Do you find your skin is dry, you are coughing more and you are experiencing flu like symptoms. Yes you should probably visit your doctor but you may also be suffering from low humidity levels in your home.
In the summer feeling the effects of high humidity levels during heat warnings where combined temperatures and humidity levels make air conditioning a necessity is something you can directly relate to your health but controlling humidity in the dead of winter is just as important and symptoms of health related problems are often misdirected.
Forced hot air systems recirculate air in your home and each time it is reheated more of the water vapor is lost. If you supplement your home’s heat with a fireplace, wood stove or portable heater this will remove more water vapor.
How do you Detect Low Humidity?
Many home thermometers will provide a separate humidity level indicator and you can rely on it for general reference but often low levels of humidity in your home are much more visual.
If you take a shower without using your vent fan and no moisture builds up on your bathroom mirror that is one indicator. Also increased static electricity in your fabrics, clothing and pets.
Probably the worst part is that once you begin feeling the effects of low humidity on your breathing you have got to the point where you are more susceptible for catching viruses. This is because your lungs become inflamed due to low moisture. Your throat becomes dry and nasal cavities can even begin to bleed.
Using Humidifiers To Restore Healthy Humidity Levels
Single room humidifiers will help to restore humidity in a single room if it is enclosed. This is a good option for increasing humidity in bedrooms where you are already feeling the effect of dry throat to provide enough comfort for sleeping.
Smaller humidifiers cost from $30 up and work best in a 10×10 foot room. They can provide either heated steam or a fine cool mist.
Whole home humidifiers attach to your home’s heating system and can provide a total solution for people with forced Hot Air systems. They will require a water supply and since improper installs could cause not only damage to your home but mold buildup in your air ducts it is best a professional does the work or that you at the very least get professional advice.
Last Ditch Resort
I offer you this advice because this winter I had to resort to it. If you find that you are unable to get out to the store and purchase a humidifier because you are also sick and waiting for an online purchase to arrive would take longer then you can take you may be able to increase the humidity in your home by doing some of the following.
Don’t use vent fans while showering or while cooking liquids such as boiling spaghetti water in the kitchen.
Wet bath towels and hang them to dry and evaporate. By placing them on a chair near your heating vent you will increase the evaporation.
Dry your washed clothes by hanging them and not in your dryer. This will depend on what types of clothes you are washing but even a blanket allowed to dry over a couch will introduce a ton of water into your home.
Fill your tub with about a half inch of water over night and when not in use.
Break out your rug shampoo cleaner and run it with just straight water. You get a lot of water into the room and a somewhat cleaner carpet too.
Again its not optimal but if you have to then you have to.
You probably wont feel immediate relief once humidity levels are restored and if you do such a great job that they get over about 65% you may start going in the other direction.
The best idea is to keep a watch on your humidity levels through out the winter season and especially when temperatures fall below 25F at night.
If you being waking up with a dry throat you know its time to take action.