HOW TO HUMIDIFY A ROOM
Is Your Home Too Dry?
For more sensitive people, the effects of low humidity are immediately obvious. Your skin becomes dry and itchy. Your hair might become frizzy and get damaged easily. In very dry climates or during the winter, your lips split in the mornings. You wake up every morning feeling dehydrated and congested. Even your eyes can feel more irritated when it’s too dry inside your home. These are often the most clear signs, but there are other ways that humidity can affect you, too. It could be that you seem to get sick more often than other people or that you seem to have a cough that just never goes away.
(image from http://www.crawlspacehuidifiers.com)
If you’re here, you might think your home is too dry. Like many, you might live in a dry part of the world, and it’s hard to get any humidity any time of the year. But for others, dry air comes back to haunt you every winter. You might even notice that during the winter, you get shocked more often by static electricity. You can hear the crackle of static as you pull off your fleece sweater. If that’s the case, it’s a sure sign that your home is too dry.
Why You Should Humidify Your Room
Having the right humidity makes you comfortable and offers you long-term health benefits. The best part is that you don’t even need to buy a humidifier to start increasing the moisture in your home. There are a lot of natural ways to humidify your home by making small changes to your daily routine. You’ll immediately start noticing improvements in things like your skin, hair, and breathing when the humidity is more comfortable.
In addition to the short-term effects of dry air, you can develop chronic health issues from not having the right humidity. This article won’t go into these issues in detail, but here’s a quick summary of the possible problems from dry air you might not have considered:
- Worse indoor allergy symptoms or asthma problems
- Increased spread of infectious bacteria or viruses
- Higher concentrations of ozone trapped indoros
- Increased risk to your health during respiratory illnesses
- Dry, scaly, and itchy skin, which can lead to inflammation and sores
Natural Ways to Increase Humidity
If you don’t want to buy a humidifier or don’t think you need one, there are a lot of things you can do to naturally increase the humidity in your home. These things can range from affordable and easy to a little more involved or pricey. Generally, you can humidify a room easily with simple methods or small changes in your everyday routines. Some methods work better and quicker than others, while humidifying an entire home is definitely going to take more work than just a single room. Here are some ideas to get you started on increasing the humidity all around your home.
Turn Down the Heat
This first point isn’t so much about increasing the humidity as it is about preserving the moisture you have in your home already. If you’re blasting the furnace during the winter to get comfortable, you’re severely reducing the relative humidity in your home. Your furnace forces moisture out by sending in dry, heated air. In addition, the same amount of moisture at a higher temperature can cause the overall relative humidity to go down. Even a few degrees could make the humidity levels in your home a lot more comfortable.
Set Out Pots or Pans
Using pots or pans filled with water is a classic method that uses natural evaporation to humidify your home. This is much the same way that evaporative humidifiers work. Old-fashioned humidifiers were essentially just water vessels kept near hot radiators during the winter. Heat from the radiator would help keep a room steamy by warming up the water in the vessel. Similarly, if you keep your water-filled pots or pans near a heating vent or by the window to get some sun, the warmth will help the moisture be released into the air. You can get creative by using decorative vases, too.
Evaporating water at room temperature this way tends to be a slow process. The best way to get the most out of your containers of water is to set them out all over the place or to keep them in a smaller room.
(image from https://www.pinterest.com/explore/house-plants/)
Keep Fish Tanks or Potted Plants
Staying on the theme of natural evaporation, keeping fish tanks or several potted plants can really keep a living area more humid. The larger the fish tank, the better. Taking care of a fish tank, especially a large one, can be very expensive. But if you’re interested in keeping fish as a hobby, this would be a fun, natural way for you to humidify your home. The advantage of keeping potted plants is that it’s cheaper to maintain many of them and they’re a great way to liven up your home. Plants can also help reduce the CO2 in your home while also reducing the level of certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Air-Dry Your Laundry
Drying your wet laundry by hanging them inside on racks is an easy way to quickly raise the humidity in your home. An added bonus is that you conserve a ton of energy that you would use in an electric dryer. Air-drying your laundry could be inconvenient depending on how much laundry you have to dry. And if you don’t have drying racks, there will be an upfront cost, which you’ll eventually get back on your electric bill. If you must use an electric dryer, however, look to our next tip for still getting that moisture back into your home.
(image from http://www.getyouorganised.com.au/laundry-training/)
Vent Your Dryer Inside
If you own a home and have an electric clothes dryer, consider venting your dryer inside to send the moisture from your clothes back into your home. This may or may not be a convenient option for you. Be sure to research what works for you. Venting your dryer indoors could also be a great option during the winter to maintain the heat in your home.
Boil Water or Cook More Often
Boiling water or open cooking in a pot or pan can quickly bring up the humidity in your home, especially in a smaller one. If you love to cook soups, learning to make your own broths is a great way to get a lot of moisture into the air. Low simmer of your stock components over hours or days can keep your home nice and comfortable.
(image from https://www.us.kohler.com/)
Steam from Showers and Baths
If you have a hot water tank, you’re spending a lot of energy to keep that water hot. Whenever you take a shower or a bath, use that hot water to humidify your home. You don’t even have to shower or take a bath with the door open. That can happen after you’re done. It’s amazing how much humidity can come pouring out of your bathroom. And at the end of the bath, consider waiting until the bath water cools before draining it. This way, you’ll make the most out of the heat and moisture that you’ve spent all that time drawing into your bath.
Direct Humidifying Methods
Using any of the natural humidification methods above may or may not work for you. It depends on your interests and willingness to make changes to your daily or weekly routines. Some of these are easier than others, but the challenge you still face with some of the natural methods is that they’re inconsistent sources of moisture. You can’t take a shower all day, and you can only cook so much in a day. If you need more consistent or immediate humidity with less effort, consider these options.
This is a cheap, effective way to humidify an area very quickly. It’s just not very consistent because it takes regular sprays on your part. Choose a spray that gives you the finest mist possible, and you’ll feel that the humidity increases almost immediately.
Tabletop or stand-alone humidifiers are the most popular option to humidify a home. Although they require some maintenance, it’s fairly hands-off and requires no effort throughout the day once your tank is filled. They come in a whole variety of types to suit your needs. They also come in different sizes so you can change the water less often or humidify a smaller room if you need to.
(image from http://www.holmesproducts.com/)
Whole-House Humidity Systems
If you live in a very dry climate and you could use more moisture all throughout your home, consider using a whole-house humidity systems. They come in two main varieties, a humidifier that’s part of your central air conditioning system, or a console humidifier, which is similar to a very large humidifier you’d keep in a central part of your home.