Snow is wafting gently down from the sky, the days are getting shorter, and the temperature is regularly able to make it above freezing — it’s definitely winter in Chicago! For many of us, the winter months are an excuse to savor more time in the Great Indoors, curling up inside with a toasty blanket, a steaming cup of tea, and a great show on TV.
Unfortunately, the cold winter months can also bring an unwanted visitor into your home: uncomfortable, dry air! While experts say that the indoor humidity for a home should hover around 45 percent, many homes experience significantly lower levels during the winter — perhaps as low as 15 percent humidity, or less.
So, what’s behind the dry air? Warmer air is able to hold moisture better than colder air, which is one reason why the winter months can feel so dry, both inside and out. During the winter season, any cold air that enters your home has lower levels of moisture and humidity. When you circulate heat using your HVAC systems, you’re adding warmth, without necessarily adding any additional humidity, as WebMD explains.
In addition to feeling uncomfortable, all this dry indoor air can cause some real problems over time. Dry air can scorch your sinuses, causing serious discomfort while also making you more likely to suffer from colds, sinus infections, and the flu. Dry air can also lead to dry, cracked, or flaky skin; cause damage to your home; and lead to a buildup in static electricity, making it hard to pet your furry friends or touch a doorknob without getting an unpleasant jolt.
So, what can your household do to manage dry winter air — or at least mitigate its worst effects? Here are six surefire ways to add humidity and cut down on dry winter air in your home throughout the chilliest months of the year:
1.) Bring In a Portable or Whole-Home Humidifier
One of the most effective ways to bring some much-needed moisture into your home is to invest in a humidifier. There are many different models and options, depending on your needs. You could upgrade your home’s systems with a “whole-humidifier,” such as a bypass or power system, both of which serve to help circulate moist, comfortable air throughout your entire space. Or, if you have one or two rooms that need a special touch, there are portable, single-room humidifiers available for every taste and budget.
2.) Seal Up Drafty Gaps and Cracks
The more you can shut out cold, dry air out of your home, the better. Taking steps to seal up gaps and cracks and insulate your home can help you reduce the amount of dry air in your space — while also allowing you to save on your heating costs, all winter long! Take a long look around your home, and consider adding caulk, weatherstripping, or foam to seal up air leaks around doors and windows, crawlspaces, or outgoing pipes and ducts.
3.) Adopt Some Vibrant, Green Houseplants
Houseplants can help add some vibrant color to your home, bringing in a pop of freshness and lifting your winter spirits. Even better, did you know that houseplants are scientifically proven to help you breathe easier? During the winter months, adding houseplants can help release some much-needed moisture into the air, thanks to a process known as transpiration. As water moves through the plant, some moisture naturally evaporates and circulates into the air in your household. Remember to keep your greenery well-watered and clean, especially since dry air can lead to less-than-healthy houseplants.
4.) Dry Your Clothes and Linens Indoors
Rather than running your dryer all winter long, take some time to air dry your just-washed clothes on a hanging line or drying rack. Not only will this help reduce your winter utility bills, but air-drying clothes indoors “can help release more water vapor in the air,” as U.S. News & World Report explains. Be sure to hang-dry clothes in an open space, to avoid making small or out-of-the-way rooms feel musty.
5.) Evaporate Water, the Natural Way
For those days when the humidifier just isn’t cutting it, there are all sorts of natural and easy ways to help evaporate water, and get some much-needed moisture into your home. If you have a radiator, one simple solution is to keep a vase or bowl of water nearby. As DIY Network puts it, “You may be surprised by how much water is released during cold months when the furnace is going full tilt.” Similarly, you can start releasing water vapor by cooking more on your stovetop, or even running a simmer pot or tea kettle on your backburner (closely supervised, of course). If you have a particularly sun-drenched window, it may even help to keep a small vase or glass of water in the brightest sun beams, which will help slowly evaporate water into the air over time.
6.) Hydrate and Moisturize
Don’t forget to take care of yourself! While it may not help actually bring moisture into your home, be sure to drink lots of water and care for your skin throughout the winter season. This way, you can help counter some of the nastiest effects of dry winter air. For a safe and comfortable winter, WebMD recommends drinking water, tea, or juice throughout the day, while also using moisturizers and ointments “especially after you take a shower or bath.”
Living In a Winter Wonderland
Keeping your home feeling clean, healthy, and comfortable can feel like a never-ending effort — especially during the busiest, frostiest days of the year.
Sweeping Dimensions is here to help to make sure your winter is as easy, comfortable, and safe as can be. You can think of us as the perfect add-on to your high tech humidifier. Whenever you need a helping hand in your Chicago home, we’ll get to work and ensure that your space is feeling fresh, clean, and ready for anything.
At Sweeping Dimensions, our job is to help you breathe easier — sometimes literally! Our goal is to help keep your spaces looking and feeling their best, so you can spend less time cleaning, and more time focusing on what matters most.
Our teams of professionally trained and uniformed cleaners offer flexible time windows, and can bring all of the cleaning products necessary to clean your home, with an emphasis on green, environmentally friendly materials.
From deep cleanings, to move-in/move-out service, to routine housekeeping, we can provide a variety of services to help make sure that your home always is your favorite place to be. Have any questions? Ready to get started? Get in touch today for your free service estimate!