In addition to creating and maintaining comfortable temperatures indoors, your HVAC system offers a modest amount of humidity reduction. It does this by extracting excess moisture from the air and directing it down a condensate drain. This process keeps your living space from becoming muggy and oppressive. It also minimizes the risk of mildew, mold, and structural damage. However, residential heaters and air conditioners are limited in their ability to regulate humidity. They have a finite capacity for extracting excess moisture, but they are not capable of adding it. Thus, when indoor conditions become too dry for health, comfort, or safety, you’ll need the help of a humidifier. Read on to discover several ways to know whether you need a humidifier in your Champaign, IL home.
Perpetually Dry Skin, Hair, and Eyes
Do you or other household members contend with recurring rashes or tight, itchy skin? Do your eyes itch, water, or burn whenever you spend too much time indoors? Dry eyes, skin, and hair are all indications of insufficient humidity.
While all homes are different, it is generally best to maintain indoor humidity levels between 40% and 60%. When the air becomes much drier than this, any moisture on the topmost layers of your skin is instantly wicked away. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can also leave you looking aged and tired.
Nasal and Respiratory Irritation
Overly humid air can leave you with mold, mildew, and dust mite problems. However, dry indoor air is equally detrimental. Airborne moisture weighs heavy particulates down, making them more likely to settle on indoor surfaces. If your furnace or heat pump dries your living environment out, you’ll have more dirt, dander, pet hair, and carpet fibers floating around you. These airborne particulates can lead to sniffling, sneezing, coughing, and other unpleasant symptoms. When paired with itchy, watery eyes, these symptoms can feel like a stubborn and never-ending cold.
Structural Changes in Wood Features
Changes in indoor humidity take a toll on building materials. This is especially true of real wood elements, unsealed wood, and unsealed particle board. As these materials expand and contract due to changes in temperature and humidity, they gradually develop noticeable changes in their integrity. When fluctuations in temperature and humidity are extreme or prolonged, some wood elements may bow or warp irreparably.
Frequent, Nighttime Nosebleeds
Dry indoor air irritates the nasal passages. In fact, many people experience recurring nosebleeds whenever the heater is on for an extended time. Nighttime nosebleeds are a common sign of dry indoor air, given that outside temperatures tend to be lowest after the sun has set and most households run their furnaces continually in the evening.
Everyone’s Hair Is on End
Do you and other household members ever “shock” one another when you touch? Dry indoor air poses the risk of electrostatic buildup. Whenever relative humidity in your home falls below 40%, you may also notice your hair standing straight up. Although the small-sized snaps and sparks that occur when charge-laden things connect don’t seem like a big deal, they can quickly become painful and annoying. More importantly, they are a sure sign that there isn’t enough moisture in the air.
Chronic Illnesses Are Constantly Triggered
Dry indoor air can be especially problematic for those with allergies, asthma, or other chronic respiratory conditions. With less moisture weighing airborne particulate matter down, there are far more allergens and contaminants entering the respiratory system. If you’ve had to increase your medications for any of these ailments or if you find yourself making far more frequent trips to the doctor during the heating season, insufficient humidity could be the reason.
Schedule Indoor Air Quality Testing
The best way to determine whether your home’s indoor humidity is too low is by scheduling an indoor air quality (IAQ) assessment. This test will identify the airborne contaminants in your home and measure their concentrations. When performing your IAQ test, your HVAC technician will also check for elevated levels of carbon monoxide and measure your relative humidity. The resulting report will provide a clear and need-specific plan for improving the health and safety of your home.
Since 1952, we’ve proudly served Champaign, IL and the surrounding cities. Our clients can count on us for superior heating, cooling, and indoor air quality services. We also provide sheet metal fabrication, whole-house humidifiers, and preventative maintenance plans. To find out more about our services or schedule an appointment, contact Bash Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. today.