How to Tell if the Air is Too Dry in Your House: Expert Tips

People love the winter for different reasons – some love the thought of cozying up beside the fireplace with a good book, while others adore the snowy view. Whether you like winter or not, one thing about it is true – most of your time is spent indoors. 

The need for warmth during the wintertime has led to the invention of various heating systems such as fireplaces, boilers, heat pumps, and furnaces to achieve the desired comfort in our homes. While these systems make our indoors warm and comfortable, they can also contribute to dry air. 

If you’ve never considered whether or not your indoor air is too dry, don’t worry! We’ve compiled a guideline for how to tell if the air is dry in your house.

Symptoms of dry air in the house

Wondering how to tell if the air is dry in your house? There are usually some common symptoms to look out for. 

If you have dry air in your house, symptoms may vary from mild to severe. Here are a few common ones:

1. Dry and aggravated mouth or nasal passages

This is one of the most prevalent symptoms of dry air in the house. When you spend time in an indoor climate that’s too dry, it’s common to experience dry and itchy nasal passages or a scratchy throat.

Those with sensitive nasal cavities are likely to experience frequent nosebleeds. Others will experience a dry mouth. If you find yourself experiencing this, we recommend increasing the humidity levels with a humidifier. 

2. Heightened allergy flare-ups

Dry air will increase irritation of your air passageways, exacerbating the reaction to any allergens in the air. Irritants include pollen, dust, and bacteria, among other allergens. While pollen is likely not from outside due to the cold weather, indoor houseplants can carry it. 

Allergens trigger allergic reactions when they pass the nose and throat and aren’t trapped by mucus or saliva. This should be a concern, especially if anyone in your household has asthma, as this will worsen any existing allergic reactions. 

While this can be a sign of dry air, the worsening of allergies could also indicate an issue with your air quality. Let an HVAC professional conduct an air purification treatment to eliminate this possibility. 

3. Dry and cracked skin

Noticing dry skin? If the air is too dry in your house, it can cause your skin to feel dry and may cause a reaction. 

While there is a range of skin types, including oily, dry, combination, and normal, dry air will affect everyone and may cause the outer layer of your skin to crack. Cracked skin can be painful and is a sure sign your indoor air is too dry. Another indication the air in the house is too dry is the worsening of moderate to severe acne. 

If either of these symptoms are concerns for you, we suggest investing in a whole-house humidifier to help you achieve optimal humidity levels. You can contact a professional to guide you on the most suitable humidifier for your house.

4. Dehydration

You may encounter dehydration when exposed to air that is too dry in your house. We lose water as we breathe and sweat; however, in low-humidity environments, dry air can increase the loss of body water, leading to dehydration.

In addition to dehydration, other symptoms include heightened bronchitis, sinusitis, and asthma. Symptoms could get worse for people with preexisting conditions.

We recommend taking immediate action by using a humidifier to mitigate the dry air issue.

5. Damage to walls, floors, and wooden furniture

Dropping temperatures during the winter cause the air in the house to become too dry. Dry air sucks the moisture from your home, which can lead to problems not only for the residents but for your furniture as well. You may notice fracturing or peeling of the walls, creaky or rickety floors, or warping or cracking of your wooden furniture.

All of the above are signs low humidity levels can seriously affect your home. A near-normal moisture level is needed to maintain the condition of the household items, furniture, walls, and floors.

6. Static electricity

Have you ever experienced static electricity shocks when you touch things? Have they become more frequent? One of the symptoms of dry air in the house is the frequency and ease of these shocks.

In the winter, the air in the house gets drier, which allows for the build-up of static charge each time we move. The built-up charge needs to release somewhere, which is why you experience electric shocks. To eliminate this problem, we recommend investing in a central humidifier to increase the humidity in your home and ease you of the extra static. 

The air in my house is too dry, what should I do? 

If you’ve discovered that the air in your house is too dry, there are some things you can do to fix it. 

In extreme cases, we recommend purchasing and installing a humidifier to increase humidity levels as soon as possible. While you can apply moisturizing creams, lip balm or vaseline to dry skin and chapped lips, a humidifier will increase the moisture levels in the air and address the root of the issue.

There are a few types of humidifiers you can invest in. These include portable ones that you can use in a localized area or room and whole-house humidifiers that will regulate the humidity level throughout your entire house. 

Another thing you can do is buy houseplants. Plants undergo a natural process called evapotranspiration, which, to put it simply, is when plants draw water from the soil (evaporation) and “breathe” it out through the leaves (transpiration). Hence they are a natural way to increase the humidity levels in your home. 

Wondering how to tell if the air is dry in your house? Invest in a hygrometer. This device measures the humidity in your home so you can always be at the optimal level for your health and comfort. Your home should be at least 30% humidity in the wintertime.

Bottom line

We have demonstrated that dry air in the house can worsen several health issues. As such, investing in a humidifier will help take care of your skin and respiratory system and the structural integrity of your home and furniture.

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, investing in an air humidifier will help to ease and even eliminate the effects. During the wintertime, moisturizing lotions, sprays, and balms are always a good way to lubricate your skin, sinuses, and lips and avoid cracking.

Still not sure how to tell if your house is dry or humid? Book an appointment with our HVAC professionals, who will be happy to assist you. A technician will evaluate your home and give professional guidance. 

This way, you will be ready for the winter and have no unpleasant experiences throughout the chilly season.

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