How Homeowners Can Improve Indoor Air Quality With a Whole-House Humidifier

Posted on: October 17, 2014

couch-relax-fresh-airAmericans, in general, tend to spend the majority of their time indoors. That means that well-managed indoor air quality is an important part of your health and happiness year-round, and part of well-managed indoor air is balanced humidity. When the air is dry — a common feature of the Raleigh-area winter climate — you need a humidifier to improve indoor air quality.

Take Advantage of the Many Benefits It Provides

There are all sorts of humidifiers on the market, many of them designed for use in a single room. A whole-house humidifier, though, offers plenty of advantages over the single-room version:

  • It can handle your entire home’s humidification needs at once.
  • It doesn’t require you to manually fill a tank.
  • It’s built directly into the ductwork, taking advantage of your home’s existing HVAC infrastructure without bulky installations in your living areas.
  • It’s generally a low noise and low maintenance system, meaning less hassle.
  • Instead of a simple on switch, it monitors humidity levels and delivers additional water vapor only as needed. That can help you avoid some of the problems a portable humidifier might give you, like delivering too much moisture to a single area of your home.

Stabilize the Relative Humidity Levels

Your home’s relative humidity should be kept somewhere between 35 and 50 percent; although, many HVAC specialists consider 50 percent relative humidity too high. When the humidity is too high, water can condense on objects in the home, causing water damage. This high-humidity environment also encourages mold, mildew, fungus and bacteria growth.

Indoor air quality and humidifiers are linked. When humidity is too low, a host of air quality problems can result. Paint and varnish can shrink and fracture, dust is more likely to form and circulate, and static electricity can become a problem. Hardwood floors may also contract, coming apart at the seams.

Keep Your Home Warm and Comfortable

Dry air is also less effective at holding heat, meaning furnaces work harder to keep people warm on dry winter days. (The saying “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” holds true during the winter months.) And dry air itself can irritate the throat and lungs.

Because both too-high and too-low humidity can cause problems, many homeowners choose to install both a whole-house humidifier and a whole-house dehumidifier, so home humidity is under control year-round.

Like a whole-house humidifier, whole-house dehumidifiers tap into the home’s existing ductwork and don’t require manual control on a tank. They have their own drainage pipes that dispose of collected water without introducing it back into your indoor air.

Offers a Consistent Delivery of Heated Air

Because whole-house humidifiers can only distribute moisture while the HVAC blower fan is running, they’re only on when the heating system is. If you have a system that starts and stops frequently, which often happens when home improvements make the old system oversized, you may experience issues with indoor air quality and humidifiers.

If you don’t want to replace the furnace or heat pump to take care of this issue, you may want to consider installing a variable speed motor in the blower fan. These motors can vary the amount of air delivered to living areas based on the current temperature, reducing airflow instead of cutting it off outright when the room’s temperature becomes comfortable. This can lead to more consistent delivery of heated air, which means better performance from your whole-house humidifier.

Contact a Professional

If you’d like to learn more about indoor air quality and humidifiers and how you can boost home comfort in your Raleigh area home, don’t hesitate to contact us at Air Experts. We’re happy to guide you through the process of finding a humidity management system right for your home.

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