Winter is right around the corner and with it comes freezing temperatures, frequent illness, and dry indoor air. If you struggle with discomfort during the winter in your home, you may benefit from investing in a humidification system. Our professionals at Carrier Cooling Center are here to inform you about home humidification, different systems available, and the benefits they can provide during the winter season.
What Is Humidity?
Humidity is a measure of how much moisture exists in the air. Typically, humidity is lower in the winter and can be very high in some areas in the summer. A more important question, however, is what is the relative humidity in your home? Relative humidity takes into account the temperature and moisture levels, which directly affect how comfortable we are in our homes. For instance, a room that is 77 degrees Fahrenheit can hold 22 grams of water in a cubic meter of air. If that much moisture actually exists, you have a relative humidity of 100 percent. If only 11 grams of water exists, your relative humidity is 50 percent. At 100 percent relative humidity at any temperature, the surrounding air will be holding its maximum amount of water, which means sweat cannot evaporate from human skin, making us feel hotter. When relative humidity is low, any moisture on our skin does evaporate, making us feel cooler. Ideally, your home should have a relative humidity of about 40 to 50 percent.
How Does a Humidifier Work?
A humidifier is a device that emits water vapor to increase the humidity in your home. There are many different mechanical systems that allow you to do this. Here are the humidifiers commonly available and how they operate:
- Evaporative humidifier. As the most common type of humidifier, an evaporative system takes water from a holding tank, moves it to a basin that contains a wicking material, and then uses a fan to blow air through the wet filter. This moisture moves to the surrounding air in the room.
- Steam vaporizer. This system essentially boils water and releases steam into your home to provide humidification. It is the simplest and least expensive option.
- Impeller humidifier. In an impeller-based system, a spinning disc throws water at a diffuser, which further breaks down the water droplets to create a cool mist.
- Ultrasonic humidifier. Operating silently, an ultrasonic humidifier has a metal component that vibrates at a high frequency to create water droplets.
Many room humidifiers can be purchased just about anywhere and work especially well in bedrooms when family members are trying to recover from a winter illness. However, if you live in a very dry climate, it may be worth investing in a whole-house humidifier that works with your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Whole-house humidifiers can help balance the moisture levels throughout your home. Many whole-house humidifiers are bypass systems that add moisture to the warm air blowing from your furnace. When air comes through the heating ducts, it passes through a built-in water panel, picking up the moisture that can be distributed throughout your home. Fan-powered humidifiers take the bypass systems one step further by using a fan to force air through the water panel, which increases evaporation further. Just like steam vaporizers can humidify a single room, whole-house steam humidifiers can use the same technology to blow steam throughout your house regardless of whether the furnace is operating or not. This is the fastest and most effective method of humidification.
How Does Low Humidity Affect My Life?
When you have very dry, winter air in your home, you will experience overall discomfort. First, you’ll feel colder because all the moisture from your skin evaporates into the air around you. Many people are plagued with dry, chapped skin or uncomfortable sore throats as a result. Humidity below 30 percent can also make seasonal colds, the flu, and respiratory illnesses more uncomfortable. In addition, very dry air can damage things like wood furniture or sensitive musical instruments in your home.
Let’s Discuss Your Home’s Humidity
If you’re looking for humidification solutions or have other heating, cooling, or ventilation needs, Carrier Cooling Center is here to help. Contact one of the pros in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Texas, California, or New Mexico to get started. Find a dealer today.