WHAT IS HUMIDITY AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT MY HOME?
Humidity is a measurement of the level of water droplets in the air and it can vastly affect the way the air feels and acts. Low humidity levels produce dry air that can be hard to breathe, makes our skin itchy and dry and promotes the growth of sickness. On the other hand, high humidity levels produce damp, clammy uncomfortable air.
An example of 2 extremes of humidity would be a desert versus a rainforest. One would be dry heat, while the other would be damp heat. The average humidity in the Sahara Desert, one of the driest places on earth is about 25%. It has a temperature range between 30 °C (86 °F) and 47 °C (117 °F) throughout a 24 hour period giving a temp swing of 17°C (31°F) . The temperature in the Congo rain forest ranges from 34 °C (93 °F) to 20 °C (68 °F) having a temp swing of 14°C (25°F) throughout a 24-hour period and the average humidity is between 77% and 88%. Both extremes can be uncomfortably hot due to humidity levels.
It is good to take note that a wet climate does not have as large of a temperature swing as a dry climate due to the higher humidity levels, this means wet air stays warmer longer after the sun or heat source is removed than dry air does (check out efficiency benefits of a humidifier below). Also, a wet environment “feels” uncomfortably hot at lower temperatures than a dry environment does.
WHAT IS A HUMIDIFIER AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE ONE?
A humidifier is a device that controls the level of humidity in your home. There are many benefits to controlling indoor humidity levels throughout the winter. During the winter months, our heating equipment drops the humidity levels in our homes as it heats the air to keep us warm. This dry air can be uncomfortable and makes our heating systems less efficient. When you take steps to keep your home in the range between 35%-45% humidity throughout the year, you’ll start saving money on heating and cooling bills, eliminate the static on carpets, prevent dry skin that can lead to nose bleeds, the spread of airborne viruses, and protect your most prized possessions such as; artwork, electronics, wooden furniture/antiques and even your precious wines.
HOW DOES HUMIDITY SAVE ME MONEY DURING THE WINTER?
Heating equipment dries out the air in our homes creating low humidity levels, by raising the humidity levels with a humidifier you can reap some benefits. Since we already know that moist air will stay warmer longer (just like a rainforest), if you keep your home at a higher level of humidity (40% average), the air inside can stay warmer longer. The way you save money and have more efficient equipment works like this. When your heating equipment turns on and heats up your house, then shuts off once your house is at the temperature you want, the air in your home will take longer to drop in temperature, meaning your furnace will turn on less. This cuts down on energy consumption and prolongs the life of your heating equipment. As well, because moist air “feels” warmer than dry air does (rainforest versus desert), you can set your thermostat down 1 degree Celsius with each degree saving approximately 4% of your heating bill.
WHY IS HUMIDITY A CONCERN IN THE COOLER SEASONS?
Humidity during summer months can be unbearable, air that is moist and warm feels muggy and damp. One of the first thing an air conditioner does, is remove excess humidity from the air before it begins to change the temperature of the air, this alone makes the air feel cooler than what it actually is before the temperature even drops. The excess moisture in the air, if not removed can cause issues in your home such as mold/mildew on windows sills as well as be uncomfortable and smelly to be in. An alternative to air conditioning is to have a dehumidification system installed although these systems only remove moisture from the air and do not change the temperature.
DO HUMIDITY LEVELS REALLY AFFECT MY IN-HOME VALUABLES?
Yes, humidity has a big impact on almost everything in our homes! Lower levels of humidity lead to minimal resistance in the air, where static shock is easily formed. Computers, video game systems, tv’s all need to be energized with electricity and usually come equipped with motherboards. These components are sensitive to static electricity and can malfunction due to it. It can be expensive to replace or fix electronic components. The cork in your wine bottles will dry out, due to the dry air and can crack, potentially contaminate your wine. Many hardwood floor companies require a humidifier be installed and maintained as a requirement for their warranty, dry air can destroy a brand-new hardwood floor in a very short period of time. High levels of humidity can create mold and mildew, rot out windows, water stains on walls and leave a musty smell in a contained space like a home. Humidity control is a good investment for any home and provides nothing but extensive benefits to you.