The Unfiltered Blog

October 23, 2018

How to combat dry air in your home this winter

By Jason Gassmann, President
As the outside temperature begins to drop, so does the humidity level in your home. Cold air is not able to retain as much moisture as warm air, and dry winter air can cause humidity levels to drop as low as 15 percent. When the outdoor temperature is 35 degrees Fahrenheit, the humidity inside your home should be 35 percent. 
To know if there is a good humidity level in your home, look for a little bit of moisture on the bottom of your window. If your windows develop frost or moisture less than 0.5 inches above the bottom, the humidity level is too low.
Having extremely low humidity levels in your home can be uncomfortable. Your skin is dry and cracked, and you experience that surprising static shock every time you pet the family cat or dog. If it feels like the humidity levels in your home are too low. These three tips will help you combat dry air in your home.

Tip #1: Check for air leaks — and seal them.

Windows and doors are obvious culprits, but did you know that electrical boxes for recessed lights or outlets are typically not insulated and can let in dry air? These may seem small, but the extra air coming in can affect the humidity level.Steam in a tea pot combating dry air in house
Tip #2: Whole home humidification

Oftentimes older homes aren’t sealed perfectly, which allows that cold, dry air to leak into the house. If your home is more than 20 years old, you might benefit from installing a whole home humidifier to help restore moisture balance to your home. 
If you live in a newer home, you might find that you need to de-humidify your home in the winter.
Homes built in the last decade are sealed very well with few places for air to sneak inside, leading to higher indoor humidity levels.
Tip #3: Try DIY humidification
There are also a couple of tricks you can try to add moisture back into the air inside your home. Use your stovetop as frequently as possible to boil hot water for tea or for cooking. Boiling water helps add humidity back into the air, and in the cold winter months every little bit of moisture helps. 
Another kitchen appliance you can use to to add moisture back into the air is your dishwasher. Instead of letting dishes dry with the door closed, at the end of the wash cycle open the door and pull out the rack to let the dishes air-dry.
If you would like to learn more about humidity control options for your home, a Bell Brothers professional is ready to answer all your questions.