Living in the south, we get used to the warm Richmond Hill, GA, temps that last most of the year. However, when 40 degrees becomes the regular low in the winter months from November to February, the first thing on Georgians’ minds is how to escape the uncomfortable weather, especially overnight.
While you may plan for HVAC aid with Richmond Hill’s furnace replacement and installation experts, that only covers half of it. For optimal relief, you need ideal indoor winter humidity that’ll protect against the dryness the cold brings. Therefore, ask us at Georgia Air Cooling & Heating about the preferred humidity levels and how to achieve their benefits rather than suffer from the cold.
How Does Relative Humidity Work?
Usually, when residents consider humidity percentages, it’s during the summer when it makes high temperatures feel even hotter and more sticky. However, humidity affects us year-round, with high levels adding moisture to the air and low levels reducing it. Experts use a ratio of present water vapor to the maximum vapors the air can hold during that temperature to convey relative humidity in a percentage.
The warmer the temperature, the higher the humidity since water evaporates and the heat holds the vapors in the air, saturating it to the fullest. For instance, 100% humidity always follows hot temperatures around 90 degrees, while 25% moisture levels and under usually accompany temps below freezing. Since water vapors are always evident, it’s near impossible to reach 0% humidity.
Why Is Humidity Important to Note?
Still, humidity levels drop low enough during the darker months to affect your body and home, just as it does during the summer. Low vapor percentages cause wood furniture and floors to crack and warp, wallpaper to peel, and static electricity. It causes bodily discomfort by drying the skin, nasal passages, mouth, throat, and eyes, leading to scratchiness, burning, chapping, peeling, and other irritations.
Overly moisturized air during heat waves does the opposite. The vapors pool, creating stagnant water that leads to mold and mildew growth toxic to your health. It also provokes water stains on your ceiling and walls, rots your home’s wooden structure, and produces stuffy air that makes breathing difficult.
Below, we’ll delve into ideal indoor winter humidity, how to monitor it, and how to effectively change it for better household and health conditions.
What Humidity Range Should Your Home Stick Within?
As you can assume, a humidity level in the middle of the spectrum is ideal for getting the right amount of moisture in your air. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), levels between 40% and 60% keep you, your loved ones, and your property safe and comfortable. However, this percentage also varies, depending on your location.
In our southern city of Richmond Hill, our outdoor temperatures are usually mild during the winter, barely reaching below 40 degrees. Because of this, our outdoor atmosphere has more humidity than the West, Midwest, and Northeast. Therefore, humidity levels, which should always be dependent on the temperature, should naturally be between 20% and 40%, one of the highest ranges across all US regions.
Anything higher or lower than this causes excess moisture or dryness, respectively, but this is not the case in all states:
- In the West, 30% to 50% humidity is perfect for the dry and mild winters.
- In the upper part of the Midwest, you should have 15% to 35% humidity, but further down south, where the climate gets colder, the humidity should be higher, from 20% to 40%.
- In the Northeast, winters are most severe, so moisture levels should naturally be lower, from 15% to 35%.
You can also use your current outdoor temperature to decipher the moisture range to create ideal indoor winter humidity. On average, if your temps reach 20 to 40 degrees, as is a common winter low across most states, your humidity shouldn’t surpass 40%. For every ten degrees this range drops, your indoor humidity levels should lower by 5%.
What Is Your Indoor Humidity?
Now that you know what the humidity levels should be according to your region and outdoor temperature, how do you know if that’s where your vapor percentage is? Some signs like dry skin and an itchy or sore throat point to low humidity, while stickiness and fatigue follow high moisture levels. When you notice these things, you can assume your humidity needs readjusting, but don’t do it blindly.
Monitor relative humidity with a hygrometer that tests air moisture. Some come with multiple sensors for different household areas, perfect for residential or commercial property owners who need different levels in each room. For instance, if you have a baby’s room or greenhouse, these rooms may require a bit more humidity than other spots.
Others have Bluetooth or WiFi capabilities that allow you to monitor air vapor percentages on the go. However, these cost-effective gadgets all measure your indoor humidity and temperature so you can simply tell if one is higher or lower in relation to the other.
How Should You Raise Humidity Levels for Optimal Comfort?
Still, the question remains: What do you do if the cool temperatures drop too low during the winter, inevitably holding less moisture and leading to lower humidity levels? Manually adding more vapor to the air in the following ways helps create the ideal indoor winter humidity.
If you suffer from dry skin or your nasal passageways burn or feel painful in cooler climates, you probably feel better after a steamy shower. That’s because the water evaporates, sending tiny vapor molecules into your skin, effectively decreasing the dryness that causes these ailments. Allow this relief to reach all rooms by opening the door during your next shower, letting the steam encompass your entire living area.
Air-drying your laundry not only helps you save on utility bills but as your clothes dry, the water evaporates and enters your indoor air, increasing moisture levels. Hang them over your rail or in your bathroom or kitchen on hangers or a clothesline.
Similarly, consider dampening pieces of cloth and hanging them over the radiators of the rooms you feel need more moisture. Doing so also allows for fast evaporation and quick relief for drying atmospheres.
High Levels of Houseplants
Collecting houseplants is a timeless hobby that improves your home or office’s aesthetics and keeps the owner happy. You may have heard they produce oxygen to keep you cheerful and healthy, too, but what they do for your home during the winter exceeds this.
Plants improve humidity levels through evapotranspiration. When you dampen the soil during watering, the roots suck up this moisture, traveling through the stem and to the tips of the leaves. After going through this transpiration process, it evaporates from the leaves’ pores and enters your indoor atmosphere.
While all plants undergo this process, some plants, like Spider plants, Areca Palms, and English Ivy, produce more humidity. Despite the plant type, it’s better to count on medium to large-sized plants and huddle them together, usually taking up about 100 square feet for optimal results.
Purchase a Humidifier
If you’re looking for a “set it and forget it” method for creating ideal indoor winter humidity, consider purchasing a humidifier for more airborne water vapors. You can count on a portable single-room humidifier, the cheaper alternative to a whole-house humidifier, where you fill it manually with water. After plugging it in and turning it on, set it to your desired vaporizing output.
If you opt for the more expensive whole-house humidifier, the installation process is more complicated, requiring a professional technician to add this feature to your existing HVAC unit. However, this is the better choice if you have pets, plants, and family members across your entire home that need dryness relief. Ask the experts to help you decipher the correct size and model for your house and needs.
Don’t Get Steamed Up About Your Lack of Humidity: Call for Quality Georgia Air
If DIY humidity-provoking methods aren’t providing enough air vapors, choose a system with moisture production down to a science to cover your entire home. While all humidifiers offer a noticeable change to your atmosphere, you need a specific size capable of producing humidity levels that match your indoor temperature.
Since it takes extensive research to find the right one to partner with your HVAC unit, let the experts take care of it for you. As specialists in humidifiers and dehumidifiers alongside other HVAC equipment, our team already has all the information necessary for determining the best choice for your home and needs after one visit to your house.
We’ll take measurements and analyze your current setup before considering top manufacturing brands. We’ll then handle the installation process, offering you upfront pricing, and come by for semi-annual maintenance to check its functioning ability. Our 100% satisfaction guarantee ensures we’ll fix any issues for the first two years at no additional cost.