woman laying on the couch not feeling well

The wintertime weather can do a real number on our indoor comfort. Oftentimes, heating your home is only half of the solution. Dry air will continue to be a problem until spring rolls around. For the next couple months, indoor humidity is what really counts for home comfort.

Indiana homeowners tend to think that humidity is a bad thing. But don’t let our hot and extra-humid summers fool you. In reality, a little moisture can help make our air feel great—especially during the colder months.

 

Problems with Low Humidity Indoors

Dealing with low humidity, or dry air, comes with a slew of problems for you, your family, and even your home. Without a balanced level of moisture in your air, the winter can be a real drag.

 

1. You can get dry, scratchy skin.

It’s hard to feel your best when your lips are cracked and your hands are looking scaly. Forget the lotion. What your skin really needs is good air. When air has low humidity, it’s a lot easier for our skin to dry out. Moisturizer alone can’t fix the issue. Instead, you have to get the right amount of moisture back in your air.

 

2. It’s hard on your immune system.

Little known fact: Germs love dry air. It’s easier for microbes to float around when the humidity is low. As a result, more people tend to fall ill in the wintertime. Indoor humidity plays a big role in keeping your family healthy. Because viruses have a harder time moving in moist air, bumping up your indoor humidity can help give you an extra line of defense.

 

3. Dry air adds to sinus pain.

The moist membranes in your throat and nose work to filter out microbes, and proper humidity helps keep your body’s respiratory system in check. But when the air is dry, it can be hard on our sinuses. Itchy nasal passages get to be pretty painful, and might even cause nosebleeds if your environment isn’t balanced.

 

4. Your home’s wood might warp and crack.

Low humidity can impact the items in our homes, too. Wood furniture, instruments, and even our flooring can start to take a hit when dry air pulls out the moisture they’ve been holding. That’s why you might find your floorboards creaking more, or that you’re getting some unexpected damage to your belongings. It can also make doors get stuck in their frames.

 

5. Low humidity creates annoying static.

Although static might not have the same long-term effects like the other dry air problems, this issue is probably the most noticeable! Getting shocked by your pet, the couch, or doorknobs doesn’t have to be a hallmark of the winter season. Static only tends to build up in homes that have excessively dry air.

 

Reversing the Dry Air Symptoms

There are many different aspects of your health and lifestyle that are impacted by dry air. Fortunately, there’s one easy fix. Instead of trying to address each issue individually, why not tackle them all at once? That’s where a whole-house humidifier can help.

Because these units are installed with your existing ductwork and furnace, they can deliver the right amount of moisture all throughout your home. Whole-house humidifiers are great for homeowners that really want to maximize their comfort—and their health—all year long. Plus, they’re easy to maintain. Once installed, you can have a real fuss-free setup.

There’s no reason to put up with dry air problems this time of year. If you’re ready to have a home that you can really breathe easy in, give LCS Heating and Cooling a call at (317) 238-3961. We love helping homeowners find the right units for their home comfort. Contact us today to schedule an in-home consultation. Then we can make sure a whole-house humidifier makes sense for you and your lifestyle.

little kid laying on moms lap

We know cold and flu season is right around the bend when the leaves fall and the temperatures drop. But before you start stocking up on tissues, take a minute to review your home. Research shows that your indoor environment can make a big impact on your seasonal influenza risks.

Chapped lips and static shocks are some of the first signs of having dry air indoors. Before long, other health concerns can flare up too. How we feel during the colder months is greatly influenced by our air quality at home. A healthy humidity level can go a long way in keeping your immune system strong.

Low Humidity Effects on Children

Here in Indiana, we usually view humidity as a nuisance. After dealing with high humidity levels in the summer, we often want to be rid of it during the colder months. In reality, having some humidity is healthy in the autumn and winter. It can be really hard for our bodies to feel at their best when indoor humidity levels drop below 40 or 30 percent. Without the right air system in place, these changes can be pretty intense—especially for infants and young children.

All around the world, seasonal changes in humidity tend to impact children more. Because their bodies are less effective at adapting to ambient humidity and other exposures, children are often more susceptible to humidity-related health issues. A recent review of 37 different studies revealed that humidity directly relates to “childhood asthma and other pediatric allergic diseases.” In countries and populations all over the globe, instances of relatively high humidity—and low humidity—both had an impact on children’s health.

It’s easy for kids to have health issues when moisture in the air isn’t quite balanced. One study in Greece showed a 31% increase in childhood asthma-related admissions during a 10% jump in humidity. Interestingly enough, the opposite also seems to be true. In Japan, emergency visits for childhood asthma increased when humidity levels had a rapid decrease. The same thing happened in Western Europe. Over there, children’s asthma symptoms spiked during the lowest monthly average of relative humidity. Not surprisingly, low humidity was also connected to eczema in Taiwanese school children. Dry skin, scratchy throats, and higher flu risks are all common side effects of low humidity levels.

Other Health Concerns with Dry Air

We’ve long understood that our skin gets irritated when exposed to dry air, but we sometimes forget that this happens indoors, as well as outside. Whenever humidity levels are low, dry air tends to draw out moisture from the nearest source. Typically, this is our bodies. Some people might feel that their eyes are dry or irritated, but it’s often our skin that takes the biggest hit. That’s often why we want to use so much lotion in the colder months. As the dry air pulls water from our skin, we think that using certain products will help our body retain its natural moisture. Of course, the underlying issue is humidity. Dry air also makes our nose and nasal passageways dry. For those already prone to asthma, this can make wintertime a real bummer.

One good thing about low humidity is that dust mites don’t do well in it. Unfortunately, this comes with its own set of problems. While indoor allergens might be lower in low humidity, our risk factor is significantly raised because our mucous membranes become dehydrated. The throat and nasal areas lose their natural barrier to airborne infections, and they’re unable to filter air like they normally do. All this puts us at higher risk for illness. So even if there aren’t lots of dust mites, the ones that are around are more likely to flare up allergies.

A dry upper respiratory tract also makes it more difficult to breathe comfortably. Some people experience nosebleeds in low humidity. Dry indoor air can also disrupt sleep and cause others to start snoring. Again—we tend to think of humidity as a bad thing in the hot and sticky summer months, but in the wintertime, a little humidity is a huge asset. Having some moisture in the air helps us breathe easier and makes it harder for airborne infections to migrate. The other problem with low humidity is that it makes areas feel colder than they really are. Without the moisture in the air, you might even be tempted to crank up the heat even higher—which only exacerbates the problem. You skin will just dry out even more in dry air, making you feel even worse.

Feeling Better with Indoor Humidity

The first step in feeling better in cold autumn days and through winter is to stay hydrated. The dry air outside will continue to affect your skin and respiratory system—even if your air indoors is at the proper humidity level. Drinking plenty of water shouldn’t stop just because the temperature drops. Of course it’s fine to moisturize if you’re experiencing dry or itchy skin, but maintaining an indoor humidity level of 30 to 40 percent often seems to be the best fix. When your skin feels soft, you’ll be less likely to irritate it by scratching—this is something to watch for in little ones especially.

In order to keep a comfortable home humidity level year-round, a lot of families will opt to install a whole-home humidifier. These units are great because they work with your existing HVAC systems to deliver properly-hydrated air throughout your home. That way, your humidity levels won’t fluctuate from room to room, and you can enjoy better sleep—free from dry air—in the colder months. Plus, they only turn on whenever your indoor humidity drops below a set level, so there’s no guess-work

In a lot of ways, these units are a no-brainer. Because they hook right up with your other air systems, you don’t even have to think about replacing parts or refilling reservoirs every day. They can help you breathe better and even give your body’s immune system a natural advantage during the typical “dry air” months. By protecting your respiratory system with the right humidity, you’ll be better able to ward off any illnesses that might be floating around this season—both for yourself and the ones you love.