Low humidity indoors can lead to numerous problems for you, your home, and your electronics. Some of the expected effects of low humidity include cracked lips, itchy and dry skin and eyes, nose bleeds, throat itchiness, asthma, and allergic flare-ups, and flu-like symptoms. Too little humidity in the air can also dry out your wood floors, furniture, and musical instruments, damage and kill your houseplants, and cause static electricity inside.
Fortunately, there are some easy and inexpensive ways to increase the humidity in your home without having to buy expensive humidifiers for every room at home.
Here are some simple and inexpensive tips for increasing the humidity at home
Get an inexpensive digital hygrometer
There are some affordable digital thermometers and hygrometers available on the market, which will help you monitor the humidity levels in your home at all times.
A humidity level under 30% is considered low. Humidity, which is more than 50%, is too high and can lead to other problems such as structural decay, the growth of mold, and others.
You should aim to maintain a moisture level of the air inside your home somewhere in the range of 30-50% if you want to live in a healthy environment and prevent the side effects of too little or too much humidity.
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Lower the thermostat, or use radiant heat sources
Low humidity levels are often due to the forced air HVAC heating systems at home, which blow the warm air inside the home and thus promote faster water evaporation.
If you want to prevent this, you should lower the thermostat of your HVAC system to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the recommended level by the US Department of Energy.
This will lower your bills for heating and will help prevent the extreme drying of the air.
If you find this temperature too low, then you may want to resort to the use of other heating sources which use radiant energy instead of forced air, such as plug-in heaters or oil-filled radiators.
Place bowls or other open containers filled with water around the home
Bowls filled with water on different surfaces will help keep the humidity levels higher. Make sure that you place them somewhere out of reach of pets and kids and away from the high traffic areas to prevent accidental spills.
The best place for the water containers is on the window sill or right in front of the window, where the sun will heat up the water and will cause it to evaporate faster.
If you are using radiators at home, you can place the bowls of water directly on top of them to promote the evaporation of the water in the air.
Be careful when handling the bowls if your radiators become very hot. Use mitts or cloths when handling the hot bowls, and keep them away from children and pets.
In case you have a forced-air heating system, you can try placing the water containers in front of the air vents.
Boiling water will help moisturize the air at home, so use a kettle or pot to boil water when you are at home. Beware that you shouldn’t leave boiling pots or kettles unattended, and make sure that you set your timer or monitor the water at all times to prevent accidents. Also, keep children and pets away from the stovetop when using this method for increasing the humidity.
Use houseplants as natural humidifiers
Air that is too dry will cause the leaves of your houseplants to grow brown and die off. To help prevent this and to increase the humidity in the room where the houseplants are, you can add a container or tray with water and some pebbles on the bottom. This will promote a natural evaporation process keeping your plants happy and alive and your air more humid as well.
You can also use a spray bottle to mist the leaves of the plants periodically to help prevent them from drying and also to promote the evaporation of moisture in the air indoors.
Leave the bathroom door open
After taking a bath or shower, you can leave the door of the bathroom open and thus let the steam from the hot water reach into the other rooms of your home. You can turn off your bathroom exhaust fan to allow for the steam to moisturize the air inside rather than be expelled outside.
If you have taken a bath, you can let the water in the bathtub cool down naturally without draining it. This will further increase the humidity indoors, plus you can use the water for flushing your toilet or other needs to help save water too.
Steam your garments
Instead of ironing your clothes and other fabric, you can steam them. This will help add moisture to the air via the produced steam. Garment steamers are inexpensive to buy and maintain and will help increase the humidity in your home as well as keep your clothes, curtains, and other fabrics looking pristine.
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