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Low Humidity Dangers: Should You Install a Whole-Home Humidifier?

A Humidifier
Your heating and cooling system keeps your home and family comfortable during the different seasons. In addition, this important system helps maintain healthy air quality levels.

Unfortunately, certain conditions can affect your system's ability to maintain healthy air. While high humidity levels can lead to mold growth, damaged floors, and health problems, low humidity levels can also affect your home and well-being.

This guide and the help of professionals will teach you the dangers of low humidity levels and if a whole-home humidifier is a good option for you and your home.

Signs/Dangers of Low Humidity

In most cases, humidity levels are lower in a home during the winter while you run your heat. This low humidity is most common in homes that use forced air heating. With these systems, the furnaces use combustion to heat the air, which requires burning out the water vapor in the air.

On average, healthy humidity levels range between 30 and 50 percent. If your thermostat or hygrometer measures lowering than this range, your humidity is too low.

Of course, you may not realize the humidity is too low in your home until you start experiencing symptoms that affect your health, and different parts of your home show signs of distress.

One of the first signs you may notice is the level of comfort in your home. The low humidity can make the air feel cooler, making you run your heat longer in an attempt to warm up. This excess use of heat increases energy/fuel costs, but it can also decrease the humidity levels even further.

Another sign of low humidity is dry skin. You may develop dry patches of skin that become itchy and flaky. In addition, your nasal openings, respiratory tract, and throat may become dry and irritated. Nosebleeds, nasal congestion, breathing difficulties, and a sore throat are common if you have low humidity levels in your home.

Low humidity levels can also affect your eye health. You may experience dry, irritated eyes that affect your appearance and comfort level.

Electrostatic shock is also common when a home is too dry. You may feel a slight shock when touching a doorknob, or your hair may stand up when contacting certain objects in the home.

Finally, low humidity will affect your home and belongings. You probably already know that high amounts of humidity can warp wood furniture, cabinetry, and floors, but the loss of humidity in wood can cause it to contract.

When humidity levels are low, the wood may begin to show signs of distress, such as cracks and breaks. Hardwood floors may weaken and splinter, requiring replacements and refinishing of your floors.

Wallpaper may begin to peel off the wall, drawers and doors may come off-kilter, and gaps may appear between walls/floors and molding/trim.

Benefits of Whole-House Humidifier

If the humidity levels in your home are too low, you should install a humidifier to put moisture back into the air.

In most cases, the humidifier will only be necessary during the cooler months when you are heating your home. Have a contractor install this whole-home unit directly onto your heating system. The humidifier will adjust the amount of moisture that it empties into the air according to current humidity percentages.

A whole-home humidifier may require a larger upfront expense, especially when compared to a portable room humidifier, but the convenience and ease of use ensures it is a smart investment for your home and health.

To learn more about low humidity levels and if a whole-home humidifier is right for you, contact our team at Precision Heating & Cooling, Inc, today.