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A humidifier and a plant help combat dry winter air.

How to Protect Your Home and Health From Dry Winter Air

On Groundhog’s Day 2021, Punxsutawney Phil, the rodent weather prognosticator, determined that we have six more weeks of winter left. That’s six more weeks of itchy skin, creaky floors, static electricity, and other symptoms of dry winter air. It’s enough to make you want to crawl into a hole in the ground.

Fortunately, managing the effects of arid conditions is fairly simple.

How Dry Winter Air Affects Your Health

We take moisture for granted during summer when warmer temperatures hold more water vapor. Humidity helps our respiratory system prevent illnesses by keeping nasal passages and bronchial tubes moist. That’s why we’re more susceptible to having a cold, flu, sore throat, and irritable eyes this time of year, a.k.a. flu season.

How Dry Winter Air Affects Your Home

Arid conditions sap moisture from your home’s structure. If you’ve ever wondered why your home creaks and pops more during winter, that’s the sound of building materials shrinking from reduced moisture content. Dry air can also cause the paint to chip and furniture to crack. A lack of moisture can lead to dry rot under extreme conditions.

How to Increase Humidity In Your Home

Use a hygrometer to gauge your indoor air’s moisture content. Ideally, your indoor humidity should be within 30% and 50%. There are several easy ways to add water vapor to your indoor air.

  • Turn down the thermostat: Your furnace might be robbing your home of much-needed moisture by recirculating and reheating the same stagnant air. Adjust the thermostat to 68°F to minimize evaporation. Bonus: You’ll lower your energy bill!
  • Air-dry your clothes: Give the dryer a break this winter and hang damp clothes around the house.
  • Skip the heat-dry cycle: When your dishwasher completes a cycle, open it up to release valuable steam into your home.
  • Create a humid microclimate for plants: Plants are nature's humidifiers. Place a layer of stones or pebbles in a shallow tray and add water until the rock bed is just short of covered. Arrange potted plants on top of the rocks. The pebbles will keep the plants elevated slightly above the water to benefit from the humidity. Your home will benefit, too.

For cleaner, healthier air, turn to the indoor air quality specialists at AAA Service Plumbing, Heating & Electric. To schedule your appointment, call (303) 622-3449.

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