Health

23 Benefits Of Humidifiers In Winter (And Summer)

static cling top annoyance dry air People mention dry skin and static cling as the worst annoyances of dry winter air. Dry air in the home or workplace irritates and may also lead to a:

  • dry mouth,
  • cracked lips,
  • scratchy throat,
  • pithless hair,
  • crampy muscles,
  • and itchy skin.

But things can get worse.

Since air with low moisture content dries out the mucous membranes in your mouth and throat, as well as nasal passages it may lead to congestion.

You know, you wake up with a stuffed nose and a cotton mouth. This is annoying but could lead to sinusitis or sinus pain and worsened allergy complaints.

How come we dry out?

Your skin and lips dry out in winter because when it’s cold more moisture leaves your body by evaporation. This is also why your hands may look old and wrinkly during the cold winter months.

The combination of the cold wind outside and the dry air inside only worsens dry, chapped lips. Also nosebleeds and headaches can be indicators of too dry indoor air. Dry nostrils crack more easily thus leading to nosebleeds.

Itch after showering

Hot showers and rubbing with rough, non-fluffy towels may make your skin less oily. This oily layer keeps moisture in so when it’s removed it leads to dry, itchy skin. When you like your towels rough, dabbing is better.

The flu, common cold, and viruses

Arid air also increases your chance on getting the flu, common cold or catch other viruses. Note: a humidifier does not prevent these ailments, it can alleviate symptoms and reduce the risks.

The inside of our nose is slimy because the mucus functions as a trap for bacteria, viruses and other sickmakers. That’s why dry nostrils increase your risk on getting the common cold, sinus infections, or the flu.  People also cling together indoor during the cold months which is why coughing and sneezing lead to more contamination. Add the fact that spaces are less ventilated because windows and doors are kept close most of the time keeping the viruses in.

Your stuff may damage

On top of that dry air may damage your precious possessions. Your vintage Arne Vodder cabinet’s veneer may let loose. Or your favorite guitars wooden panel could bulging. Not to mention other nuisances such as peeling wallpaper, and cracking paint.

Here are some more reasons to improve the humidity levels in your condo.

Properly humidified indoor air has several benefits:

  • End frizzy hair and keep your clothes static free.
  • No more electric shocks when touching doorknobs or electronics. Those annoying static pops can also damage your electronic devices so..
  • ..humidifying the air will keep them safe.
  • Reduce itchiness and other eczema symptoms. Sometimes eczema outbreaks can be prevented by humidifying the air.
  • Better looking, healthier skin. Healthy skin needs a minimum of 30 to 40 percent relative humidity.
  • Less wrinkles. Dried-out skin has more prominent wrinkles. Proper indoor humidity hydrates your skin thus making it appear healthier and less wrinkly.
  • When the respiratory system is moisturized loudness and intensity of snoring is reduced.
  • Dry air feels cooler than humidified air. Increasing humidity to proper levels will make you feel warmer at the same temperature which may lead to lower heating bills.
  • Your baby has a cold? Humidification of the air can help relieve that cough and snotty nose because it helps loosen up the mucus.
  • Ideal rH levels will protect your furniture and interior from being wrecked by dry air.
  • When maintaining ideal rH levels you can toss your nasal aspirator or saline spray.
  • Suffer from asthma? Humidifiers can improve breathing quality. Especially in case of a respiratory infection.

When you turn up your thermostat the air molecules start moving faster. (higher air temperature means more kinetic energy). As a result the dust, pollen and other particles that influence allergies move around faster too. Cold and dry air can also trigger an asthma attack.

Did you know that dry air worsens hangovers?

This conclusion is far from grounded in scientific research. I thought it would be worth sharing though.

A while ago my drunk cousin came home from a night out and decided to take a shower before getting to bed. The next afternoon he woke up in a dense fog.

Something like San Fransisco on a summer morning. His whole house was wet. The bedroom curtains, bed sheets, the doors. Everything was dampy and moist. When he saw the hot shower still running he knew he’d passed out on his bed.

A pleasant side effect was that he didn’t have a hangover at all. He concluded that it’s not only drinking water that helps prevent the aftereffects of boozing. Months later, when he received his water bill he also added that a humidifier probably is a whole lot cheaper.

What are ideal home humidity levels?

If these symptoms sound familiar you may want to check your relative humidity levels.

Relative humidity of furnace-heated air can drop to an unsound 10%. Especially in areas where where homes are heated with steam radiators, adding moisture to the air is essential, and not just for comfort.

Humidifiers are commonly used in winter, when atmospheric humidity levels are low and air drying heating systems are in use. In dryer climates they are used year-round.

Ideal relative indoor humidity levels are between 30 and 50 percent. You can monitor rH with a humidity gauge (hygrometer). Most modern humidifiers have them built in.

 

Be aware that over-use of humidifiers can lead to growth of airborne sickmakers such as allergens and pathogens. Instead of purchasing a humidifier for your home you can also try these clever humidifying tips and hacks.

 

Outdoor
Temperature
Recommended
Maximum
Indoor Humidity
30° 40%
20° 35%
10° 30%
25%
-10° 20%
-20° 15%

 

Image credit: jbcurio

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