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Humidity and Switching to Heating Mode

As we move into the colder season, and switch the thermostat function from “Cool” to “Heat,” you will notice a substantial difference in the way the air in your home feels.  Turning on the heat actually reduces the humidity in your home from an optimal level of 40-50 percent down to 20 percent, and the result is dry air.

Research has revealed that dry air has five primary effects on the human body:

  1. Breathing dry air can cause respiratory ailments. Bodily fluids are depleted during respiration, which can lead to common side effects like dehydration, and is linked to bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, chapped lips, and nosebleeds.
  2. Skin irritation and eye itching can be caused by the evaporation of skin moisture, as well as an itchy, dry throat, and rhinitis.
  3. When air moisture is low static electricity is a common irritation.
  4. The body feels colder when moisture levels are low. The body cools to dry air, thus, at a seventy-degree Fahrenheit room temperature, when moisture is low, a person will feel the temperature is cooler by as much as eight degrees!  This is most noticeable when entering a dry room after taking a bath or shower.
  5. Depriving your body of needed moisture makes you susceptible to illness and the common cold.

Most people simply live with the static changes of the season and never explore ways to improve the quality of their home’s conditions.  What’s funny is that a solution to this dry air change could actually save money on utility bills.  A humidification system applied to an existing home comfort system can alleviate all of these symptoms, and by bringing moisture levels to what is specified for each home, can give the residents of the home a sense of being warmer at a lower temperature.

Realizing the connection between humidity levels and its effects, and controlling its measurement can also benefit the home.  Furniture and building components are also effected by depleted moisture levels.  The wood in walls and floors shrinks, causing creaks in floors and cracks in drywall and plaster.  Peeling wallpaper, and cracks in paint and furniture are also common findings in a home with dry air.  You can imagine the calls received by musicians in the area with expensive orchestral instruments like harps and other string/wooden instruments that they want to protect, as well!

For optimal indoor comfort and health, a relative humidity reading of forty-five degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.  At this point, the air feels to the body what is actually reading on the thermostat, and your skin and lungs do not dry out.  You will find that most homes and offices cannot maintain this level of humidity during the winter seasons without aid from a humidification system in place.

A professional heating and air conditioning contractor like Gwyn Electrical, Plumbing, Heating and Cooling can run a simple test in your home to determine the level of moisture you are currently maintaining.  An accurate hygrometer is a handy tool to have in your home to monitor the humidity levels on your own as the seasons fluctuate.