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Home too dry? Understanding Humidification

Ever heard someone say, “It’s a dry heat” when talking about the scorching temperatures in Arizona? Or hear your fellow Southern neighbors complain about the “sickening humidity” that hangs around from about April until September this side of the Mason-Dixon Line?

Humidity is definitely a popular weather topic, although Arizona residents will say 110 degrees is HOT with our without humidity (the absence of it accounts for the “dry heat”). Of course, those of us living in South can especially wax on about the woes of humidity (it can ruin a good hair day, cause you to feel grumpy and make outdoor recreational activities unthinkable).

The truth is humidity can be more than just an irritation; an excess of humidity can foster the growth of molds and fungus, which cause health issues.

Lack of humidity, though, brings its own problems. Homes and offices that get too little humidity are hotspots for dust collections and allergens. Electronic equipment also needs a very precise balance of humidity in order to function at full capacity.

To maintain the necessary balance of humidity, most of us rely on humidification, which is the mechanical control or regulation of humidity within a home or business environment. Humidification between 35-50 percent is thought to be ideal, and many HVAC contractors actually integrate humidification, systems with cooling and ventilation systems for optimal performance.

Naturally, in the current economic climate, the biggest concern for home and business owners alike is cost. “People are generally surprised that efficient humidification, cooling and ventilating systems are actually more affordable than they first think,” says Clay Phillips, president of Ross & Witmer, a Charlotte, NC-based commercial and residential HVAC firm.

He adds that, “While a lot of new construction is already designed with premier humidification, and cooling or ventilating systems, many older homes and commercial buildings need an upgrade. It’s been my experience that the benefits always outweigh the costs. I’ve never had anyone come to me with regrets over installing a superior functioning humidification system.”

Phillips reiterates that the main benefits of humidification are:

• More comfortable living and working environments
• A safe environment for expensive electronic equipment
• Fewer allergens and dust mites in the air

It’s also important to tighten up your house to prevent unconditioned outside air from infiltrating your home and affecting your home environment.  Dry, winter air infiltrating your home produces cold drafts, reduces humidity (resulting in dry skin and irritation), and makes your equipment work harder to maintain the level of comfort you expect in your home.  Humid, summer air has the opposite effect, making your home feel muggy while becoming an ideal environment for mold and bacteria growth.

To get more information, contact Ross & Witmer today!