Got Dry, Scratchy Skin? Why Your Home’s Air Isn’t Helping

February 24, 2017

As Kansas City homeowners, we’re all aware that cold weather also brings dry, itchy skin.

But you shouldn’t be suffering from dry skin while in the comfort of your own home. If you are, that’s a red flag that cold, unconditioned air is sneaking into your home.

So how is cold air sneaking into your home? And how can you fix it?

Don’t worry, we’ll explain all of that. But first, let’s look at what exactly cold air does to your skin to make it so itchy.

Why cold winter air causes dry skin

First off, cold air is dry air. Which basically means it can’t hold as much water vapor content as warm air can.

But why does that affect our skin?

Well, our skin is over half water and needs to “drink” water straight out of the air to prevent itself from drying out. But when there’s less water vapor available in the air, our skin get “thirsty” and starts to feel tight and itchy.

And, again, that itchy, tight feeling is normal when you spent a good amount of time outdoors in the cold, dry air. But when you have itchy skin inside your home, that likely points back to cold air that’s entering your home when it shouldn’t.

Now let’s look at how cold air is getting into your home and what you should do to stop it from happening.

Hidden cold air leaks in every home

Cold air can sneak into your home via any opening, including:

  • Doors

  • Windows

  • Recessed lighting

  • Stud cavities

  • Chimneys/flues

  • Outlets

  • Bathtub drains

  • Vents and fans

  • Etc.

But perhaps the biggest culprit of dry air infiltration? Leaks in your return ductwork.

According to a study by the EPA, about 70% of homes have major duct leakage. And if those leaky ducts are located in unconditioned areas like attics or basements, they’re pulling in dry, cold air and blowing it directly into your home.

And air leakage isn’t just bad for your skin, it’s bad for your wallet too. In fact, according to Energy Star, cold air entering your home can increase your heating bills by up to 40%.

Cold, dry air from inside your attic gets sucked into your ductwork and blown into your home, resulting in decreased humidity levels.

The solution? Duct sealing

Duct sealing can help you shut out cold, dry air and ultimately restore your home’s humidity levels to the ideal 30-50% range.

Other benefits of duct sealing include:

But keep in mind that during our cold winters, the maximum amount of water vapor in the air is always lower in the winter. So, if you’re still having dry skin problems after duct sealing, we recommend installing a whole-home dehumidifier.

These units incorporate moisture directly into the air in your ductwork to raise the humidity level and rehydrates your entire home.

Ready to improve your indoor air (and you skin)? Ask your Kansas City techs

If you think your home could benefit from duct sealing or a whole-home dehumidifier, just reach out to us.

We can perform an in-home evaluation to determine the tools that can improve your indoor air quality.


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