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Why a Whole-House Humidifier is a Winter Necessity
General Heating & Air Conditioning

Why a Whole-House Humidifier is a Winter Necessity

One of the most common summertime complaints is the high humidity in the air. Between the frizzy hair and uncomfortable sweat, too much humidity can have us wishing for winter weather. But once winter settles into Minnesota, we can end up on the other end of the extreme. Just as too much humidity can make life miserable, too little humidity comes with its own set of problems.

If the humidity levels in your home are too dry, the heating and cooling pros at General Heating & Air Conditioner can help with a whole-house humidifier. Here’s what you need to know to improve your residential indoor air quality and restore humidity levels to a comfortable norm.

The Trouble With Dry Air

Humidity is directly connected to your home AC unit. While hot air tends to retain moisture, cool air does not. Unfortunately, your home’s heater adds to the problem. Recycling air that’s been heated again and again can end up drying out the air in your home.

Dry air can make a home uncomfortable in many ways:

  1. Dry Skin

Does your skin become itchy and dry in the winter? Worse yet, does the skin on your hands or nose crack or even split during the coldest winter days? Your home’s humidity level may be partly responsible. For individuals who suffer from skin conditions like dermatitis or eczema, these issues can become aggravated with dry air.

Dry air can also lead to a number of other skin problems. It can cause the oil glands in your skin to work too hard, paradoxically leading to acne. Additionally, if you find yourself constantly applying lip balm and your lips are still cracked or you can’t seem to apply enough moisturizer or lotion, installing a home humidifier will improve your comfort levels.

A whole-house humidifier adds humidity to your home’s air to help your skin maintain its natural moisture. Well-hydrated skin is healthier overall, maintaining its natural elasticity better.

  1. Ear, Nose, and Throat Problems

Have you ever used a personal humidifier to ease the symptoms of an uncomfortable head cold? Then you know the important role of humidity levels in ear, nose, and throat health.

Your respiratory system depends on healthy membranes. The mucous membranes in your sinuses and nasal passages can dry out as the humidity levels in your home begin to fall in the winter.

This can cause nosebleeds, nasal discomfort, sinus irritation, and even hoarseness or sore throats. Irritated respiratory systems are more vulnerable to winter respiratory infections as well. In addition to easing your winter respiratory symptoms, a whole-house humidifier may also ease dry eyes.

  1. Trouble Sleeping

If you only snore during winter, you’re not alone. When your respiratory system is irritated, this can lead to snoring. Loud snoring can disrupt others who share your home, but it can even disrupt your own sleep as well!

When you snore loudly, it can prevent you from entering the deeper levels of the sleep cycle that are necessary for restorative rest. If you’re waking up with a dry throat and feeling tired, a whole-house humidifier can be a game-changer.

  1. Temperature Control Problems

Humidity can have a tricky effect on the way your home feels. When a room or home has low humidity, it can feel colder than it actually is inside your home. If you’re running your heater at a higher temperature than you feel like you should be and you’ve had recent furnace service, your humidity levels could be to blame.

  1. Static Electricity

Are you going through dryer sheets faster than you can buy them? Have you left your house only to find a sock stuck to the back of your shirt? Dry air causes static electricity, which is why winter can leave you with hair that literally stands on end.

  1. Damaged Paint

The humidity levels in museums are tightly controlled for a reason. Over time, the dry air from low humidity levels can dry out paint. While you may not own an original Monet, you still want to protect the paint on your walls and furnishings from drying out and cracking.

  1. Cracked Wood

If you have hardwood floors in your home, leaving them exposed to low winter humidity levels could prematurely age them. The same is true for wood furniture. When wood floors or furniture dry out over time, they can end up cracking and splitting or simply losing their gleam and vitality.

What Is a Whole-House Humidifier?

Now that you know why dry air is so bad for you and your home, it’s time to learn what a whole-house humidifier does and how to install it.

As the name implies, a whole-house humidifier is a humidifier that connects through your home heating system to provide extra humidity. Most types of whole-house humidifiers add water vapor to your home through fans in your air ducts. You can modify or automatically set your humidity level with a humidistat.

If you have yet to gain prior experience working in the HVAC field and tinkering with home appliances, installing a whole-house humidifier without professional help isn't recommended. Dealing with attaining a permit for installation, understanding how water lines and electrical wires work and connect to your whole-house humidifier, and choosing the right size and type of humidifier for your home is virtually only possible with years of experience.

Whole-house humidifiers go by many different names, so if you are on the market for one, also research using the term “furnace humidifier.”

Five Benefits of a Whole-House Humidifier in the Winter

  • Improved Personal Comfort: Sleep peacefully throughout the night with filtered humid air to ease your sore throat and dry skin.
  • Healthier Breathing: Humid air improves respiratory health in the winter, so you are less likely to get sick. A whole-house humidifier will even help you recover quicker from colds, flu, and seasonal allergies.
  • Save Money: Dry air feels much colder than moist air, which means without a humidifier running, you are more likely to turn the heat up without a humidifier running. Additionally, whole-house humidifiers last much longer than portable alternatives, saving you more in the long run.
  • Prevent Home Damage: Dry winter air deteriorates the inside of your home really quickly. Save yourself the hassle of replacing your paint, furnishings, and hardwood floor.
  • Low-Maintenance Compared to Portable Humidifiers: Portable humidifiers have to be cleaned daily to prevent the spread of mold, and we all know how much humidity helps mold grow. You only need to clean a whole-house humidifier once a week or once every two weeks. You also don’t need to worry about refilling a whole house humidifier.

What About Too Much Humidity?

Too much humidity is a rare issue to have in the winter. Still, given Minnesota experiences humid summers, it is essential to know what to do when there is too much humidity.

Most people don’t realize this, but whole-house humidifiers actually also work as dehumidifiers, reducing the amount of water vapor in the air to whatever level you set at the humidistat. If you have your humidifier set too high, you run the risk of overheating or negatively impacting your breathing because there is less oxygen to breathe.

Your Source for Twin Cities Air Quality Systems

If you’re tired of shocking yourself every time you turn on the light switch and you’re ready for better comfort levels all winter long, General Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our heating and cooling pros have been proudly serving Twin Cities homeowners for more than 50 years!

Contact us on the web or call us at 952-445-2820 to connect with a heating and air conditioning specialist and schedule your whole-house humidifier installation today. We look forward to working for you!

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