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Why Do You Need To Raise Your Indoor Humidity in Winter?

A humidifier helping with the air quality

While managing relative indoor humidity levels is a year-long task for property owners, one must make sure to raise it during the winter season. In today’s post, air conditioning repair service contractor Shackelford Heating & Cooling explains why raising indoor humidity is important to maintain indoor comfort.

Relative Indoor Humidity

Warmer temperatures allow more water to remain suspended in the air in vapor form — this is why it tends to be humid during the warm seasons. As the temperature drops, the moisture in the air cannot remain in its vapor form, resulting in dry air.

The term “relative indoor humidity” refers to the indoor moisture levels relative to the air temperature, and is expressed as a percentage on thermostats, humidifiers and standalone hygrometers. Most people find comfort within the 30% to 50% range, but this may differ depending on certain factors such as the house or building’s insulation, type of HVAC system and the local climate.

Risks of Low Humidity Levels in Winter

Dry air can cause problems such as dry skin and irritated sinuses. It may also increase your susceptibility to respiratory infections. Static electricity also tends to build up under dry conditions. You’ve probably experienced electrostatic shock numerous times during the season from touching your blankets, metal objects and certain types of fabrics. Dry air can also cause damage to parts of your home that are made of wood, like the house framing, furniture and flooring. Items made of paper are likewise at risk.

How To Raise Indoor Humidity in Winter

Fortunately, managing relative indoor humidity levels is not difficult. If you have a whole-home ducted HVAC system, you can have your heating and air conditioning service contractor install a humidifier in the air handler. Alternatively, you can purchase portable humidifiers if you want to manage humidity levels per room.

Some low-tech solutions can also help. You can, for example, place bowls of water near the HVAC floor registers or on a sunny windowsill to introduce moisture into the air as it evaporates. Cracking the bathroom door as you shower, letting your kettle boil on the stove a bit longer, and planning your meals to include more slow-cooked dishes can also help introduce moisture to your indoor space. Make it a point to check your thermostat’s humidity indicator (or you can purchase a separate hygrometer) to make sure you’re not over-humidifying your home.

Shackelford Heating & Cooling can help you with humidifier installation and residential heating repair. Give us a call at (608) 530-0667, or you can fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation. We serve communities in Madison, WI.


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