When air in your home gets dry, your respiratory system responds by drying out, too. Moist nose membranes that trap dust, bacteria, dirt and germs are no longer up to the job, so these “invaders” head straight for your lungs, exposing them to disease and triggering itchy noses and nosebleeds. And since over half of your skin is composed of water, guess what dries out next?
You’re miserable. Static electricity shocks you when you pet the dog, your sinus membranes are under attack and while you may not notice it, moisture is being sucked out of floors, walls and other structural elements.
Even your furnishings could suffer as wood bends and cracks in response to dry air. You’ve got too much to lose to maintain the status quo. Time to take action.
Why is my house so dry?
The succinct answer is low humidity, say James and Morris Carey whose Associated Press article on the topic wound up in a recent edition of the “San Diego Union-Tribune” newspaper.
The science can be complicated, but the concept isn’t: everything done within a home – from cooking and bathing to running HVAC systems – either contributes to or removes humidity from a home.
When there’s a lack of moisture, just about everything is impacted. There’s even a name for this: dry-home syndrome. Your house is thirsty!
Can low humidity be reversed? Of course. By paying attention to aforementioned signs that give you advance warning that you need moisture interjected into your home and your life—especially when things get cold in the north and indoor moisture is at a premium.
The simplest solution is a humidifier. These clever inventions are health and home savers. The more sophisticated the product, the more effective it will be, particularly if you invest in one that’s self-regulating, so they respond to changes in dryness in real time.
From tabletop humidifiers that require homeowners to fill wells with a constant supply of fresh water to keep them operational to whole-house units that are hooked up to HVAC systems, some are so sophisticated they can act as both humidifiers and dehumidifiers for year-round moisture control.
In terms of settings, industry professionals agree that a relative humidity of 45-percent is ideal, and even if your unit has no gauge, you can pick up an inexpensive hygrometer at the hardware store, so you are able to keep track of the number. And keep this in mind: The more artificial heat your home receives, the dryer your air will become, so that humidifier is doubly important.
Some Tips to Increase Humidity in Home
Having determined that you’ll fix your dry air by getting a humidifier, you can take other measures to increase humidity, some of which may remind you of the actions grandma took back in the day. They include:
- Heating big pots of water on a stove or radiator so water vapor fills the air.
- Use a crock pot to do the job: fill with water, plug in and let it do its thing.
- Toss a wet towel over heat vents so as air is pushed out it becomes moist.
- Place water on windowsills in rooms getting direct sunlight to help moisten air.
- Pick up a kit (about $20) that allows you to vent your clothes dryer indoors.
- Keep watering your house plants so they contribute to your home’s moisture.
- Add an indoor waterfall to your home décor.
- In a pitch, put your vaporizer to work, especially during the night.
Whether your personal solution is installing an efficient humidifier that interfaces with your HVAC system or you’ll buy a small unit because it works with your budget, just about everything and everyone in hour home will benefit from your purchase.
That includes the dog, whose patience may be wearing thin after getting one too many shocks from the hand that usually delivers some of the most pleasurable head scratches of all.