Winter brings cold weather—we all expect that, and we have home heating systems to help keep our families warm. (If you don’t have a heating system or need a replacement, schedule service with our technicians.)
But winter brings more than cold with it. It also brings dry air. Moisture is drawn out of the air by freezing conditions, which gives the air that sharp crispness of the season. Homes can also experience dry air because of old atmosphere furnaces, which draw air from inside the home to work and then force the dry outside air to move in.
Dry conditions may make a hot summer day easier to take, but in winter it’s the opposite. When the air in your house is too dry (below 30% relative humidity), you’ll have a harder time keeping it warm.
Why Does Dry Air Make Home Heating a Problem?
Dry air has the opposite effect on the human body as humid air. Think about a hot and humid summer day. The humidity makes the day feel hotter than it is, doesn’t it? This is because the high moisture levels in the air trap heat inside your body, allowing less to escape by slowing down perspiration. It’s almost like putting a coat over your body, which you don’t want on a hot day.
With dry air, that coat comes off when you need it the most! Arid conditions allow heat to escape from your body faster, making the air feel 8° to 10°F cooler. If you have your home’s thermostat set to 68°F on a cold day (this is a recommended energy-saving temperature), it will feel like it’s 52° to 60°F, forcing you to push the heater thermostat up higher to keep warm. That means a great deal more work for the heating system and higher bills.
The Simple Solution to Dry Indoor Air
Beating dry indoor conditions requires using a humidifier to balance the humidity levels. We don’t mean small portable humidifiers. Those are decent for a baby’s room, but you want to be able to humidify the entire house and have precise control over it so you don’t end up making it too humid. The way to do this is to schedule professional HVAC services in Cary, NC to install a whole-house humidifier.
A whole-house humidifier is integrated into the ventilation system so the air coming from the heater must pass through it before distribution to the rooms. The humidifier contains a pad kept damp through a pump connected to the plumbing system. The pad adds moisture to the air. You control the humidifier with a device called a humidistat, which can be integrated into your climate controls so you can control humidity as easily as you control temperatures.
We recommend you serve the humidistat to keep relative humidity indoors at 45%. This is the right balance between too humid and too dry. You can then set the thermostat to 68°F, or even lower, and enjoy an easier time staying warm at home—with lower heating bills as well.
Speak to our indoor air quality specialists to find out more about whole-house dehumidifiers.