A guest article by: LCS Heating and Cooling
We are in the very beginning of a true Indiana winter. It may be 50 degrees for a few days, drop down to 28 degrees over the weekend and back up to 40 degrees. First priority in our homes is heat! Despite the temperature outside, we want to come home to a balmy 70 degrees. But even though the furnace is holding steady at 70 degrees, it still doesn’t feel comfortable. Your skin is a little itchy and you shock everything you touch. Is there a way to keep the house warm and comfortable?
There is a solution! First, let’s go over the culprit: low humidity levels. How do you know if humidity levels are low in your home?
Signs of Low Humidity
- Your skin feels dry and itchy, even after applying lotion or oils
- You get shocked by everything in the house
- You’re staring to get nose bleeds
- You have an itchy throat or dry cough
- Your hardwood floors are cracking
Humidity is simply the amount of moisture in the air. Winter air quality tends to be dry and harsh. Moisture can be added through a humidifier. You may be familiar with small, portable humidifier units. While these are effective for the room they are located in, a whole house humidifier services the entire house.
We are frequently asked about whole-house humidifiers. Here are some of the most common questions:
How is a whole-house humidifier different from a portable humidifier?
A whole house humidifier is installed on the ductwork next to the furnace. Using the ductwork, it distributes moisture throughout the entire house. The humidifier can be wired to run only when the heat runs or it can run more frequently if the fan is always on. A sensor is located either in the humidistat control or on the thermostat. When the humidity level in the house drops below the set level, the humidifier will run.
What are optimal indoor humidity levels?
We recommend setting the humidistat between 30-40%. Every house is different so those levels may need to be adjusted from time to time. For example, if you notice the windows are sweating, the humidity is too high and should be turned down a little.
How do I care for a whole house humidifier?
Aside from adding humidity to the entire house, this is something that really sets whole house humidifiers apart from portable units. While a portable humidifier has to be frequently re-filled with water, a whole house humidifier operates on its own. Annual maintenance is recommended to clean it, check the valves and wiring, clean the drain and change the pad. Soft water is ideal as there’s less accumulation of calcium and lime buildup. If you have hard water, it might be necessary to have the humidifier cleaned and pad changed twice a year.
Are humidifiers efficient or do they use a lot of water?
Humidifiers are measured by how many gallons they use per day. Most humidifiers use either 12 or 18 gallons of water per day. Steam humidifiers are the most efficient but it is highly recommended that steam humidifiers be installed in homes that have soft water. Calcium and lime buildup from hard water can cause issues on all humidifiers if not properly cleaned but this is especially true with steam.
Are there any special requirements to having a whole house humidifier?
Humidifiers can be installed in homes with either gas or electric furnaces. We will check to make sure there is enough space for the humidifier to be installed. This is usually only an issue is the furnace is located in a tight attic or closet space.
A comfortable home is so much more than warm and cool air. Check out the LCS Heating and Cooling website, www.LCSheatingandcooling.com, or call 317-238-3961 if you have further questions!
LCS Heating and Cooling is proud to serve the following Indiana areas: Indianapolis, Fortville, McCordsville, Fishers, Noblesville, Carmel, Westfield, Zionsville, Greenfield, and Greenwood.
Need soft water for your humidifier?