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Common Winter Threats to Your Indoor Air Quality

women looking comfortable in homeWhen it comes to where we live, the biggest concern around wintertime is how cold it’s going to get. It’s understandable that this is your concern as well. After all, a lack of heat can not only be uncomfortable but even unhealthy. However, a good furnace or boiler is only part of the equation when it comes to your Chicago, IL indoor air quality.

Dry air can present a number of threats in the cold months, and a heating system does little to nothing to resolve this. A whole-house humidifier may be a great addition to your HVAC system and eliminate the problems that dry air brings before it has a chance to make your winter miserable. You may have already begun using your heater for the season, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to have a humidifier professionally installed!

How Dry Air Threatens Your Home and Comfort

When temperatures drop, the ambient moisture in the air shifts from gaseous to liquid form and exits the atmosphere. In the spring and summer, this creates dew on the ground in the cool early hours of the morning. In the winter, however, it makes the air pretty dry!

The average person is most comfortable when the relative humidity levels—the measure of the amount of moisture in the air—is between 30% and 50%. When that level drops, we can start to feel a number of unpleasant side effects, including:

  • Dry skin, which can lead to rashes, itching, and more.
  • Dried mucous membranes in your sinuses. This diminishes your body’s primary means of fighting colds and illnesses, and makes you more susceptible to catching illnesses from others.
  • Static electricity, which may be partly amusing when you “shock” a family member, but consider this: that same uncomfortable electric shock you feel could actually affect your electrical system in a way that could create a fire hazard and other problems.

Additionally, dry air makes your heating system work harder, since it often feels colder in your home when the air is dry. And dry air can also damage wallpaper and furnishings throughout your living space, particularly during extended cold fronts, which we get a lot of in our little corner of the world!

How Does a Humidifier Work?

You might be familiar with portable humidifiers, which are often used to keep indoor plants moist, or even used in babies’ bedrooms for cold recovery. Whole-house humidifiers work in the same way, essentially. A wick or pad is fed with water from a reservoir, and a fan blows over the pad to release moisture vapor into the air.

As a result, your humidity levels go up, and the annoying symptoms we mentioned above are eliminated. It could even help lower the strain on your heating system in some cases, by helping the air feel warmer, and not forcing you to run the system as much.

Contact Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning today for superior indoor air quality services and products. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about humidifiers or any of our other indoor air quality solutions!

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