As the temperature drops this winter, so will the humidity indoors. But what many homeowners don’t know is that dry air can negatively impact your health and the health of your loved ones. Protect your comfort and health this winter by understanding the dangers of dry air. Let’s take a look at why it is so important to treat your dry indoor air.
Dry Air Health Hazards
The quality of indoor air in your home and office has never been more important than now. Why? The relative humidity level is one factor that can influence your risk for COVID-19.
Dry Air and Virus Transmission
Many people think that the winter is cold and flu season because of the cold weather outside. But, in reality, one of the reasons is because dry air is particularly dangerous and we spend more time indoors during the winter. Dry air increases the risk of transmitting viruses and illnesses between people.
Our respiratory system requires moisture in order to work properly. Certain membranes in the nose and throat serve to catch viruses, dirt, and dust before they can move further down into the airway, respiratory tract, and lungs. These membranes become less effective if they lose moisture, which occurs when the humidity is low and heat systems further dry out the air.
Watch this short video to learn more about how dry winter air can affect your health and the importance of indoor air quality.
Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor air quality is particularly important. Not only are we spending more time indoors, but many people are spending more time at home. In the same way that our bodies are more susceptible to cold and flu viruses when the humidity level is low, the coronavirus can be more dangerous. Research has shown that the COVID-19 virus survives longer and has a greater chance or spreading in colder temperatures and there is a higher chance of infection in low humidity conditions.
Dry Air and Your Nose
When your nose becomes dry, irritated and itchy, this is a symptom of a greater problem. A dry nose that comes from a drier atmosphere can cause nosebleeds, but it can also cause much more serious complications in the respiratory system. In worst case scenarios, cold air can cause bronchial and cardiac problems because of germs that are not properly managed through the nasal cavity.
These situations can be easily avoided if you pay attention to the early symptoms – itchiness in the nose, pain when breathing, general discomfort in the nasal passages. In the winter months, many of these symptoms can be linked directly to dry air. Humidify the atmosphere in order to keep your nasal passages healthy along with the rest of your body.
Dry Air and Your Skin
The body is over 70% water, and your skin alone contains about 64%. When the air around your skin does not have the proper humidity, then your skin will react negatively. You will begin to see chaps and chafes that may cause general discomfort, itching and flaking. Older people and people with bad immune systems may even begin to experience symptoms of arthritis (it may or may not actually be arthritis, but it will feel the same).
If your skin begins to painfully crack in the winter months, then it is definitely time to seek out some way to humidify the air around you on a consistent basis. If you already have skin issues such as acne or eczema, dry air can cause these conditions to flare up even more. Your skin is also indicative of problems that the rest of your body may take on soon, so look at this as your forewarning to correct your environment.
Why Is Indoor Air So Dry in the Winter?
Cold winter air does not hold the same amount of moisture as warm summer air. Plus, turning on the furnace and heating the air can cause it to become even drier. Inversely, dry air can feel colder causing homeowners to crank up the heat even further.
Humidity should normally be around 45%, but dry winter air can drop to around 15% humidity, or even less, during the winter.
What Are Signs that Your House Is Too Dry?
Dry air causes static electricity to build up to uncomfortable levels. It can affect you every time you touch something metal in your home. It may even make it uncomfortable to sleep in your bedding because it sticks and shocks you.
Air with moisture dissipates static electricity. The shocks will be smaller, and you will not feel most of them. If you have young kids in the house, this is a very important reason to make sure that the air is properly humidified.
Dry air takes moisture from other places in your home, including its very infrastructure. If you have a lot of wood around, you may notice that it creaks more often during the winter months. This is because the air is literally drawing moisture from it, weakening it and making your home less safe in the process. Dry air will also take moisture from your doors and windows, causing the frames to shift. This creates holes in your insulation, which lets in even more cold air from the outside.
Just as dry air takes moisture from the structure of your home, it can also pull it from your furniture. Large items in your home can lose value if dry air is a major factor in your real estate.
How to Avoid Dry Air in Winter
Homeowners and business owners can rest assured that there are effective solutions to the dry indoor air that is all too common. Improving indoor air quality simply means increasing the relative humidity.
One temporary solution is as simple as placing a pan of water on top of a heater. While this method does work, it’s obviously not very practical as a long-term solution to the problem.
A more effective solution is adding a whole-house humidifier to your home’s heating system. By doing so, you will be alleviating the harmful effects that dry air can have on your family’s health as well as your home and furnishings. A whole-house humidifier will effectively increase the relative humidity of the indoor air, and maintain the set level of humidity that is right for your home.
One high-quality brand of whole-house humidifiers is the Aprilaire evaporative and steam humidifiers. These whole-house automatic humidifiers offer unsurpassed reliability, easy maintenance, and automatic controls. They also come with a comprehensive five-year warranty.
AQM helps you protect your home and your loved ones by maintaining a healthy indoor air quality for you, especially in the harsher months of the year. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation if your home has dry air. We will come up with the best solution to save you money, improve your comfort, and most importantly, protect your health.