image of woman feeling itchy due to dry indoor air

Winter brings a mix of good and bad things. It signals the end of the year and the celebrations of the season. It also ushers in cold temperatures, snow-covered roads, and dry indoor air. While some might not consider dry air as a major issue, it can do more harm than people realize. It’s best to be proactive in managing indoor air quality rather than solving problems after the damage has been done. In this article, we discuss the dry air symptoms, as well as its consequences in terms of health and property damage. We also list down the things that people can do to get it under control.

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What Causes Dry Air in the Wintertime?

Before anything else, let’s clarify what we mean when we say “dry air”. The air around us doesn’t seem wet because it is in a gaseous state so this may confuse some people. The reality is that there is moisture in the air in the form of water vapor. This is naturally occurring with the levels often referred to as the humidity. Low humidity means the air feels dryer than normal and high humidity is the opposite. Cold air is typically dry so this issue reaches its peak in winter.

Humidity is important because it affects our comfort level. We may not be able to control outdoor humidity but we can influence indoor humidity. Let’s start enumerating the causes of dry air:

1. Insulation Problems

image of insultation for a homeGood insulation along the perimeter of the house can help maintain a balanced amount of moisture in the air. The flipside is also true. One of the reasons why the air is drying out might be poor insulation. A central heating system tends to lower indoor humidity but this will not make it drop to uncomfortable levels.

Rather, the problem probably stems from cracks on the walls which allow dry air outdoors to get inside. This upsets the delicate balance in the home and leads to discomfort.

2. Humidity Replacement

Heating appliances such as stoves, space heaters, and the like contribute to humidity reduction. Cooling appliances have the same effect. The lost humidity must be replaced somehow.

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The Damage Done by Dry Indoor Air

While short exposures to dry air are nothing to be concerned about, prolonged exposure may have a few noticeable effects for people and their surroundings. Below are the things that you are likely to experience:

1. Respiratory Issues

image of a man with resipratory issues due to dry air in winter

If you are having a hard time breathing during the cold months, then dry air could be the one causing it. The airways get constricted so less air volume can pass through. Healthy individuals may be able to cope with it but those with chronic lung problems can have real difficulties during the season. They may complain about chest tightness, shortness of breath, and incessant coughing.

2. Dry Skin

Another common sign of low humidity is dry skin. The air is quick to absorb moisture from the body which leads to this condition. It can lead to itching and flaking. Some people might even see a change in the quality of their hair. As for those dealing with the flu, they may have worse than usual symptoms including dry eyes and chills.

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3. Wood Damage

Some of the damage can be seen around the property. If the house has wooden furniture, then you might see some of the surfaces cracking and warping. Moving fixtures such as doors and windows can be difficult to open and close all of a sudden. The same can be observed in wooden cabinets and closets.

Look closely at the walls. You might see the paint cracking and peeling off. Even books can be affected by the pages getting brittle. Paintings may also crack and musical instruments may require adjustment to stay in tune.

 

Strategies for Dry Air Removal

As you can see, dry air has numerous effects all around us and inside of us. The good news is that people can do something about this.

1. Drafts

image of homeowner sealing air drafts

For example, they can fix the drafts that are allowing dry air to come inside. Seal the gaps and cracks if you can. Use weather stripping to take care of the gaps under doors and beside windows. If you have damaged insulation, then you may want to add or replace the existing ones.

2. Humidifier

Since the problem stems from a lack of humidity, it makes sense to install a humidifier to add more moisture to the air. If you have a small space, then use a portable model. If you are planning to improve the conditions throughout the home, then use a whole-house humidifier for better results.

3. Heating System Check-up

You should not have to think twice about using your heating systems because of the reduction in humidity. A properly working HVAC system can provide the right environmental conditions including temperature and humidity. Keep yours working smoothly through annual check-ups. Before winter comes, get a technician to visit for a thorough inspection and tune-up. Professionals will be able to spot issues at the earliest stages so they don’t become major issues. Aside from preventing excessive air dryness, they will also reduce indoor air pollution and health problems.

 

Conclusion

You deserve to live in a home that makes you feel good inside and out. Don’t let bad indoor air quality to ruin your home life with bouts of respiratory issues and signs of property damage. Knowing that these problems reach their peak in winter, you can use the tips above to minimize damage when the season comes. The sooner you prepare, the better off you will be.

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Miller Oil Company is known as one of the leading providers of heating and cooling services in the state. We have a team staffed with professionally certified technicians. You can be confident in their ability to install, replace, repair, and maintain your HVAC system.

No matter what service you need, you will be amazed by the work of Miller Oil Company. These services are available at affordable prices and a satisfaction guarantee. Expect higher levels of comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality. Call today and schedule an appointment for a free estimate.

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