Everything You Should Know About Winter Home Humidity in Kansas City
Learn about Winter Home Humidity in Kansas City from Santa Fe Air.
Long gone are the days when we complain about sticky, humid air. Instead we’re lathering our skin with lotion and doing everything we can to get even the smallest ounce of moisture back in our bodies. You may have noticed your home becoming drier and drier as the months roll through, but why exactly is your home so dry in the winter?
The answer is simple. In the winter, there’s a lack of humidity. Say it with us: cold air is dry air. On top of that, when you pump up the heat in your home, you’re adding warmth but no moisture. Ideally, you’d want your home to have humidity levels between 30-50% for maximum comfort. In the winter, it’s easy to get below that 30% mark if you’re not aware of best practices for maintaining winter home humidity in Kansas City.
Santa Fe Air has been a leader in protecting homes in the Kansas City metro area against winter dryness since 1987. We understand the value of having proper humidity levels, especially during those cold months. Read more below to learn all about winter home humidity in Kansas City.
How dry air affects you and your home
Dry air steals moisture from your body
Having super dry air in your home means that the air will absorb moisture wherever it can. Therefore your skin, nose, and mouth are easy targets. Dry throats are no fun and dry nostrils can crack and cause nosebleeds. If you’re not taking care of your home’s humidity levels, your skin will dry out, leaving you with unfortunate flaking, itching, and tightness.
Dry air impacts your health
A lack of moisture in your home can negatively affect your health. First off, keep in mind that bacteria and viruses can hang out in cool air a little bit longer than warm air. Luckily the mucus in your nostrils trap those unwanted pathogens, but if your house is too dry, your nose can’t make the mucus it needs. In turn, you and your family will be more vulnerable to sinus infections, colds, and the flu.
Dry air damages household materials
Porous materials, such as a hardwood, depend on a certain level of moisture to keep their form. Dry air forces that moisture out, which can cause cracks and splits. Replacing flooring or even that cherished grand piano can cost you thousands — who wants that?
How to test your winter home humidity levels
The best way to avoid having your winter home humidity levels too low is to check them regularly. You don’t want to be shooting in the dark or simply hoping you’re okay. There are a few ways you can test your level of your winter home humidity in Kansas City, but we will say that some techniques are more fool-proof than others.
Buy a hygrometer
Honestly, buying a hygrometer is the best (and easiest) way for you to test your home’s humidity levels, and they’ll show the humidity level by percent. That way, you’ll know exactly how close you are to the ideal 30-50% range. You can go to Walmart, eBay, or your local Kansas City drugstore to find an affordable hygrometer to put in your home. Once you buy it, simply place it in the room you want to test and follow the instructions.
Do the glass test
Obviously you won’t get exact numbers, but the glass test can give you a glimpse into your winter home humidity levels. Plus, it’s a simple process that anyone can do.
- Put 3 to 4 cubes of ice in a glass.
- Place the glass in a room (avoid areas where the humidity changes often such as the kitchen or bathrooms).
- Wait five minutes.
- Check the amount of condensation on the glass. If there are droplets around the glass, your humidity levels are probably okay. If the glass is still dry, you’ll want to look into options for increasing your home’s winter humidity levels. Don’t worry, we’ll get into that later.
Check the signs
At the bare minimum, watch out for simple, everyday signs that your humidity levels are low. For example, your plants may be drying out faster than normal or your lips may be more chapped. These little things may not be noticeable at first, but if you pay attention to patterns, you just might find out you have a humidity issue.
How to increase your winter home humidity levels this winter
Air dry your clothes
It’s a little old school, but it definitely helps to add some extra moisture back into the air. Remember when we said dry air pulls from anything? That’ll be true of your wet clothes, too. With more places to get moisture from, your body won’t be impacted as much.
Boiling water works best if you have a small home. If you take a large pot of water and let it boil for a while, it’ll drift steam and moisture through the house. Be careful, though. You don’t want to have all the water boil away, leaving you with a scorching pot and possible fire hazard.
Leave the door open when you shower
Leaving the door open while you shower has the same effect as boiling water. Instead of trapping all that moisture-filled steam in the bathroom, you can filter it out into the rest of your home. As a bonus, the extra heat can keep everyone warm too.
Bring in some plants
Just because it’s winter outside, doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little spring inside. Having plants in your home is a great option if you need a small humidity boost. The movement of water through plants can help increase your home’s humidity levels in the winter. As a side note, though, if your humidity levels are below 30%, your plant may end up drying out.
Buy a humidifier
Although the other options are great DIY choices for short-term results, in the long run you’ll want to get a humidifier. Humidifiers are the best, sure-fire way to increase your home’s humidity levels this winter since they are designed to effectively add moisture in the air. It’s also the best option if you need something that will last you all winter and for many winters to come.
How to choose the best humidifier for your Kansas City home
There are so many types of humidifiers in the Kansas City market, it can be difficult to narrow down which will be the best humidifier for your home.
The first step is choosing between a portable or whole-home humidifier. Portable humidifiers are great if you just have one room you want to focus on. That’s because they’re able to move from room to room, so you can adjust its location based on your needs.
On the other hand, whole-home humidifiers are a furnace-type humidifier that connects to your HVAC. If your entire house has a humidity problem, whole-home humidifiers are the way to go. These are installed by professionals, and are practically maintenance-free for a year.
Types of portable humidifiers:
Cool-mist humidifiers filter out sediment, minerals, and other impurities while releasing a cool mist into the air. This is perfect for those rooms that tend to get warmer than the rest of the house and need extra humidity.
If you’re one of those people who get extra cold in the winter, you may want to opt for a warm-mist humidifier. Through a boiling process, warm mist humidifiers filter out air pollutants to give you clean, warm air.
Ultrasonic humidifiers disperse a lighter, finer mist due to a transducer that vibrates water at ultrasonic speed. Since they’re virtually soundless, they’re great for overnight use and light sleepers.
Vaporizer humidifiers are one of the most affordable options. Because they’re compact and don’t include a removable tank, they’re easy to move around the house. Often times people add extra inhalants to help alleviate those gnarly cold and flu symptoms.
Types of whole-home humidifiers:
Spray humidifiers, a.k.a. “atomizing” humidifiers, are the least expensive option, but they’re also the least popular. This kind of humidifier adds extra moisture by directly spraying mist into the air stream.
Evaporative pad humidifiers
Evaporative pad humidifiers are still relatively inexpensive, but they’re also more common than spray humidifiers. The process is fairly simple: your furnace’s warm air passes over a wet pad, then that moisture is absorbed into the air and blows throughout your home.
Although steam humidifiers are the most expensive option, they’re the most effective when it comes down to precise in-home humidification. With the use of built-in electric probes, steam humidifiers boil water until it becomes vapor. After, that vapor is pushed through the duct work and into your home.
Get help with your winter home humidity with Santa Fe Air
For 32 years, Santa Fe Air has been the prime HVAC service provider in Kansas City, and we can offer expert advice on any questions you may have about maintaining your home’s ideal humidity levels.
If you’re looking for a company to install whole-home humidifiers in the Kansas City area, look no further than Santa Fe Air. We offer a variety of whole-home humidifier options so that you can best protect your family against the dry winter air.