Should You Use a Humidifier or Dehumidifier for Winter?
The first thing most people think of when it comes to winter is heat, but there is another element to indoor air quality and comfort you can't overlook. Keeping the humidity level in your home balanced during the winter prevents mold growth and respiratory illness. You'll also find your home far more comfortable with the right humidity level, preventing static electricity and dry air.
Humidifier vs. Dehumidifier in Winter
First and foremost, you must understand how the seasonal changes affect your home's relative humidity levels. Most homes should have a relative humidity level of 40 to 50 percent, but this may fluctuate depending on the humidity levels outside. Cold winter air is dry, so you will most likely want to utilize a humidifier in the winter more than dehumidifier.
The more cold air that enters your home, the drier your indoor air will be. Weather-stripping is a good way to patch up any leaks or holes that could be causing drafts and making your air drier.
A humidifier can add some moisture that makes it more comfortable to breathe and makes your home feel warmer. Most modern humidifiers have gauges that can tell you the current humidity level, but another way to measure whether or not you have too much moisture in the air during winter is whether or not condensation appears on the windows.
Signs You Need a HumidifierYou shouldn't add a humidifier to your home just because you think it will improve your air quality. In fact, too much humidity can cause health problems and introduce more bacteria and mold into your home. You may want to use a humidifier if:
- Your home is not well-insulated and has dry, cold air.
- Family frequently experiences chapped lips, nose bleeds or dry skin and hair.
- There is a lot of static electricity.
- There are cracks in wood floor panels or furniture.
The Right Humidity Levels for Winter
If you do use a dehumidifier for health reasons, make sure that you don't lower your home's relative levels below 30 percent. At this level, frost and moisture can accumulate, leading to major damage to both your HVAC system and property. Most well-insulated homes will not require a humidifier or dehumidifier during the winter, and if you are relying on one because your indoor air quality is poor, there many be another reason that needs addressed by an HVAC professional.