Humidity is the measure of moisture content of the air. When it is cold out, the air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air can. So, the colder it is outside, the drier the air is— both inside and outside.
During the winter, you'll be using your furnace regularly. The furnace will heat the already dry winter air, making it possible for the air to hold moisture. That's when the warmed dry air inside begins to steal moisture from anything it can. Signs that your home has low humidity: dry, itchy skin, nosebleeds, coughing, houseplants drying out quickly, your hair standing on end due to static electricity.
Humidity, in addition to keeping your skin comfy and your houseplants alive, can also affect your perception of the temperature in the rooms in your home. At a humidity level of 10%, a room that is actually 68 degrees will feel like it is only 62 degrees. At 40% humidity, that room will feel like it is 65 degrees. Infoplease.com has a handy chart to make your own calculations. According to WebMD, a comfortable and healthy home humidity level is between 30% and 50%.
Adding a humidifier to your furnace is the best method to counteract the drying effects of winter. All homes in Lakeview Landing are equipped with a humidifier for this reason. In addition, there are other things you can do to add moisture to the air in your home.
- Only partially dry your laundry before hanging it up to finish the drying. That will add to the humidity in your home.
- Leave the bathroom door open after your shower, allowing the steam to escape.
- Open the dishwasher door after the cycle is complete for the same reason.
- Place a damp towel over floor vents or wall units (if possible). This will add moisture into any air that cycles out of them.
- Water your houseplants regularly. They'll need it because plants, like people, are sensitive to dry air. When plants breathe, they add moisture to the air, so adding a few more plants inside is a good idea, too.
- Place pans of water near heat vents or in sunny windows. The heat will speed evaporation of the water. A pot of water on the stove will also do the trick and quickly add moisture to the air.
Don't forget to moisturize yourself and your pets, too. Drink plenty of liquids and you'll feel that scratchy skin subside and your dry throat disappear.