Even in our humid climate, a furnace can dry out a home’s air and cause a number of problems over the winter. One of the best remedies for an overly dry indoor environment is a humidifier.
Adding humidity to the home eases respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and rhinitis, and other problems such as dry skin and chapped lips. Slightly humid conditions also make a home’s occupants feel warmer, so that the homeowner can turn down the thermostat a few degrees during the winter.
In addition, low humidity in homes damages wooden floors, furnishings, and musical instruments by drying them out and causing cracking.
For best results, aim for balanced humidity between 30 and 50 percent.
Installing a Humidifier
A whole-house humidifier, installed in your HVAC system, is the best way to maintain proper humidity. The appliance emits water vapor into the air through the ductwork, while the system monitors and controls the level of moisture. It uses water from the home’s plumbing system, so there’s no need to buy distilled water. Generally no maintenance is required other than cleaning out the tank a couple of times a year to remove mineral deposits.
Although a whole-house humidifier does a better, more efficient job of humidifying a home, some homeowners may opt for a portable or console model. These can be moved from room to room. They require refilling and frequent cleaning of filters to guard against mold and bacteria buildup.
Following are some popular types of portable humidifiers:
- Warm mist: A heating element boils water, releasing it into the air as warm steam. It makes the room feel warmer than a cold mist type.
- Cool mist: A wick filter absorbs water in the base of the appliance, while a fan blows dry air through the filter, causing the moisture to evaporate into the air.
- Ultrasonic: These quiet humidifiers employ high-frequency sound waves to vibrate a metal diaphragm at an ultrasonic frequency, breaking water down into a fine vapor mist.
For more on installing a humidifier, contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We’ve served Portland residents since 1976.