Don't suffer with dry, cracked skin in a humidity-starved house this winter. A whole-house humidifier can turn your home from the desert to an oasis (and save your health and money). Here are five reasons to think about buying one.
1. You can stay healthy. Winter air has little humidity compared to summer air because your home is buttoned up with closed windows and doors and dry furnace heat. This can cause chapped hands, static-y hair and even nose bleeds. It can also make you sick. Many medical experts say that dry winter air is a breeding ground for viruses, which is why we tend to get the flu, colds, or strep throat when the temperatures drop. The American Society of Otolaryngology even reports that an overly dry environment may make you more susceptible to infection.
2. Your house won't take a beating. Besides an increase in potential health threats, dry winter air can also literally impact your home. Wood furniture, floors, and trim can crack. Paint and plaster can chip.
3. You can lower the thermostat. A whole-house humidifier delivers enough moisture to the air to make you feel comfortable at a lower temperature. The Environmental Protection Agency states that you can save up to 4 percent on your heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat.
4. You'll always have the right amount of humidity. A whole-house humidifier will constantly check the relative humidity level throughout your house and adjust accordingly.
5. You'll have convenience. Whole-house models can provide humidified air through your current heating and/or cooling system, which means they are tied into your furnace or central air. They require minimal maintenance since you don't have to worry about constantly disinfecting or cleaning the system.
Karen is an Associated Press-award winning writer specializing in health and shelter topics. She is also the managing editor at Zenfully Delicious, a lifestyle company that educates and coaches people with chronic illness.