Harmful Effects of Low Humidity

The driest area of land in the United States is Death Valley, California, with a relative humidity of 25%. Relative humidity is the percentage of total moisture that the air is able to hold at a given temperature. Surprisingly, this is not the driest place in the United States. There are millions of heated homes and oces with humidity levels that drop into the single digits, making them much drier than even Death Valley. Why is the moisture level of your home so important? This is because most of the tissue in your body is composed of water, furnishings in your home contain
moisture and even your home itself contains moisture. This moisture is on the move as air is always either giving moisture or taking it from its surroundings. When the air in your home is dry, due to the heating process, it will literally draw the moisture out of your body, furniture and home. The dryer the air is the more moisture it will remove. This loss of moisture has horrible effects on your health, comfort, investments, and energy use.
Health
The most noticeable place moisture is drawn from is your body. As warm dry air pulls moisture from your skin, mouth and nose you notice them becoming increasingly more irritated. Your skin becomes dry, itchy and even develops painful cracks. Your throat becomes scratchy and sore. Your nose becomes so dry that you may even notice the presence of blood. Low humidity is oneof the reasons people stay sick during the winter months. This is because your body naturally filters the air you breathe by way of mucus membranes. Mucus membranes are located in your throat and nasal passages. When these membranes become dry they lose their elasticity and crack. Once cracked they bleed giving a direct path for germs and bacteria to enter your bloodstream. The result is illness within a few days. Furthermore, low humidity provides the perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria within your home, making the chances of becoming infected that much greater. The experts at the Association of Heating, Refrigeration,
and Air Conditioning Engineers in Atlanta say medical studies indicate that maintaining  your home’s humidity between 30% and 55% inhibits the survival of many viruses, including inuenza, measles, polio, and herpes. Controlling the amount of moisture in your home is necessary for your family’s health.
Comfort
Indoor humidity also aects your comfort because you are very sensitive to humidity. When humidity is low you feel colder. This feeling of being colder occurs because the moisture evaporating from your skin h as a cooling eect. Dry air is like a sponge; it soaks up moisture from wherever it can. The drier the sponge the faster it will soak up moisture and the colder you will feel regardless of the actual temperature in your home. For example, 69°F temperature at 35% relative humidity feels just as warm as a 72°F setting at 19% relative humidity. The easiest way to feel to the most comfortable is to add humidity to the air in your home.
Investments
Maintaining the proper relative humidity in your home can help protect your investments. Dry heated air results in warping and splitting of furniture, woodwork and hardwood doors. It will cause glue and sealant like caulk to shrink, warp and eventually split. When the wood and caulk around doors and window frames shrink and crack the resulting gaps allow the cold outside air to inltrate increasing your heating costs. Many times the glue that holds furniture and hardwood oors together completely fail due to the lack of proper humidity. Cracks can even develop in the ceilings and walls of your home. Wooden instruments, such as Woodwinds, Strings and Pianos, lose pitch and can be prone to  cracking and warping, sometimes permanently disabling the instrument. A properly humidied environment can help diminish the chance of permanently damaging your precious woodwork and instruments over the long term. Another result of dry air is static electricity. Do you often get zapped when you touch a light switch, or touch another person? Not only are these shocks aggravating but they are also capable of being harmful to expensive electronics like
computers and stereo systems. Proper humidity levels will help reduce these effects.
Energy
Proper humidity levels have a positive eect on your energy bills. With fuel energy prices soaring, consumers are paying more to heat their homes this heating season than they did last, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In order to keep heating bills manageable, many homeowners will setback their thermostats to lower temperatures, resulting in cold uncomfortable living conditions. A better solution is to maintain the proper
humidity levels with a whole-house humidier. A whole-house humidier allows you to reduce the thermostat setting two to three degrees without noticeably feeling the difference. Lowering the thermostat by just three degrees can reduce annual heating bills by as much as 5 percent. Often when the eects of low humidity occur people are unaware the problem has anything to do with their heating system. They make countless trips to the doctor because of repeated
illness and discomfort. They spend hundreds of dollars needlessly trying to keep their homes comfortable, doing excessive maintenance or even replacing household furniture and woodwork. If you or your family members are experiencing any of these problems it is likely due to low humidity. Thankfully the problem is an easy one to correct with the addition of a whole-house humidier.

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