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Indoor Air Quality and the Role of Humidifiers

In this day and age, we spend most of our time indoors, so it’s important to make sure that the indoor air you’re breathing in all day is of high quality. But how? Humidifiers can help increase indoor air quality by preventing overly dry air, a common occurrence during winters in Chicago homes.

What Humidifiers Do

When there's not enough moisture in the air, it can feel dry and uncomfortable. This means that the humidity level of the air is too low, which can happen when the heating system is running and there’s not enough outdoor air coming indoors.

Humidifiers add moisture to indoor air to increase the humidity level. The ideal indoor humidity level is between 35 and 50 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), so a humidifier would work in conjunction with the cooling and heating system to maintain that level in your home.

Dry air can lead to health problems, damage to your home, and higher energy bills. A humidifier will help reduce all these issues, thus increasing your indoor air quality.

Better Health

A common result of indoor air with low humidity is dry, itchy skin, along with dry lips and noses. Your skin might get irritated, your sinuses may feel uncomfortable, lips may crack, and your throat might get sore. Some people may think all these things are just common issues during winter, but they're actually symptoms of overly dry air.

Too-dry air can cause other health issues, such as:

  • respiratory problems
  • dried out nasal passages, which reduces your natural protections against colds or the flu
  • higher susceptibility to infection
  • worsening of asthma and allergy symptoms
  • faster spread of the flu virus, which thrives in cold temperatures

Simply adding more moisture to indoor air with a humidifier will help reduce all these health issues that happen because of dry air.

Less Damage to Your Home

Dry air can also cause damage to your home and possessions. Static electricity becomes an issue when indoor air is too dry, which can lead to computer and electronic equipment damage. And it’s not that much fun to feel painful shocks yourself.

Wood can be damaged by air that's too dry. If you have hardwood floors, they can lose moisture and contract. This can cause flooring to separate at the seams. Wood furniture will suffer as well; dry air can cause wood to crack or split. Wood doors can become loose and not fit as tightly, and chairs can become wobbly.

Wallpaper won’t last very long in homes with dry indoor air. Lack of moisture in the air can cause wallpaper to peel at the edges. House plants don’t thrive as well in too-dry air.

A humidifier will protect your home and your possessions during the coldest of winters.

Lower Energy Bills

A humidifier can also help you save money on energy bills. The more humid the air is, the warmer we feel. That’s why it feels much hotter in Florida than California at the same temperature.

When humidity is maintained to the ideal level in your home, it never feels too dry and you can lower the setting on the thermostat and still feel warm and comfortable. The heating system will use less energy and you'll save money.

Types of Humidifiers

There are two main types of humidifiers: portable humidifiers and whole-house humidifiers. Both use water vapor to add moisture to the air, but whole-house humidifiers are much more effective at reducing dry air and increasing indoor air quality.

What makes a whole house humidifier better than a portable one?

  • Less maintenance. Once a whole-house humidifier is installed and set to a certain humidity level, it will do all the work for you. There's no daily cleaning required, nor will you need to replace the water when it runs out, like with a portable humidifier.
  • Better efficiency. You'll need to move a portable humidifier from room to room, while a whole-house humidifier works with your cooling and heating system and the ductwork to increase indoor air quality throughout your home.
  • More economical. Other than purchase and installation, a whole-house humidifier won't cost you much. Actually, it can decrease energy bills due to its efficiency.

For more information on how to increase indoor air quality with the help of humidifiers, contact Comfort24-7. We serve Chicago, northwestern Indiana and southwestern Michigan.

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