During those sweltering Fort Worth days of sticky, summer heat, it’s hard to think that you’d ever question whether there’s enough humidity in the air. But during the winter, when the dew point is much lower, and the cold weather leads to more time spent indoors, you may find yourself wondering: is my home humid enough? As the air gets colder in Fort Worth, our heaters start warming things up and drying things out. Without efforts to keep moisture levels in check, you may be compromising your comfort, and believe it or not, your health.
As winter weather waxes and warm weather wanes, you’re probably going to throw lip balm and moisturizer like it’s going out of style. It seems like a losing battle as your eyes become drier and irritated and your skin gets flakier and itchier. As if that’s not troubling enough, a review of the health effects of relative humidity in indoor environments at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that relative humidity can lead to respiratory infections and allergies. Too much humidity can cause unwanted fungi and mold to grow. Too little, and you’re setting the stage for allergenic mites to take over and may be aiding in the survival of airborne infectious viruses and bacteria. So what’s ideal? For the best comfort and health benefits, the NIH suggests that you keep your home between 40-60% relative humidity.
A whole home humidifier is a great option to keep your home at comfortable, healthy levels all winter long, but they can get a little pricey depending on the size of your home and installation. If you’re not in the market or able to make that commitment just yet, try a simple table-top humidifier for smaller rooms, or floor-models for larger areas in your home. As with any small and large appliances, be sure you’re cleaning them as recommended and using distilled (or demineralized) water – especially if you have any allergy sufferers in your family! If you want some super simple solutions that you can easily incorporate into your daily lives, try adding houseplants to your home, drying clothes on a rack, or simply boiling some water on the stove to add a boost of moisture to the air. Even things like leaving the bathroom door open after a steamy bath or shower can help alleviate that itchy, dry air.
Regardless of your efforts, the key is to hit that middle RH (relative humidity) of about 50%. Humidistats with your whole-home system will provide automated management, and some larger humidifiers can be set to your preferred levels so you don’t have to worry about turning them on and off. Remember, too much moisture opens up a whole other can of worms and can also cause strain on your HVAC system as it works harder to compensate for the excess humidity.
Knowing your home’s RH all year long is going to be integral in maintaining a comfortable and healthy environment for you and your family. Keep a hygrometer on hand to test your home’s levels, maximize your comfort and keep your HVAC system working at its best. Luckily, our dry days of winter are numbered and soon enough, we’ll go back to the dog days of summer, having a whole separate conversation about humidity and how to escape it. We are still a few months away, but when we get there, you know the folks at Titan Air Solutions will be right here to help!