Damage caused by insufficient humidity

While I’ve always been aware that overly dry air creates some problems, I didn’t fully realize the potential damage it can cause.

I own a home in the northeastern part of the country, where the weather is cold and snowy for the majority of the year.

We often experience temperatures below freezing and aren’t surprised by negative readings. The snow regularly piles up in feet overnight. Cold air doesn’t retain as much moisture as warm air. Over the winter, insufficient humidity is a problem in the local area. We notice chapped lips, frizzy hair and static shocks. Because dry air feels cooler than properly moisturized air, it encourages higher thermostat settings. This adds to demands on the furnace, forcing the system to work harder, run longer and use more energy. While the cost of heating goes up, the comfort of the home diminishes. A few years ago, my husband and I purchased a second home down south. We were tired of battling the winter conditions. We now relocate for approximately six months. Instead of shoveling snow, scraping ice off the car’s windshield and bundling up in layers of sweaters, we enjoy sunshine, blue skies and a fresh breeze. While we want to conserve energy in the empty house up north, we can’t shut down the heating system entirely. The water pipes might freeze and burst. The first year, we set the thermostat to run the furnace on low and hoped for the best. When we returned in the spring, we found a tremendous amount of damage caused by the lack of proper humidity. Our hardwood floors had developed an aggravating squeak. Our hardwood doors would no longer close properly. There were cracks in our wood furnishings and many of the drywall seams had popped. We have since installed a whole-home humidifier that operates 24/7 over the winter.



Space heater