The ambiguous answer to this is “yes, but also no.”
Bear with us! We get it—many homeowners think that running their forced-air heating system lowers humidity even more, and they may start even using their heaters less because of it. Dry air is absolutely uncomfortable and even unhealthy, but restricting the use of your heater won’t help you feel more comfortable.
Modern home construction has made our residences tightly sealed up against the elements. This impacts many common indoor air quality problems like dust and dirt buildup. But it also means that the air within our homes can become dry and stale. One solution to this problem is the addition of a whole-house humidifier, which we’ll touch on more below!
“It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity”
When you visit warmer parts of the country in the summertime, you may hear this phrase—it’s not the heat that makes people uncomfortable, it’s the humidity! Well, you could reverse this concept during Salem winters, and you wouldn’t be wrong… “It’s not the cold, it’s the dry air!”
Humid air simply retains heat better than dry air.
The cool air of winter does not maintain humidity well, which is why we feel so dry during this time of the year. And while it seems like a minor problem—just a comfort issue, right?—humidifying your home properly during this time of the year will benefit both you and your home.
The Impact of Dry Air
Air that’s too dry—or rather has a relative humidity level under 30%, leads to the drying out of everything it is exposed to, including your skin and sinuses. You may find yourself suffering from chapped lips, flaky or itchy skin, frequent coughing and sore throats, or even illness due to dried out mucous membranes.
This isn’t the end of the problem, either. There are a number of household problems that can crop up because of dry air, like splitting wooden floorboards and furniture, damage to electronics due to static shock, chipping paint, and even splitting wallpaper. Ultimately, this property damage can hurt your budget, and even end up hurting your forced-air heating system!
The Whole House Humidifier Solution
While running your forced-air heater certainly doesn’t help with humidity issues, it’s not directly hurting humidity. What’s hurting the humidity in your home is simply the time of year.
And actually, adding humidity to your home can actually help your heater out! Since increased humidity makes it seem warmer in your living space, you don’t have to set your thermostat as high in the winter. As a result, your heater won’t have to work as hard to do its job and therefore won’t expend as much energy as it otherwise would.
This can all be achieved with a whole-house humidifier installation! You’ll see improved comfort, lower heating costs, and as long as you have your heater regularly maintained, even a longer service life due to decreased wear and tear.