Dealing With Dry Winter Air

dry air As winter sets in and the temperatures fall, so do humidity levels. It is annoying, and probably something we take for granted, but as the weather outside gets colder, the air inside gets drier.

We easily see the effects of dry winter air in irritating static electricity. However, the trouble low humidity levels cause stretch well beyond clinging clothes and the ability for kids to shock each other.

The Effects of Dry Winter Air

One of the major effects of dry winter air is a cooler feel to the indoor temperature. The optimum humidity for comfort is around 40 percent. When the relative humidity is below that level, you may be tempted to turn your thermostat up a few degrees to feel warmer.  And for every degree you bump up the thermostat, you’ll see a 4 percent increase in your heating bill.

But your bank account isn’t the only place you’ll feel the negative effects of dry winter air. Low humidity levels can also have a negative impact on your family’s health. Some of the adverse effects of extremely dry indoor air include:

  • Irritation to the body’s mucous membrane. We feel this as dryness and itching of the eyes, nose, and throat.
  • Lowered immunity. The mucous membrane is the body’s first line of defense against infection. When the mucous membrane thins due to dry air exposure, you become more susceptible to colds, the flu, and other illnesses.
  • Asthma. Dry air can make asthma flare-ups more frequent and severe.
  • Skin irritation. Dry and scaly skin, especially on the hands and feet, can become severe, causing them to crack and bleed.

Long-lasting low humidity can also have a negative impact on your home. A few of the effects dry air can have on your home include:

  • Flaking or peeling paint.
  • Cracks in wooden surfaces, including floors, walls, ceilings, cabinets, and furniture.
  • Excessive static electricity can cause damage to sensitive electronic devices.


Dealing with Dry Winter Air

Winter air is naturally dry because as outdoor temperatures fall, the air contracts. Because the air molecules are more compact, the air has less capacity to hold moisture. This dry air gets inside your home through open doors and windows and causes your home’s relative humidity to fall.

But dry indoor air doesn’t have to be inevitable. There are steps you can take to restore relative humidity to a comfortable level and help protect your home’s interior and your family’s health.

Sealing Gaps and Cracks

First, seal cracks and gaps around doors and windows. Adding weather stripping to tighten door seals and caulk to seal cracks around windows, will go a long way to keeping dry winter air outdoors.

Other Small Ways to Increase Humidity

You can also add moisture to the air by allowing water to sit and evaporate into the air after you take a bath or shower. You can also leave bowls of water out to provide moisture as the water evaporates. Add a few drops of essential oil to the water to give a nice scent to the air in your home. Cooking on the stove can even help increase indoor humidity levels.

Add a Whole House Humidifier

One of the best ways to maintain comfortable humidity in your home is to have a whole house humidifier. A whole house humidifier works with your existing heating system to add moisture to the air inside your home.

Once installed by a qualified HVAC technician, a whole house humidifier brings water vapor into the duct system through a distribution tray. In this way, it helps adjust the indoor humidity level. You can monitor and control the level of humidity with simple adjustments to your thermostat.

For more information about how a whole house humidifier can work for you, contact your local HVAC professionals.


Dry winter air is a serious concern that should not be ignored. However, there are steps you can take to maintain humidity and protect your home and your family. Follow these steps and be comfortable all winter long.

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Stay Warmer and Cut Costs with Humidifiers

During the summer, we tend to take humidity for granted and even resent it. It’s hot, it’s uncomfortable, it’s sticky. During winter months, however, humidity is very much missed. Heaters produce dry air that can have negative impacts on air quality, health, and heating bills. Let’s take a look at couple advantages a humidifier can add to your home during winter.

Feel Warmer and Save Money

Experts recommend 68 degrees as a good temperature to set your thermostat at if you are interested in cutting heating cost while still staying warm. However, how the temperature of your home actually feels depends on a lot of factors. A thermostat set at 68 degrees can feel chilly or nice and toasty.

Air humidity is one of the most important factors. If the air inside your home is dry, your sweat will evaporate more quickly and make the room feel colder than it is. An air temperature of 75 degrees can feel like 69 degrees in 0% humidity or 80 degrees in 100% humidity. That’s quite a difference!

Improve Comfort, Health and Air Quality

Using a humidifier provides the important benefit of reducing the chance of spreading or contracting infectious diseases. Dry air dehydrates the moist protective coat that surrounds bacteria and viruses. This makes them more contagious when they come into contact with people. When you also factor in dry throat and sinuses, which naturally filter the air we breathe, you have a recipe for a long cold and flu season.

Humidifiers also help reduce the circulation of dust and other irritants. Additionally, it will finally put an end to the chapped lips and dry skin that plague so many in the cold months.

As an added bonus, humidifiers can help preserve your wood furniture and finishes by stopping the expanding and contracting that occurs when humidity levels change. It will even help electronics by reducing the amount of static charge in a room!

Choosing the Right Humidifier

Humidifiers come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from small room humidifiers that will fit on a table to whole-house humidifiers that are built directly into your heating system. Feel free to contact the MBI BTU gurus with any questions you have at: 610.821.9555

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