Hardwood cracking? Dry skin? Static Shocks? Chapped lips? Humans don’t really think about humidity but a humidifier is paramount to the health of the building itself and the people in it.
Houses and buildings, like people, need moisture, but just like people, the right balance of humidity. Too little and it can negatively affect the structure and strength of the building and the people in it, too much and one might discover mushrooms in the shower stall.
Humidity, Temperatures and Viruses
MIT has found that controlling temperature and humidity is a viable option for reduction of viruses – the higher the temperature and humidity levels can kill or disable viruses more speedily.
Dr Farhad Memarzadeh at National Institutes of Health “showed that human influenza viruses could survive on a variety of surfaces at 35%–49% RH [relative humidity] and a temperature of 28°C (82.4°F).”
In the article The Reason Why Flu Strikes in Winter, Harvard.edu says “we can conclude that, at least in regions that have a winter season, the influenzavirus survives longer in cold, dry air”… “At 43°F with very low humidity, most of the virus was able to survive more than 23 hours, whereas at high humidity and a temperature of 90°F, survival was diminished at even one hour.”
There are other measures of controlling the indoor air quality such as UV lights, heat sterilization units & HVAC incinerators, air purifiers, fresh air exchangers etc. If this is of interest to you just call our office 416-410-3777 and they can explain the various options available.
Humidity and General Human Comfort Levels
If air is too dry, it can trigger asthma and sinus-related problems – humidifiers help improve air quality by preventing minerals from entering the air, and likewise the lungs. Chapped lips, dry skin, dry cough, itchy noses, exacerbated allergy symptoms and even nose bleeds are also common with dry air.
Humidity and Energy Efficiency
When a humidifier is installed, higher humidity can make the air feel warmer than it actually is, thus the thermostat can rest at a lower level, saving on energy costs (as per Environmental Protection Agency). A humidifier too, can help make cool air feel cooler in the summer.
Humidity and The Building Structure
Wood especially, not just wood floor but floor and ceiling joists, beams, and the other wood hidden behind the drywall that support the structure of the building, if it gets too dry it cracks and affects the integrity, strength, and weakens support.
Hardwood however, and the visual wood such as banisters, furniture (even plaster), especially pianos, and the like can shrink back showing gaps or creating visual cracks, thus for those reasons, correct humidity level is paramount in protecting the time cost and effort that was already put into the house or building (commercial facility).
Adding a Humidifier – Whole House – Ducted and Ductless
A standard optimal humidity range is between 30-50% depending on the season for both humans and the facility.
Whole House Humidifiers
Usually if there is an existing HVAC system with duct work – a whole house, or whole building add-on unit is attached to what’s there already. A whole house humidifier will measure the humidity level consistently and auto adjust to make sure it stays within the optimal range set.
No longer is there a bowl of water and a wet filter Petri dish – the new add-on whole house humidifiers generate humidity as it needs it and does not rely on a pool of water attached to the side of the furnace.
Stand Alone Humidifiers (Ductless Whole Home Units)
Stand alone units are also an option but usually not utilized if there is an option to tie into an existing HVAC (Furnace or Air Conditioning) system.
Humidity levels need to remain constant throughout the whole dwelling (or workplace) as humidity does not travel as well as one might think from room to room. Thus having a good quality whole house stand alone humidifier is important if going that route.
Some portable do not have the capacity to measure the humidity level on a whole building basis, thus another measuring unit would be needed to determine the humidity level for portable units, then the units would need to be adjusted manually.
However, the Aprilaire Model 800 whole house ductless unit does have the capacity for automatic control, and can be used to complement non-forced air heating sources or other heating systems types – up to 6500 Sq ft. (There are other newer models with other brands now as well)
It’s important to change the humidifier filters regularly as like any filter, the healthy properties are connected to the cleanliness of the filter.
Again, there are other measures of controlling the indoor air quality such as UV lights, heat sterilization units & HVAC incinerators, air purifiers, fresh air exchangers and more.
Feel free to call our office 416-410-3777 and our technicians can explain the various options available for residential and commercial applications.
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