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Humidifiers

Submitted by SterlingBrown on Sun, 09/11/2016 - 15:25

Humidifiers

In much of the northern swath of the United States, including Fargo/Moorhead and West Central Minnesota,  winters can produce some extremely dry weather conditions. To help alleviate the personal discomfort of dry skin, lips, throat and nose, homeowners often consider adding a humidifier to their homes. Beyond our own personal discomfort, however, extremely dry weather conditions can also lead to damage of various wood components and furnishings in the house to say nothing of delicate musical instruments. For our comfort humidity levels between 45 -55 % seem best. Wooden products fare better in the range of 40-45%. The difficulty is that these levels can lead to other problems during colder weather.

We all have a feeling for what humidity is but a more complete understanding of just what humidity really is may help in understanding to best way to control it in our homes. The technical term is "relative humidity" and is just a way to express the relationship between the amount of moisture in the air and the maximum amount that could be held at a particular temperature. The warmer the temperature the more moisture the air can hold. Interestingly the outside temperature is more indicative of the appropriate indoor "best" humidity levels. Information supplied by the state of Minnesota assumes a storm or double-glazed window with an indoor temperature of 70 degrees.  The lower the outdoor temperature, the lower the indoor humidity should be.

If outside temperature is 20 to 40 degrees, humidity indoors should be equal to or less than 40 percent.

If outside temperature is 10 to 20 degrees, humidity indoors should be equal to or less than 35 percent.

If outside temperature is 0 to 10 degrees, humidity indoors should be equal to or less than 30 percent.

If outside temperature is 10-below to 0, humidity indoors should be equal to or less than 25 percent.

If outside temperature is 20-below to 10-below, humidity indoors should be equal to or less than 20 percent.

If outdoor temperature is lower than 20-below, inside humidity should be equal to or less than 15 percent

Maintaining these humidity recommendations can greatly reduce the chances of damage to building components and lessen the chances of mold or mildew in the home caused by warm, humid indoor air contacting colder exterior surfaces such as window panes and roof sheathing.

Many times the moisture we add to the air in our homes by breathing, cooking showers and clothes dryers is sufficient for comfort but if not then we need to think about a humidifier. The purpose of a humidifier is to add moisture back into the dry environment of our home. Although portable units are available to achieve this most homeowners opt to have a permanent humidifier installed in the forced air system where that is available. In-homes served by hydronic heating radiators, convectors, in floor or perhaps electric baseboard heating, portable humidifiers may best serve the homeowners needs. The installation should include a humidistat to help properly control the relative humidity.

Your humidifier will require proper maintenance. Incorporating service into your furnace and AC annual maintenance cycle will help provide the best service.

Submitted by SterlingBrown on Sun, 09/11/2016 - 15:25