If the dry air of winter is making you “itch” for spring, you may need a humidifier. Warm, dry furnace air might keep you warm, but it can take its toll on your skin. It can cause nosebleeds. And the buildup of static that results from dry air can actually damage some electronics.
Many furnaces have build in humidifiers, but if you don’t have one, you can add one, or consider portable models. Keep a few things in mind.
While some humidity in the air will help you, you don’t want to overdo it. Too much moisture can condense on windows and other cold areas, causing mold or structural damage in the long run. If yours has a humidistat, it will usually give some recommendations, but here’s an idea:
Outside temperature â€“ Relative Humidity
40F â€“ 45%
30F â€“ 40%
20F â€“ 35%
10F â€“ 30%
0F â€“ 25%
-10F â€“ 20%
-20F â€“ 15%
A manually controlled humidifer and humidistat will take some time to deliver. If you set your humidistat in the morning based on what the anticipated low is for that evening, your humidifier will operate more effectively. Newer automatic controls monitor indoor humidity and outdoor temperature to react on the fly.
Keep your humidifier clean. If you’re using a portable humidifier, use distilled or demineralized water, and change it daily. Clean the tray of a furnace-mounted humidifier regularly, and replace the pad or mesh at least once a year. Hooking your humidifier up to the hot water supply can help it evaporate more quickly, and can help decrease lime and calcium buildup in the humidifier.