8 Effects of a Dry Indoor Climate
When it’s cold outdoors, we love the cozy warmth of our homes. It can be below freezing outside, but we’re enjoying indoor temperatures 30 to 50 degrees warmer. It’s nice to have that comfort and protection from harsh winter temperatures. Unfortunately, for many homes, there is a tradeoff. As we warm the air, moisture is removed, and humidity is reduced. This creates several negative effects.
-1- You Can Zap Your Electronics
One of the effects of dry indoor air is increased static electricity. You’ll notice it most when you walk around and get a mild spark and shock when you touch something metal. If you’re getting these little shocks, your electronics are as well. From smartphones to computers and storage devices like thumb drives, you could damage electronics with static electricity.
-2- Dry Air Can Make You Sick
Technically, the dry air doesn’t make you sick. It does dry out the interior of your nose and mouth. Removing that natural moisture reduces your body’s ability to trap invading germs and viruses. You may have noticed that you’re more susceptible to colds, the flu, and other illnesses during the winter. The germs and viruses are probably there all year, but you are more susceptible when winter heating dries out your nose and mouth.
-3- Utility Bills Could Rise as Window Frames Dry Out
Wood window frames like some moisture. As they dry out, they can shrink and even deform a bit. This creates space between the window and the frame. These cracks in most or all the window frames around the home can add up to a rather large accumulated leakage of heat into and out of the home depending on the season. You will see an increase in your heating and cooling bills.
-4- Dried Out Paper and Books
Throughout your home, you have paper products, books, and files. Some cardboard or paper composites, such as containers and record sleeves are subject to dry air damage. Low humidity over time dries out the paper, causing it to wrinkle or shrivel. Rehydrating it doesn’t reverse the damage completely.
-5- Damage to Wallpaper
That beautiful wallpaper in your home is subject to shrinkage, wrinkling, or cracking from overly dry air. This isn’t a small thing, as it can be quite visible, especially at the edges or transitions. When it becomes unsightly, you have a large rehab project to strip and replace it or paint.
-6- Fine Wine Degradation
If you buy wine and drink it soon after, this isn’t something to worry about. However, if you buy fine wine that you store, sometimes for years before you consume it, you need to think about the humidity where it is stored. Sometimes you get a good buy on wine and you buy a case. You will at a minimum usually store much of it for months. Air that’s too dry will eventually shrink the corks. This allows air to get past the cork and into the bottle. The wine will deteriorate, and your investment will be spoiled.
-7- Wood Floor Problems
If you have wood floors in your home, dry air can cause the wood planks or tiles to shrink. The cracks this creates can cause the wood to shift and creak when you walk on it. It’s not just that though. When a crack expands, especially in the floor, it’s subject to dirt infiltration. The dirt may or may not vacuum out before the wood expands again during higher humidity. Though not large, these stresses over time can be tough on your floors.
-8- Your Wood Furniture Likes Moist Air
Like wood floors and other items, wood furniture doesn’t like overly dry air. The wood contracts and can crack or deform over time. Your bookshelves may bend or warp. Dining tables can crack or start to wobble with leg deformation. Fine furniture shouldn’t have to deal with low humidity conditions.
You can work on minimizing these situations with spot humidification, humidifiers located in specific areas or rooms. Or, a whole house humidification solution tied into your heating system can work as well. Improve your health and that of your home with better humidity control.