Cooler temperatures have arrived in Northridge, CA, which means that your home’s heating system will be working hard to maintain your indoor comfort. During the winter months of the year, you may have noticed that you get little shocks from static electricity. You may also notice that your eyes, lips, skin, and hair are drier. Read on to learn more about why humidifiers are used more in heating than in cooling and the role a humidifier plays in your comfort and health.
Difference Between Cold and Warm Air
During the wintertime, cold air has a low water saturation point. This means that it doesn’t take much moisture for the cold air to be saturated. In the summer, more moisture is required for full saturation. That’s why dew forms at night in the summer months. In your house, the cooler air in the late autumn through winter months of the year causes the moisture from your body to evaporate quickly. In the warm summertime, your body’s moisture takes much longer to evaporate.
How Your Heating System Affects Relative Humidity
When your property’s heating system turns on, the air temperature goes up. The amount of moisture in your home’s air doesn’t change. The warmer air temperature leads to a lower relative humidity level.
How Your Cooling System Affects Relative Humidity
Your house’s air conditioning system removes heat from the air. When the temperature is lower, the moisture condenses out of the air. This is similar to how moisture condenses on the grass overnight in the summer. The air conditioner collects the condensed water and drains it out of your residence through the condensate line. Cooling the air in your home leads to an increase in relative humidity, which is why the AC unit also removes moisture.
What Low Relative Humidity Does to Your Home
When the humidity level in your house drops, materials that absorb water may shrink or shrivel. For example, your hardwood floors may warp, or your floorboards may move apart. Paper, wool, and cotton may become dry and brittle. You may notice a buildup of static electricity, too, which delivers small shocks when you touch an item. Static electricity also causes charged items to stick together.
Effects of Low Humidity on Your Body
Your comfort and health are also affected by low indoor humidity. Your body loses moisture at a faster rate in a dry indoor environment. When your mucous membranes dry out, they’re more likely to get irritated and develop little cracks. Viruses and bacteria can get into those cracks, making it more likely for you to get sick. Dry, irritated skin is itchy and uncomfortable as well.
Types of Humidifiers
There are portable and whole-house humidifiers. A portable humidifier is ideal for one room in your home, such as a bedroom. A whole-house humidifier is built into your house’s ducts. It uses filtered water to add moisture to the warmed air produced by your furnace or heat pump. It’s connected to your heating and plumbing systems, too. Portable humidifiers must be refilled with distilled water each day. They also need regular disinfection in order to prevent mold growth. Whole-home dehumidifiers need a filter change every three to six months.
How Humidifiers Help in the Winter
Using a whole-home humidifier in the winter restores the right temperature and humidity balance to your residence. An ideal indoor humidity level is 40% to 50%. When your house’s air has a relative humidity of 40% to 50%, the air feels warmer than it does at a lower humidity level. You might even be able to lower your thermostat during the winter if you’re using a whole-home humidifier. Viruses, such as influenza and rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, thrive in dry conditions. Keeping the humidity level around 40% to 50% reduces the circulation of viruses in your home.
Benefits of Using a Humidifier During the Winter
Maintaining an ideal indoor humidity level keeps your mucous membranes well-moisturized. They’re less likely to be irritated, inflamed, or cracked. This makes it easier for you to keep up your defenses against germs. If your property has hardwood floors, trim, cabinets, or furniture, keeping the humidity level consistent reduces the risk of warping, splitting, cracking, and other types of damage.
Kahn Air Conditioning is Northridge’s trusted provider of whole-home humidifiers. Customers also rely on us for affordable heating and air conditioning repair, replacement, installation, and maintenance services. We offer ductless heating and cooling systems as well. Call us today for additional information about whole-home humidifiers and why they’re used more often during the heating season than the cooling season.