Humidifiers - When It's too Dry
Cold air doesn’t hold as much water as warm air, so for most of the country humidity is low in the winter and high in the summer. Low humidity can dry out your mucous membranes and make you more susceptible to colds, and it can also dry your eyes, make your skin itchy, chap your lips and irritate your throat and nasal passages. More bad news: dry air can cause nosebleeds and aggravate asthma and sinusitis. In other words, constant exposure to dry indoor air is no good.
Good news: a humidifier can solve that.
If you notice any of these symptoms (including an elevated energy bill) it’s time to invest in a humidifier. Here’s what to look for when you shop for a humidifier:
- Energy savings. Steam and “warm-mist” humidifiers use more energy than the ultrasonic, impeller, or evaporative types because they involve heating water. In-duct models generally use the least energy of any type.
- Easy-to-use controls and hydrostat. The humidifier should have a hydrostat, which automatically controls the humidity. Why? Because too much humidity can cause serious health problems for some people.
- The right size. Consider the area that needs to be humidified. If you have high ceilings, you should probably get a humidifier with a square-foot capacity that is higher than the actual square footage you wish to humidify.
Easy maintenance. Unclean humidifiers can breed bacteria and mold that can aggravate irritations and allergic reactions. If you think you might tend to neglect the chores associated with keeping yours clean, get an easy-care model.