Most residential HVAC systems don’t have a fresh air intake. Meaning that they are simply recirculating the air that is already in your home. When using the heating system, this air is typically quite dry. Your efforts to insulate your home in the name of energy efficiency can also further aggravate this as there isn’t any fresh air making its way into your home until you open a door or a window. During the summer months when it’s 95degF and 80% humidity, you deal with the stuffiness for the sake of avoiding heat and moisture that can cause mold and other issues. Fortunately, the cooler weather offers a simple solution for this dry stuffy feeling that can cause dehydrated skin, sore throats, and colds.
What Can I Do About It?
The simplest solution is to open a window. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to open every window in your home and leave them open all day long. Even a few minutes in the morning or evening can help introduce fresh air, and you don’t have to open the windows completely. By cracking a few windows and creating a subtle cross breeze, you can freshen the air and bring back some of the natural moisture that we require to keep our bodies from feeling like they’re drying out.
You can invest in a humidifier, especially if you find the outdoor air to be uncomfortably cold. This will introduce some moisture into the air without changing the air temperature, and can easily be monitored and controlled. Humidifiers should only be used when needed, like when your heating system is running. You could also purchase a hygrometer which will measure the levels of humidity in your home. These are widely available and most are quite affordable. Suggested humidity levels should be between 40% and 55%. Used in combination, a humidifier and hygrometer can help you find a balanced level of humidity that will create more comfortable air for your family.
One last thing you can do to increase how fresh the air in your home feels, is to purchase a few potted plants. Green plants are natural air purifiers and can drastically improve the overall quality of the air in your home by reducing the levels of toxins found in the air and creating oxygen. It’s important to keep the leaves clear of dust and the top of soil free of debris so that each can play their part in clearing up the air in your home.
If you’ve already prepped your heating system for winter by completing preventative maintenance, then these tips are all you need to stay comfortable this season. If you’ve procrastinated and haven’t scheduled routine maintenance for your HVAC system, contact East Coast Heating and Air Conditioning so that you can ensure your systems are ready for the next cold snap.