Calgary, especially in the winter, is one of the driest places on the planet.
While Calgary’s average humidity in summer sits around 50%, in the winter, Calgary’s natural humidity drops down to just 4%, which is drier than the Sahara Desert with its 7% humidity! The fact is that the water which is in our cold air simply crystallizes, leaving virtually no water content. What then happens is that people gun their heaters higher and higher, further lowering humidity, and pulling moisture energy out of their bodies…making them feel even colder. Brrr!
Not only is it hard on your body, but dryness affects other things in your home. Many retailers of wood products such as hardwood floors, wood furniture and acoustic guitars also strongly recommend that you pay attention to humidity. In fact, not doing so often relinquishes your product’s performance guarantee.
So how do you achieve proper humidity? With a humidifier, of course. These do not need to run in the summer, but around about the time you kick your indoor heating on (and wasn’t it awfully early this year with our September snow?), you’ll need to start that humidifier.
Types of Humidifiers
You can get portable freestanding humidifiers, but they rarely perform as consistently as needed. Humidifiers that install on your Central forced-air heating system are the best. One we recommend is the Bryant Large Fan Powered model, which will keep a 2400 square foot home at a very steady level of humidity throughout the year. Believe it or not, these systems may use up to 20 gallons of water a day in Calgary to keep you from drying up, but you can set the humidity preference and never worry about adjusting it – it has a sensor that allows it to self-regulate.
When purchasing a humidifier, be sure to ask what size home the unit is ideally suited for; we’ve seen customers trying to push a little General Air humidifier, designed for only up to 1300 square feet, in a 3000 square foot house!
Humidifiers also need servicing – and this is moreso when you do not have a water softener. The reason? Calgary has very hard water, and running it through anything leaves large hard water deposits. Softening the water first will extend the length of any appliance.
What Level of Humidity Do You Need?
To feel somewhat normal in the winter, no home would want less than a bare, bare minimum of 40%. We recommend at least 42% to take care of wood floors or furniture. And do be mindful of something called the “Brownian Effect” – which basically means that humidity will always try to even itself out….so moisture in the air wants to leak right out your humidified home’s drafty windows and doors. If that happens, you’re going to have to gun that humidifier really hard, which is not terribly energy efficient.
Costs of Humidifiers
The Bryant model we recommend goes for about $860 INSTALLED. Good news: We also keep them right in stock. The bonus benefit: Recall how we mentioned that the dry air pulls warm moisture from your body — well, with humidified air, you’ll notice that you can heat your home 1 – 2 degrees lower than without humidification, saving you money through the winter.
Want to learn more? Contact us today!