Friday, January 3, 2014

Relative humidity and home heating comfort

This afternoon, I've had several phone calls from people who were concerned about my staying warm during this cold snap.  That caused me to become concerned about a major factor in home heating comfort that I am afraid many of you may be neglecting.  That factor is the relative humidity level (that is, the amount of moisture in the air relative to the temperature) in one's home or apartment.

Why is this so important, you ask?  Well, from my own experience, I can testify that, with the right level of relative humidity in the air (approximately 50%), you can cut back your thermostat by as much as ten degrees or more and still feel warm and toasty.  This amounts to a significant savings on your next gas or electric bill!  It also makes you less susceptible to colds, flu, and other diseases, since dry air puts a strain on the delicate tissues of the mouth, nose, and throat.

Having said all of that, however, it is just as important not to let the humidity level get too high, as that will tend to promote the growth of mold and mildew, especially black mold, which can be deadly.  It is easy, however, to monitor the humidity level in your home with an inexpensive humidity gauge, available at many hardware stores or home furnishing stores.  Moisture can be added to the air very easily when needed by means of an old-fashioned steam vaporizer or cool-mist vaporizer which are currently priced at from $15 to $30 at most drug and department stores.  They're easy to care for, so this is basically a one-time purchase.

Please feel free to spread the word about this important subject.  With the home heating season now in full swing, the home humidity level is an important factor for both health and economy reasons--please don't neglect it!

No comments: