Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does My Home Need Humidity?
More and more homeowners are realizing that, during the winter months, they live in a moisture-deprived “sick house”. Family members suffer from dry, itchy skin, parched throats and annoying coughs. Allergies and respiratory ailments worsen. Furniture creaks, floors moan, the piano slips out of tune, and static electricity zaps people and pets.
Proper home humidification reduces static electricity, revitalizes dry skin and soothes scratchy throats. It minimizes allergies and respiratory conditions. (See Impact of Relative Humidity on Air Quality Chart.) Humidification adds moisture to dry, cracked furniture and wilting houseplants; protects valuable artwork, antiques and musical instruments; and even saves money on winter heating bills. That’s because properly humidified air feels warmer, allowing you to turn your thermostat down about three degrees.
What’s the Difference Between Humidity and Relative Humidity?
All air contains moisture, called humidity. It is invisible, except when the air’s saturation point is reached and the moisture condenses. Then we see humidity as steam, fog, rain or water droplets.
The term relative humidity (or RH) refers to the percentage of water vapor present in the air at a given temperature. For example, at 50 percent RH, the air is holding half of the moisture it’s capable of holding. The air’s capacity to hold water decreases as the temperature goes down and increases as the temperature goes up.
How Does Furnace Heat Affect Indoor Humidity?
On a crisp winter day, the weatherman may report that the outside temperature is 30°F (-1°C) with 90 percent humidity. When the cold outdoor air infiltrates a home and is heated to 72°F (22°C), it expands to four or five times its previous size. While the amount of moisture remains the same, the amount of humidity relative to the air volume (the RH) is reduced from 90 percent to approximately 19 percent. That’s why homes are noticeably drier in winter, which damages woodwork and valuable possessions, and leaves residents feeling uncomfortable and (in some instances) unhealthy.
How Does Relative Humidity Affect Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?
Working efficiently with your heating system, Skuttle Flow-Thru Humidifiers help protect your home’s structure, contents and occupants by maintaining indoor relative humidity at a safer, healthier, more comfortable 30-to-45 percent.
This chart shows how carefully controlled home humidification improves air quality. The narrowing blue wedges indicate reduced effectiveness of the corresponding health-endangering conditions. Bacteria, for example, are least effective in the 25-to-60 percent relative humidity range.
Are Evaporative Humidifiers Environmentally Safe?
The concern that central-system humidifiers (Flow-Thru, Drum and Steam units) release harmful contaminants into the air stream is unfounded. Extensive, objective tests at Penn State University proved conclusively that water evaporated from these humidifiers leaves impurities (such as calcium, iron, lime and bacteria) behind. In other words, these contaminants are not dispersed into the living environment and cause no adverse health effects. In fact, the humidified air exiting properly maintained evaporative-type units was found to be cleaner and more healthful than when it entered.
Is There a Simple Way to Determine Relative Humidity in My Home?
The Relative Humidity Conversion Chart helps you determine indoor relative humidity. For example, when the outdoor temperature is 10°F (-12°C) and outdoor relative humidity is 70 percent, a home heated to 72°F (22°C) has an indoor humidity level of only 6 percent—much drier than the 25 percent relative humidity of the Sahara Desert! Skuttle humidifiers can restore a home’s relative humidity to a healthier, more comfortable 30-to-45 percent range.
How Does a Skuttle Humidifier Help Me Save on Energy Costs?
In many regions of the country, an unhumidified home in winter will have a relative humidity level of 22-to-25 percent—about as dry as the Sahara Desert. The dry interior air will steal moisture from wherever it can find it, including your body!
As moisture evaporates from your skin, you feel cooler. To counteract this sensation, it’s likely that you keep your thermostat turned up—an expensive habit, given the high cost of heating these days.
However, maintaining indoor relative humidity in the healthier more comfortable 35-to-45 percent range with a Skuttle whole-house humidifier minimizes the air’s need to replenish moisture, and little or no evaporation from your body takes place. As a result, you can turn your thermostat down about 3 degrees and still maintain your former level of comfort and warmth. The energy cost savings over an entire heating season—let alone over multiple heating seasons—should be significant.
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