Winter weather usually means dry weather in Oklahoma. And cold season often coincides with the drier weather, bringing with it sore throats, winter coughs and dry skin.
Having a humidifier can help keep the chill out of your home this winter, and you’ll probably find a few other benefits as well. You have several options for choosing a humidifier for your home, which I’ll get to in a bit. But before that, here are a few reasons people choose them in the first place.
Benefits of having a humidifier system in your home
1. Save money on energy: Just as humidity makes your home feel warmer in the humid spring and summer months, it can make your home feel warmer in fall and winter too. Your home will feel the same at 68 degrees with 40% humidity as it does at 74 degrees with 20% humidity. With a humidifier system, you can keep your thermostat setting lower in the winter, saving you 5-10% on your annual heating bill.
2. House plants thrive: Many Oklahoma City area residents bring potted plants inside in cooler weather. Plants suffer and often begin to die off if the air is too dry. But in a more humid home environment, these indoor plants will thrive throughout the cooler months.
3. Reduce static electricity: Do you find that you (or your pets!) are constantly shocking your other family members in the winter? That indicates you have a static electricity problem. A little more humidity will minimize the issue.
4. Chapped lips and dry skin: Adding humidity to your home environment often helps with chapped lips and dry skin, since the air has more moisture in it.
How do you know if it’s dry in your home?
Aside from the visible signs such as a lot of static electricity, chapped lips, and cracked hands, there’s a simple device called a hygrometer that measures humidity. The ideal range for humidity in the home is between 30% and 55%. You will likely need to keep it closer to 30% in winter months and may see it closer to 55% in the more humid spring months.
What types of humidifier options do I have?
There are hundreds of different types of humidifiers out there, but they can be broken into two pretty general categories.
Humidifiers come in portable models designed to cover one or more rooms, or integrated whole-home humidifying systems.
1. Portable humidifiers: These come in all shapes and sizes and range in price. They do require cleaning and maintenance by the owner, as well as constant refilling of the water source.
Most portable humidifiers can be defined by the type of mist they produce: either ‘Warm Mist’ or ‘Cool Mist’ varieties. As you might guess, some produce steam for a warmer mist while others simply blow air across cool water vapor.
For a complete list of available portable models and consumer ratings, visit the Consumer Reports website.
2. Whole house humidifiers: These models typically require a professional installation and are integrated directly into the ductwork near your furnace. Installation costs will vary from one home to the next. Investing in a whole house model can range from a couple hundred dollars to over a thousand.
They do require less maintenance than portable models and are usually connected to the water supply from the home, so there’s no need to manually refill the water.
If you think a humidifier could benefit your home this fall or winter, it’s completely up to you to decide whether a portable or whole house humidifier makes the most sense for your family. If you have questions or want to discuss installing a whole house humidifier in your home, give us a call.