Air quality matters
The air inside your home can be even more of a concern to your health and comfort, especially in the winter time, than the air outside your home. When cold, dry air enters your home and is warmed to room temperature, the relative humidity in the average house can drop to as little as 5%. Compare that to the average 25% relative humidity of the Sahara Desert and you can understand why the air inside your home can seriously affect your health and comfort. Since various studies have estimated that most people spend as much as 90% of their time at home indoors, there's reason to be concerned about indoor air quality.
How does humidity affect my comfort?
Since the air in your home is always trying to reach its saturation point, it will absorb water wherever it is found. That means it is stealing moisture from the bodies of you and your children, your pets, your furniture and even your house plants. By giving up moisture to the air, your skin, throat and nasal passages dry out and crack, leading to various physical discomforts. That is why many doctors recommend humidifiers for allergy and asthma sufferers.
Research has shown that 30% - 60% relative humidity is ideal. Outside this range, bacteria, fungi, viruses and mites thrive and multiply. As these creatures increase in number, so does your risk of being adversely affected.
How does humidity affect my house?
Virtually everything in your home made from wood contains some moisture. As dry air sucks that moisture out, the wood shrinks and cracks. Hardwood floors separate at the seams, furniture shrinks and cracks, and doors warp and no longer fit their frames as the moisture is drawn off.
Pianos, guitars and other wooden musical instruments also shrink from the loss of moisture and go out of tune. Maintaining proper humidity levels can eliminate frequent and costly retuning.
Perhaps the most annoying effect of dry indoor air is static shock. As you shuffle across a carpet or slide off upholstered furniture, a static charge builds up in your body and results in that sudden, uncomfortable "zap" of electricity when you touch a piece of metal or other conductor.
Benefits of maintaining proper humidity
Maintaining the proper level of humidity will help you save energy!! Warm, humid summer air feels hotter than it actually is because of the moisture it contains. That same principle applies to your home in the winter. By keeping the relative humidity inside your home at an ideal level, you can turn your thermostat down a few degrees and still feel comfortable. Dialing down your thermostat just three degrees can reduce your heating bill by as much as 5%.