaper may also peel at the edges if this air in your home is too dry. Wooden instruments, such as pianos and woodwinds can also warp, crack and split. In fact, most everyday objects and building materials require a delicate balance of moisture in order to age well, so keeping your home’s air properly humidified can also foster a longer life for your possessions and the structure of your house.
Snoring? There’s a Better Solution than Ear Plugs!
There are a handful of reasons why people with whole-house humidifiers sleep better. First, because they help protect against illness, your family will sleep better simply because they are healthier, less likely to be bothered by sore throats, coughing and sneezing and the like. In case you might not be aware, dry throats can also lead to heavier snoring. People have found that they snore less with normal humidity levels because their respiratory systems aren’t dried out. And generally, a whole-house humidifier, as we’ve described, will simply make your home more comfortable, making it easier to fall and stay asleep.
Hoping your baby will sleep through the night? Babies are much more susceptible to congestion than adults. They are also too young to take medication to help relieve their symptoms. A whole-house humidifier will let your baby breathe easier and help rid of that pesky mucus build-up.
Silence is Golden
Another advantage of a whole-house humidifier is that it makes almost no sound – they are virtually soundless, creating a peaceful home humidification process. The system is hidden away so that no one even know it’s there.
As an aside, if you’ve ever used a portable humidifier, you know it’s not so easy to hide. It’s a separate piece of equipment, not integrated into your HVAC system. The aesthetic benefit of a whole-house humidifier means your home humidifying device is hidden away from the eyes of family members and guests, all while improving air quality in your home.
Don’t Be Fuelish
Humidity is the second most important factor (next to temperature) in determining your home’s comfort levels. Moist air feels warmer than dry air!
While you can always crank up the thermostat to feel warmer, your furnace alone will not make you feel comfortable during the cold winter months. Proper humidity levels work in conjunction with heating devices to keep you snug and warm. When your house has the proper humidity levels, it will feel warmer at lower temperatures, so you’ll often find yourself feeling comfortable at lower thermostat settings after installing a whole-house humidifier.
And when you feel warmer at lower temperatures, you’ll notice a drop in your utility bills each month, which could save you hundreds of dollars throughout the years. When a house feels warmer by 8 degrees thanks to balanced humidity, it can mean up to a 25% savings on heating bills over the winter.
Set It and Forget It!
Did you ever consider the extra work in operating single-room humidifiers? First, they need to be carried from room to room, since they only have the capacity to add moisture to one room at a time. Plus, they require constant water refills in order to function properly. Of course, you can place a humidifier in each bedroom, as well as your living space, which only complicates the task of having to keep them filled.
There is no need to worry about such refills with a whole-house humidifier that connects right into your existing HVAC system. It simply draws water automatically from your home’s plumbing system, eliminating the need for water refilling.
Another advantage to the whole-house humidifier is ease of control. If you use a remote control, you can quite easily set and control your humidity levels, no fiddling or fuss.
As noted, dry air can be a major issue, but too much moisture also raises concerns in your home. High humidity levels support the growth of mildews and dust mites in your home. Excess moisture can also cause damage to your walls and furnishings. A whole-house humidifier can deliver just the right amount of moisture to every room without you having to worry about dry air or excessive moisture.Another thing — Whole-house humidifiers require attention only one to times a year. This includes a cleaning after the heating season to rid the unit of any mineral deposits from your local water supply. On the other hand, portable units require frequent cleaning. If not cleaned thoroughly, portable units can become playgrounds for bacteria, mold and germs.
After your whole-house humidifier has been installed on your HVAC system, you simply set the humidity level – you can truly “set it and forget it!”
Home, Sweet, Humidified Home
Chances are, you’re not the only homeowner who would enjoy breathing perfectly humidified air when inside your residence. For this reason, you may be able to further benefit from having a whole-house humidifier installed should you ever decide to sell your home.
As with any addition to your home, a whole-house humidifier only adds to its value. It may not be so much in terms of actual dollars, but it will make your home appear to have more bells and whistles. As a greater emphasis is placed on introducing modern technologies into residential properties, this update could set your house apart from the rest. Buyers look for upgrades like this in homes they are considering. You might also have your real estate agent emphasize the humidifier system in terms of adding to the healthful environment of your home.
You might be thinking, what’s the catch? Well, there is none!
Whole house humidifiers can completely change the comfort of your living space. As we’ve seen, they can provide the benefits of comfort and better health; plus, they can help preserve the interior finishes throughout your home. Plus, the can improve the efficiency of your comfort control system since areas feel warmer with the right level of moisture in the air.
At first glance. whole-house humidifiers can seem like a daunting and extensive installation task, but the process is much more straightforward than you might think.
When working with certified and experienced HVAC professionals like those at Lifetime Heating and Air Conditioning, you can easily get this efficient addition to your home’s climate control system.
Call or visit us online at (425) 553-4328 or www.lifetimeheating.com for more information.
“We Guarantee Your Comfort for a Lifetime!”