"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Engineering reports show it takes more fuel to make you feel more comfortable than when the air is properly humidified.
Dry air absorbs or evaporates moisture from your skin and you will feel colder. With adequate moisture in the air, evaporation is slowed. Even at lower temperatures you feel more comfortable. Less fuel is required and will therefore lower your energy costs. For more information click on furnace humidifiers or portable humidifiers


Humidifiers - Why we need them
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A humidifier can be used to control humidity levels in your home. They also can have an effect on your health and energy consumption.
Relative Humidity (RH). The RH is the amount of moisture in the air compared to the maximum amount it can hold at that temperature. 20% RH means that the air is holding 20% of the moisture it is capable of holding at that temperature.
The air is able to hold a large amount of moisture. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air. This fact is significant. When cold air is heated by your furnace, the RH in the house goes down as the air is heated.
Although the heated air is now able to hold more moisture, it still contains only the amount of moisture that was in the cold air originally. As a result the RH level falls to an uncomfortable low and dry point.
The effect of dry air. The lack of moisture in your home during the winter month can have an effect on your living comfort. That is because some heating systems tend to reduce the RH of the air to a point where it is uncomfortably dry.
The humidity levels in some homes can fall below 10%. Compare this to the approximately 20% humidity found in places like the Sahara Desert and Death Valley. It is no wonder that your skin turns rough and scaly.
How to maintain proper humidity levels. A family of four can add approximately 14 liters (3 gallons) of moisture to the air, every day, through bathing, mopping, cooking, watering plants, exercising, washing, etc. However, all this moisture is often not enough and a humidifier should be installed to maintain proper humidity levels.
What to do if humidity levels are too high:
- Lower the setting of the humidifier or disconnect unit.
- Improve ventilation. Air tight homes need more ventilation than older homes where air infiltration keeps humidity levels low. NOTE: Humidifiers are no longer needed in well sealed (air tight) homes that have a high efficiency furnace. No chimney is needed and no warm air can escape that otherwise would be replaced by colder infiltrating air.
The air in the home is less frequently replaced by fresh air. Fewer air exchanges produce higher humidity levels and better ventilation is required.
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