The winter months leave us with little moisture in the air. Dry winter air can be absolutely brutal on our health and your home. Whether you use gas or electric heat, the air from your furnace will not only keep you warm, it will dry out the air in your home. IKO Community Management would like to share tips on improving winter air quality in your home.
There are two kinds of humidifiers on the market today: console and whole-house. Of the two, a whole-house humidifier is the best if you are able to install one to your existing heating system. Console, or single room, humidifiers are available for those that cannot apply the device to their heating systems.
The benefits of home humidifiers are many. The list below gives the most common reasons to humidify during the winter months:
- Help relieve cold symptoms by making the air you breathe moist, which helps keep your lungs more elastic.
- Reduce susceptibility to infection by keeping the mucus membranes of your throat and nasal passages moist allowing the tiny hairs (cilia) in both to work at expelling foreign objects such as mold, pet dander and bacteria.
- Relieve and prevent dry, scratchy skin and lips.
- Keep valuable wood furniture from drying out and cracking.
- Reduce static electricity, thus reducing the tiny shocks received from touching certain objects and other people.
- Can help prevent wood floors from buckling and separating. Also, valuable wood furniture and musical instruments can benefit from added humidity during the winter.
- Reduce nosebleeds, as the air you breathe is moist. Humidifiers relieve dry aching sinuses.
- Sleep with a snoring partner? Humidifiers relieve the intensity and noise level of the snoring.
- Using forced-air heating in your home can decrease the humidity level to 10 percent. Your skin needs humidity levels of at least 30-40 percent to stay healthy.
Whole-house humidifiers are the most recommended for many reasons. The first being lower maintenance. Because of lower water requirements, a whole house humidifier can run for five or six weeks before needing a thorough cleaning. Consoles, on the other hand, may need to be cleaned out weekly during the season to remove any mold and bacteria build up. No matter which type of humidifier you own, you should clean the water pan and make sure if it has any type of filter or pad to clean that also.
If using a portable humidifier always use a cool-mist humidifier. Place the humidifier several feet away from the bed. Do not run a humidifier for a long time. If room surfaces are constantly damp or wet to the touch, mold and mildew can grow. This can cause breathing problems in some people. Humidifiers must be drained and cleaned daily, because bacteria can grow in standing water. Below you will find helpful tips for your portable humidifier.
- Always use a cool-mist humidifier (vaporizer), especially around children. Warm mist humidifiers can cause burns if a person gets too close.
- Place the humidifier several feet away from the bed.
- Do not run a humidifier for a long time. If room surfaces are constantly damp or wet to the touch, mold and mildew can grow. This can cause breathing problems for some people.
- Humidifiers must be drained and cleaned daily, because bacteria can grow in standing water.
Besides using some type of humidifier in your home, here are a few extra tips to get through the tough winter months
Hydrate. Keep your skin and mouth moist by drinking water throughout the day. Don’t like water? Tea and juice are also good ways to rehydrate.
Seal your Home. Prevent the cold, dry air outside from paying you an unwelcome visit. Insulate your home so you don’t have to turn up the heat. Close any air leaks in doors, windows, attics, and crawl spaces with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping. Sealing off air leaks will also help you save money on your monthly heating bill, because you’ll feel warm and cozy enough to turn down the thermostat a few notches.
Shorten your showers. Long, hot showers might feel great on frigid winter mornings, but the heat and steam can really dry out your skin. Turn the water temperature down to warm — not hot — and use a gentle soap. Get out as soon as you’re clean, or under 15 minutes, whichever comes first.
Moisturize. Rub a thick oil-based moisturizer onto your skin frequently each day, especially after you take a shower or bath. The oil in the product will lock moisture into your skin and keep it from drying out. Moisturizers come in different forms, but ointments will provide the most protection for dry skin. Make sure to apply moisturizing sunscreen with SPF 30 to exposed skin before going outside. Also apply a lip balm or petroleum jelly to protect against chapped lips. Help keep your nasal passageways moist by using salt water (saline) drops or rubbing a little petroleum jelly into each nostril gently with a cotton swab.
Humidifiers are not miracle workers, but they do help you save money in doctor expenses and furniture repairs. IKO Community Management hopes these tips will be helpful to get you through the dry winter months. Here’s hoping Spring is around the corner!