Heat and Humidity: Finding the Balance

Heat and Humidity: Finding the BalanceWinter often inflicts a one-two punch on household humidity. First, the outside environment is typically drier in this season. Cold air doesn’t hold as much water vapor as warm summer air so the average relative humidity here in Terre Haute is generally lower in winter months. Second, the conventional gas-fired furnaces utilized in most residences tend to dry the air out even further — a hot burner flame plus continuous circulation through the ductwork wrings out even more water vapor.

Drier = Colder

Once indoor humidity levels drop below about 40%, the consequences can be both felt and observed:

  • Physical symptoms like dry, itchy skin, nosebleeds, and more frequent allergy symptoms are reported (drier air tends to keep airborne particulates stirred up and more likely to be inhaled.)
  • Another common symptom are the familiar static shocks that zap you after walking across a rug and touching some object.
  • You may see changes in the home, as well, as wooden flooring and furniture may shrink and splinter.
  • The house in general seems more chilly as the lower humidity doesn’t hold heat energy effectively. This leads to higher thermostat settings and increased heating bills.

While EPA recommendations call for an indoor humidity range between 30% and 60%, for most households a level around 45% is optimum for both comfort and heating efficiency. Since the outdoor climate probably won’t cooperate, proactive steps to add humidity to the indoor environment are usually called for.

The Whole House Solution

A whole-house humidifier maintains indoor humidity levels accurately and automatically–without the chore of refilling and cleaning individual room humidifiers. Installed inside your HVAC ductwork and controlled by a digital humidistat in the living areas (similar to your furnace or A/C thermostat) a whole-house unit continuously senses indoor humidity and adds water vapor to the airflow in your HVAC ductwork. Because the central duct system circulates air throughout all living spaces as the furnace fan runs, proper humidity is ensured throughout the “whole-house,” not just single rooms.

Ask Paitson Bros., your Terre Haute source for competent HVAC advice since 1922, about maintaining indoor humidity the whole-house way.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heating and humidity and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “clker-free-vector-images/Pixabay”

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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