People that live in areas of the country that are more on the dry side may end up having a problem with lack of humidity in their home during certain months of the year. The air tends to contain less moisture in the winter months anyway, and when that is paired with a naturally dry climate, you might notice some undesirable effects in your home. Aside from being generally uncomfortable, lack of humidity can also cause chronic nosebleeds, cracked skin or dry, itchy eyes in some people.
One solution to overly dry air in your home is a whole-house humidifier. These differ from single room units in that they are installed right into the central heating and cooling system of your house. This means you can control the humidity levels throughout the house instead of just in certain rooms. A whole-house humidifier monitors the humidity level all the time, correcting it if it strays from the level you have set.
Naturally, the biggest advantage to having a humidifier in your home is the end of that unpleasant dry air. You can rest easy knowing the nosebleeds will stop, the static in your hair will stop, the chapped lips and cracked skin will stop. Another advantage is that any fixtures in your home that were affected by the lack of moisture in the air won't be affected anymore.
Dry air has the potential to crack wood and make other surfaces brittle and unattractive, but your humidifier will remedy that. Moisture also retains heat better than dry air, so when you use a humidifier in your home, you won't have to crank the heat as high, which will end up saving you money.
Portable (or room) dehumidifiers are primarily intended to be used in a small area where it would be difficult to install proper drainage. They can be picked up and carried to different areas or rooms in the home.
Portable dehumidifiers can offer you benefits over whole-home dehumidifiers, depending on your intended use. Portable dehumidifiers require no additional installation. They plug in to a standard electrical outlet. You can move them from room to room as needed (such as between your bedroom at night and living room during the day).
Portable dehumidifiers may be a good option for renters who are not able to get their landlord to install a whole-house dehumidifier. They are simple to operate and do a good job of removing humidity from small spaces.
However, some of the benefits of portable dehumidifiers can also be shortcomings. If you have more than one room that needs dehumidification, you must move the dehumidifier between the two rooms or buy a second one. They can also be cumbersome to move and are not particularly nice to look at.
The water is collected in a bucket on the portable dehumidifier that must be regularly emptied to prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria and fungus.
Whole-house units are designed to accurately control the humidity of larger spaces, including your entire home. They are installed within your existing system and integrated in your ductwork.
Whole-house dehumidifiers remove excess humidity from your entire home, giving you more even comfort than portable dehumidifiers. And you do not have to move the dehumidifier from room to room to enjoy the increased comfort. Because they are installed within your existing system, they are out of sight and out of the way.
Whole-house units also drain the collected water out of your home so you will not have to regularly empty a tank or bucket and they operate almost completely silently.
Whole-home dehumidifiers are more expensive than portable dehumidifiers and require more difficult installation. However, these shortcoming are offset for many Virginia Beach homeowners by the additional advantages and little maintenance required to operate them.
Do you ever wonder why your skin cracks and dries out in the winter? Why you get nosebleeds and sore throats? Why you can see your breath when it's cold out? It all comes down to physics!
You've probably heard the weather forecaster talking about the "relative humidity" (also called RH) of the air. It's relative because it depends on the temperature outside. For example, if it is 20F outside and the relatively humidity is 80%, when you take that air, bring it inside and warm it to 70F, that same air will only have a relatively humidity of about 15% - very dry indeed!
So during the wintertime, even if it's very humid outside, when that air comes into your home and warms up, it is very dry air. And dry air wants to suck the moisture out of your skin, leading to chapped lips, nosebleeds, and generally uncomfortable living conditions.
Interestingly, in a normally sized home, overly dry inside air is also a giveaway of a leaky house because most homes have a fair amount of moisture from internal sources - people and pets breathing, watering plants, showers and cooking. All of these dump moisture into the air. In a tight house, this would be more than enough moisture to keep things comfortable in your home. But in a leaky home, the moisture is leaving through all the cracks and the really dry outside air is coming in creating a double whammy that dries out your home.
So if you have dry conditions inside your home during the winter, the best thing you can do is to tighten your home so that less warm, moist air leaves. This could involve getting better windows or putting that shrink wrap plastic over your windows. You can also tighten your home by fixing doors so they seal better. But one of the biggest culprits of air leaks result from poorly sealed ducts. I've even seen homes where there were ducts detached in the attic, so the furnace was blowing lots of warm, moist air right out of the house! Problems like this cause the snowmelt seen in my earlier posting.
Keep in mind that air leaking out of your house means an equal amount of cold, outside air is leaking in, and that air has to be heated. So if you seal your ducts and other air leaks, you'll be reducing your utility bills and making your home more comfortable.
How much of a difference can this make? Easily 30% of your heating bill comes from having to heat cold air that comes in through all these cracks! In fact, studies have shown that air sealing your home can provide the best bang for your buck - making your home more comfortable and energy efficient.
So next time you're wondering why it's so dry in your house, go looking for the air leaks. Fix those and you'll have a more comfortable and energy efficient home!
Whether you're having a brand new humidifier installed in your home or need repairs to your existing system, insist on calling professionals to get the job done. HVAC Warehouse has experienced, qualified technicians that can install your humidifier, make repairs or perform maintenance quickly and effectively. It's important to follow safety protocols and building codes, and with professionals, you can feel at ease knowing that will happen.