For people that suffer from dry skin, Chicagoland winters can be a nightmare. What should be a beautiful and whimsical season quickly turns into an annoying cycle of trying to keep skin hydrated and moisturized. Cracked lips, chapped hands, and overall dry skin are the sad reality for many Chicagoland residents during the winter season.
Chilly winter temperatures combined with low humidity levels in the outdoor air causes our skin to evaporate water more quickly, making it feel dry, tight, and itchy. Furnaces pump out heat that dries out the air inside our homes and offices as well.
For people that already suffer from dry skin, it often feels like no amount of lotion or moisturizers can solve the problems caused by winter conditions. Luckily, humidifiers are here to help!
There are several different types of humidifiers on the market, from smaller units that disperse cool mist to larger steam vaporizers that add warm moisture to the air. Humidifiers can differ in size, with some capable of humidifying a whole room and others better-suited for desks or bedside tables.
While portable humidifiers of all sizes are helpful, they can be difficult to maintain. It’s often recommended to use distilled rather than tap water when filling them, and the units have to be refilled by hand when they run out of water. They also have to be cleaned every few days to avoid mold growth, and the filters have to be changed regularly.
At Four Seasons, we recommend whole-home humidifiers to our customers that are looking for long-term, low-maintenance solutions to the dry winter air in Chicagoland. Here are the four main reasons we prefer whole-home humidifiers over portable humidifiers:
1. They’re an easy way to provide dry skin relief for your whole family
As mentioned before, it can be a nuisance to constantly refill and clean typical humidifiers, and they usually only humidify one room at a time. Whole-home humidifiers are installed directly in your ductwork, placed close to your furnace and hooked up to your plumbing system. They filter the air in your system and add moisture to it automatically, with no maintenance required.
Once your whole-home humidifier has been installed, you can forget about it almost entirely. It benefits from yearly maintenance like any part of your HVAC system, but beyond that, it is self-operating. Because it is connected to your duct system, it is able to humidify the air in your entire home rather than a single room at a time. Every room, and consequently every member of your family, will be able to benefit from a whole-home humidifier. No more lotion needed!
2. They help prevent illness
Did you know flu germs survive better in dry air conditions? No wonder we get sick so easily during the winter!
Humidifiers are a great way to easily kill germs floating around in your home’s air. It’s estimated that running a humidifier in a school for just an hour can kill up to 30% of virus germs in the air. By adding moisture, it makes it less likely that flu germs or other viruses will survive in the environment. When dealing with families sharing the same living space, this could be extremely helpful in preventing the spread of illness.
Humidifiers also help moisten your nasal passages, which can dry out during the winter. Dry nasal passages can struggle to prevent germs, bacteria, and contaminants from entering your body and causing illness.
While a whole-home humidifier won’t be able to magically erase all illnesses from your home, it can help prevent germs from gathering and attacking your immune system.
3. They protect your home’s furnishings
Similar to our skin, wood requires the right amount of moisture to avoid cracking. If the air in your home gets too dry, it can cause wooden furniture and wooden furnishing to lose moisture and crack. High-quality wooden furniture and furnishings are usually built to withstand adjustments in humidity, but extremely low levels of humidity can affect even the toughest furniture.
Low levels of humidity in your home can also impact the wood used to build your home, such as the hardwood floors or the door frames. Without the proper level of humidity, your door frames might start to stick or create gaps, and your flooring could start to split. By using a whole-home humidifier, you can ensure that your home is safe during even the harshest winters.
4. They make sleeping and breathing easier
In addition to dry nasal passages, dry air can also cause the rest of your respiratory system to suffer. Have you ever woken up with a really dry mouth or a random cough? That could be due to low humidity levels in your home.
During the winter, furnaces and heaters contribute to the already dry air and can cause the moisture in your skin, nose, and throat to be evaporated much more quickly. With dry nasal passages and sinuses, breathing may be more difficult, especially for people with conditions such as asthma. Without the proper lubrication and protection your body normally provides for the respiratory system, you can develop bronchitis, sinus infections, and embarrassing bloody noses more easily.
Dry nasal passages can also lead to mouth breathing during sleep, which dries out the throat, mouth, and gums and causes poorer sleep overall. By improving your air flow quality, you can achieve deeper sleep and wake up less during the night. For families that struggle with snoring or sleep apnea, whole-home humidifiers can be a great option for restful sleep during the winter.
Winter doesn’t have to be a painful season. Dry skin, rampant germs, and difficulty breathing can all be helped with the installation of a whole-home humidifier. Your entire household can enjoy the benefits of a humidifier without the constant maintenance normally required. Get a free estimate from Four Seasons today to determine if a whole-home humidifier is the right choice for your family.