You might do a good job of booking your yearly furnace checkup, and we hope you do — see our last blog post for just one of many reasons why annual furnace maintenance is so important. However, make sure you don’t forget about another major appliance in your home that also needs yearly servicing, your humidifier.
Why You Need a Humidifier
While we all notice the temperature in our homes, and often have a strong opinion on what that temperature should be, we’re less aware of the level of humidity and how that affects our experience of the temperature, as well.
A dry home, or one with a low level of humidity, is more prone to cold zones. An optimal amount of moisture in the air helps heat to spread evenly through your home, which in turn lets your furnace work more efficiently.
Lack of humidity can also harm expensive finishes such as your flooring and windows. The air is always trying to reach its saturation point of moisture, so if it’s too dry the moisture will get sucked from any place possible within the home, including your body, plants, pets, flooring, furniture and even artwork. Wood fixtures, especially, suffer from this drying effect. Wood furnishings and hardwood floors will dry out and crack if the humidity within the home is not kept within an acceptable range. Lack of humidity can also cause gaps around windows and doors, making your heating that much less efficient.
Choosing the Right Humidifier
The key factor in choosing the right humidifier is the size of your house. Working with a qualified humidifier technician will ensure that the unit you choose is appropriate for your home.
If you’ve moved into a home with a humidifier and you’re concerned that it might not be the right model, our plumbers can check it to make sure, and determine a correctly sized replacement if needed.
Older humidifiers should also be checked for their standards of health and safety. Older, drum-style models essentially feature a sponge on a wheel that turns through a reservoir of water to pick up moisture. This design can be a haven for bacteria and spread this bacteria all through the house. We recommend replacing this type of model with a flow-through style humidifier. This style uses the power of the furnace to move humidity throughout the home.
Two other fantastic options are the fan-powered humidifier, which blows humidity through the duct-work, and steam humidifiers, which provides the most moisture and is ideal for a larger home.
Ideal Home Humidity
While we’ve been touting the benefits of humidity, there’s such thing as too much of a good thing. If your percentage of humidity is too high, your windows will start to sweat and, when it’s cold outside, frost or ice up. Though 40-60% humidity is generally ideal, most humidistats make it easy for you by giving a recommended percentage based on current weather conditions as well as the specifics of your home, including how well sealed and insulated your house is.
Aside from being a dry city, Calgary also has very hard water. Because of this, the absorption pads on your humidifier will usually require replacement every twelve months.
There is no particular season or time of year that you should have your humidifier serviced, but it should be checked by a qualified technician once a year. The easiest way to make sure this gets done is schedule it at the same time as your yearly furnace maintenance.