Humidity refers to the amount of atmospheric water vapor, and humidifiers are devices that increase it. Humidifiers are generally more necessary during the winter, when atmospheric humidity levels are low and heating systems, which dry air out, are in use. Humidifiers have several benefits.
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Why Is Higher Humidity And Moist Air So Desirable?
Here are 12 great ways a humidifier can save you money and make your winter months healthier and more comfortable.
1. Stay Healthy & Avoid Colds & Flu
In 2013 the journal known as PLOS ONE published a study showing that keeping higher home humidity levels could have a dramatic affect on instances of cold and flu. The reason is that higher humidity levels hamper the effectiveness of airborne flu virus.
In this study, conducted by John Noti and his colleagues at the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health at the CDC, it was found that only an hour after release into a room kept at relative humidity levels of 23%, approximately 75% of virus particles remained infectious; however, when the experiment was repeated in humidity levels of 43%, only 14% of the virus particles remained effective.
The researchers determined that this inactivation took place within 15 minutes of the release of the virus particles. They concluded that maintaining a humidity level of 40% or higher is very desirable for purposes of cold and flu prevention.
2. Higher Humidity Levels Help Ease Congestion
If you do catch a cold or flu, you will be more comfortable with a higher home humidity level. The reason for this is that humid air helps reduce congestion because dry air causes mucus to become thick and dry. This means it does not flow correctly. The result is that sinuses don’t drain properly and nasal passages become clogged. This can lead to all kinds of complications such as stuffy nose, irritated nasal passages, sore throat and painful sinuses.
Using a humidifier helps your nose do its job, which is to humidify and warm air before it passes into your respiratory system. In the wintertime, air is naturally dry and forced air heating systems make it even more so. When you have a cold, you will naturally experience some respiratory distress. A humidifier can reduce these symptoms.
3. Recover Faster
If you tend to suffer from allergies, asthma or if you have a cold, you will recover more quickly with an air humidifier in place. Keeping the air in your home properly humidified will help keep your nasal passages well-lubricated and this contributes to faster healing.
4. Reduce Allergies
If you have allergies, you can reap all of the benefits of humidified air and reduce your allergy symptoms you get from white dust and molds, generally by investing in an air humidifier equipped with an anti-microbial, air purifying filter.
5. Sleep Better
When you sleep in an arid environment, you are very likely to wake up with a scratchy throat, dry nose and even a headache. Keeping the air in your bedroom at proper humidity levels can help you sleep better and awaken more refreshed. This is why pediatricians so often recommend having a humidifier in the nursery. Naturally, humidifiers are helpful for both children and adults when it comes to getting relaxing, refreshing rest.
Additionally, keeping a humidifier going in your bedroom will help the room feel warmer, and this can lead to sounder sleep.
A humidifier can also help get snoring under control. Snoring can be caused by a number of different factors, and one of them is dry nasal passages, throat and mouth. If you wake yourself up with your snoring (or your partner wakes you with his or hers) a humidifier may very well solve that problem.
6. Prevent Dry Skin
Dry skin is common in wintertime. This is especially true of the exposed skin of your face, lips and hands. Dry skin wrinkles and cracks more easily, and living in an arid house can cause and exacerbate a number of skin maladies.
While you may increase your use of lotions and balms through the winter, it really won’t do you much good if your skin is dehydrated due to exposure to dry air. Having a good humidifier in place can literally help you feel more comfortable in your skin. It will also improve the appearance of your skin and help counteract signs of aging.
7. Protect Your Hair & Scalp
Your hair is made up of collagen, which is dependent upon moisture to remain flexible. Dry air results in dry, brittle, dull hair. Naturally, dry air poses challenges to the skin of your scalp just as it does the rest of your body. A dry scalp is itchy and may become flaky and produce unsightly dandruff. Keeping the air in your home at proper levels of humidity through the winter months can help you maintain healthy hair and scalp.
8. Keep Your Pets Healthy & Comfortable
Your indoor pets will enjoy all the same comfort and health benefits you do, and this can save you veterinary bills. A humidifier that also purifies the air is a great idea if you have a pet with allergies. Many dogs suffer from a wide variety of allergies, having clean, properly humidified indoor air quality can really help reduce symptoms.
9. Keep Your Houseplants Healthy & Happy
Having healthy greenery in your home can greatly increase the ambiance of your rooms through the cold winter months. Plants need water, both from the soil and from the air. Just as your skin and hair tend to dry out when overexposed to dry air, your plants’ leaves will do the same.
Help your houseplants thrive through winter by providing them with the ambient moisture they need to stay healthy and happy. Most plants (even succulents) prefer a relative humidity level of 40-60%.
10. Save Money On Utility Bills
You may be surprised to learn how more humidity means more warmth. Low humidity levels can reduce the feeling of warmth in the air by a good 3-5 degrees, so very dry air (10% humidity) at 70 degrees may feel like 65 degrees.
Conversely, air at a lower temperature with a relative humidity level of 50% will feel much warmer. For example, if you keep your thermostat at 67 degrees and your humidity level at 50%, the temperature in your home will feel more like 70 degrees.
This means that you can save money during the day and even more at night while you sleep by keeping your thermostat at a lower setting while running your humidifier. A humidifier is a small appliance that uses far less energy than your furnace.
11. Reduce Static Electricity
Very dry air causes static electricity to build up in textiles around your home. You may find yourself experiencing a substantial shock after every trip across carpeted areas or any time you encounter fabric or upholstery or your pet‘s fur. Keeping the air in your home well hydrated can significantly reduce instances of static shock.
12. Keep Wood Furniture & Woodwork Intact
If the air in your home is very dry, it can actually cause your doors, moldings, floorboards and wood furnishings to shrink, crack and split. Setting up a humidifier will help keep your expensive wood furniture, trim and even structural aspects of your home safe, strong and attractive.