It’s that time of year again, when colder temperatures and dry heat cause dry, cracked skin and even nose bleeds! Low humidity levels are to blame, and over time, these symptoms can lead to serious health problems. Low humidity in winter can increase the risk of infections like the flu.
What is the ideal indoor humidity?
Winter is not the only season with humidity levels leading to health problems. In the hot, summer months, high humidity can cause mold, fungus and dust mites to thrive. People with allergies, who may need to escape the outdoor pollen, may become sicker indoors with these particles in the closed air.
Optimum humidity is often thought to be a personal preference, though it is important to maintain certain levels to avoid the health risks. Ideally indoor levels of water vapor, or humidity, should fall between 40 and 60%.
Beyond health issues, dry air can cause damage to non-living things in the house, including flooring, art, electronics, plaster and paint. Maintaining an optimum humidity level through a household humidifier can protect against cracks and damage to the contents of the home.
Should you use a humidifier?
A humidifier can help maintain the optimum humidity levels to prevent infections, and curb bacterial growth. Recent medical studies have shown that bacteria and viruses, like the common cold, cannot spread in humidity levels of over 45%. Researchers think this is due to the air being too thick – and it explains why people do not get as many illnesses during the summer months with higher humidity.
Some areas have naturally ideal humidity levels. Unfortunately in Florida, and much of the eastern United States, humidity levels can vary from over 90% in the height of summer to under 50% in the cold, winter months.
Many small, tabletop varieties of humidifiers are available from many big box stores or online. These products are ideal for occasional use such as during a sinus infection. They take a gallon or two of water, turn it into water vapor – hot or cold depending on the model – and mist it into a room. These products are adequate for a small area, but do not give much control on the humidity level.
To truly benefit from optimum humidity levels, consider an appliance that connects to the house’s HVAC system and monitors and regulates the humidity continuously. Household humidifiers work with existing heating and cooling units to regulate indoor humidity levels. The water vapor is pushed through the heating ducts, and the humidity levels are monitored and regulated at the thermostat. This systems allows an even and controlled level of moisture throughout the house whenever it is needed.
In the colder winter months, cranking up the temperature is not the best way to feel warmer. Air with extremely low humidity cannot “catch” the heat, and the energy costs will climb unless the humidity is optimized. Adding a household humidifier allows the air to feel warmer at a lower temperature, leading to direct savings on the heating and electrical bill.
Improving your home’s energy shouldn’t cost you money. Here is our selection of 7 actions that you can take at no cost to increase energy efficiency for free and save on money and energy!
Everyone likes to save money and help the environment. Installing an energy efficient central air conditioning system or replacing your outdated one is a great way to do both. Installing an efficient AC system is especially important in areas like Florida, where the cost of cooling your home can be significant. It is important to install a system with a good SEER efficiency rating. What is a SEER rating? In this article, we will go over exactly what it is and what this efficiency rating means to you.
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of air conditioning units. The higher the rating, the greater the efficiency. This means when you are shopping for a new air conditioner, you want to find one with the highest rating possible. Since January 2015, the federal government has mandated that all new central AC equipment be at least SEER-14 in the Southern half of the United States, but there are units that go as high as SEER-23. In areas like Florida where systems are running the majority of the time, Volusia & Flagler recommend a system with at least a SEER-16 rating.
There are two big reasons to install a SEER-16 or higher system. One is to save money, and the other is to save the environment. You can save thousands of dollars over the AC system’s lifetime, and lower your monthly utility bills considerably. A newer system also has a large impact on our environment. For example, an AC system with a SEER rating of 8 will put out 200,000 pounds of CO2 over its lifetime, while a SEER rating of 23 emits only about 52,000 pounds of CO2. Purchasing a more efficient air conditioner can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and is a much more environmentally friendly alternative.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioners have come a long way since the 1970s. They use approximately 40% less energy to cool the same space. Even if you have a central air conditioning system that is less than 12 years old, replacing it with a newer, higher rated model could save you about 30% on your cooling costs. Make sure you also hire a reputable HVAC contractor like Volusia & Flager Heating and Air, because a modern, energy efficient air conditioner will not perform properly without correct professional installation. We will insure your system: is installed in the right location; uses the correct duct sizing; has enough supply registers; has the precise refrigerant charge and rate of airflow stated by the manufacturer; and much more.
The trusted professionals at Volusia & Flagler Heating and Air are ready to help you get the most efficient system possible, and install it properly. We also do repairs, maintenance and emergency services. Keeping cool in the hot Florida climate is very important, and so is installing a central air conditioning system that is SEER rated 16 or higher. If you are ready to save money and reduce your carbon footprint, call us in Daytona Beach at 386-252-1247 to make an appointment today.