Why an Illinois home can be drier than the Mojave Desert
Humidity is the amount of water vapor present in the air, and we usually talk about relative humidity because the amount of water vapor the air can hold varies with the temperature. (That’s why, in temperatures of 10oC, relative humidity of 40% doesn’t feel particularly damp, but at 30oC, it does – because it is. There’s a lot more water in the air). And humidity is a funny thing. In the Mojave Desert, it can be as low as 10% during the day, but it can also be as high as 30% -- and, at night, it can even reach 50%. What’s funny about that? Only the fact that, in places like northern Illinois, where winter temperatures can be COLD, the humidity inside a centrally heated house can be lower than 30%.
That’s right. A modern, centrally heated Illinois home can be drier than the Mojave Desert.
That may help you understand why, in winter, you or members of your family may experience skin problems, breathing problems, and a general feeling of malaise. If you were actually in the Mojave Desert, you’d carry a bottle of water with you, but whoever heard of carrying a bottle of water for protection in your own home? In any case, a bottle of water wouldn’t be enough – you’d also need to be rubbing moisturizer into your skin three or four times a day and washing with aqueous cream instead of soap. OR, if you have ducted air conditioning, you could avoid all that by fitting a whole house humidifier to your furnace.
Go that route, you’ll find there’s a bonus – if you keep the humidity at around 40% (fit a humidistat as well as a humidifier, and then you’ll know), the house will feel warmer. So, you can set the thermostat that little bit lower, save on fuel costs and still be more comfortable (and healthier) than you were before. And 40% humidity means there’s no greater risk of mold than there was before.
There are three kinds of furnace humidifier: drum, flow through, and mist (steam). The mist/steam option is easily the most effective as well as being the easiest to adjust; it also costs more than the other two. Give us a call; we’ll take a look, discuss your needs and concerns, and recommend which is best for you.