The moisture content in your house can damage furnishings, the furnace, and parts of your property. Generally speaking, humidity is the measure of how much water vapor is in the air. Depending on the conditions in your home, you may need a humidifier or dehumidifier to restore comfort in your home. In this article, we explore the applications of both systems for different seasons.
How Humidity Impacts Indoor Comfort
The ideal relative humidity range for your home is said to be between 30% and 60%. Levels above 50% can create conditions suitable for microbial growth. Your wooden flooring and furniture can rot due to the saturation of moisture in the air.
High levels of humidity can make you feel sweaty in the summer. Our bodies dispel heat through the evaporation of moisture in the air. Therefore, your body takes a longer time to cool down. A humid interior may compel you to turn up the AC in winter, but your efforts will be futile if the humidity levels are too high.
Microbial growth may trigger symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and fatigue. The moisture will impact your home’s indoor air quality and worsen conditions such as asthma and allergies.
In winter, the air outside is cold. Therefore, the vapor condenses into dew, and moisture levels drop. When humidity levels dip below 30%, you may experience eye and nose irritation. You may also notice cracking on wooden furniture.
Humidifier or Dehumidifier in Winter
In Las Vegas, the relative humidity levels can drop below 30% in winter. Those levels are tolerable in the summer since there is more ventilation in the house. But as winter sets in, the doors and windows remain closed.
So, to raise the humidity levels in winter, the best solution is to get a humidifier. Humidifiers can enhance indoor comfort and reduce the risk of respiratory conditions. However, just like other appliances, they require regular maintenance to avoid introducing pollutants into your home.
Humidifiers have screens that need cleaning and water or cartridges that require replacement to keep them efficient. The maintenance routine will depend on the model and the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you are looking for maintenance services in Las Vegas, Polar Air & Heating, Inc. can offer quality solutions.
The Working Principle of Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
There are several ways to increase moisture in the interior of your home, but the basic working principle of most humidifiers is evaporation. The system creates steam through heating, electrolysis, or ultrasonic sound.
The humidifier can work with the furnace in winter to create moisture. Your ductwork needs to be sufficiently warm to carry the mist into the indoor atmosphere. Low temperatures in the ductwork will condense the vapor and turn it into droplets of water.
Most dehumidifiers used for residential applications employ refrigeration to capture water vapor. Moist air passes through metal coils that cool the steam into water droplets. The dehumidifier then channels the water out of the system.
Once the dehumidifier captures moisture, the cool air blows back into the house. The refrigerant in the dehumidifier keeps the coil temperatures low as the air is recirculated.
Your AC can also regulate levels of moisture through a similar refrigeration process. When warm air goes through the evaporator coils, it captures vapor and turns it into water droplets.
Common Types of Portable Humidifiers
There are different types of humidifiers utilizing various mechanisms of operation. You may need a humidifier in the winter.
The most common type of humidifier is an evaporative humidifier. It passes air through a moistened fiber, which raises the levels of moisture in the house.
Evaporative humidifiers have a burner that turns the water on a wet pad into vapor. The burner typically runs on electricity that generates heat through resistance heating.
The biggest drawback with evaporative humidifier technology is that it can consume more power to raise humidity. Evaporative systems can also release too much moisture into the air, but they are inexpensive and an ideal option for humidifying a single room.
Impellers are another type of humidifier with spinning disks that create cold steam. The device releases moisture in the form of a mist into the room. They are safer than an evaporative model because there is no risk of scalding. It is also energy efficient and ideal for homes with people vulnerable to burns.
Another type is the ultrasonic humidifier that produces steam through vibrations. They also have the advantage of having no scalding hazard for children.
The biggest drawback with both technologies is that they can produce “white dust.” The dust comes from minerals in the water that are sprayed into the room.
You can address the problem by using distilled water in the unit. You can also go for a model with a cartridge that can remove minerals from the water. In Las Vegas, Polar Air & Heating, Inc. can help you choose a system tailored to the needs of your home.
Portable or Whole-House Humidifiers
Another factor you have to consider is whether to opt for portable or whole-house humidifiers. Whole-house humidifiers provide comfort across the entire house.
Some models do not require a fan and integrate into your furnace to push moisture through your ductwork. They have an advantage in that they do not consume energy since they do not need an extra fan. But they are not as energy-efficient at pushing moisture into the house.
A more energy-efficient whole-house system is the fan-powered humidifier. It can push more moisture into the room than a bypass system. Fan-powered models are also easier to maintain.
Fan-powered humidifiers can produce some noticeable noise. They may not be ideal for places where sound can be a concern. In residential areas, regulations may stipulate minimum distances the equipment should be from your neighbor.
Nevertheless, it is possible to sound-proof the system with cost-effective technologies. A professional maintenance or installation technician can provide information relevant to your local regulations.
Sizing and Installing a Humidifier
Before choosing a humidifier, it is critical to analyze parts of your home and your heating system. Poor sizing of the equipment can impact energy efficiency and comfort. A humidifier that is too large will introduce too much moisture into the room. If its capacity is low, it will struggle to meet the demands of your home. Correct sizing will therefore reduce the running cost of the new humidification system.
Additionally, your home needs to have adequate insulation. Sometimes the issue is not even the moisture, and you may not require a humidifier. However, at Polar Air & Heating, Inc., we always recommend consulting certified professionals in Las Vegas before you decide on acquiring a humidifier.
The problem could also be pollution rather than a moisture issue. In that case, you may want to consider an air purification system to remove impurities from the air. An indoor air comfort specialist can help you make an informed choice.
Polar Air & Heating, Inc. offers trusted indoor comfort, furnace, and air conditioning services to residents of Las Vegas. We provide quality humidifiers to enhance comfort in Nevada’s dry winters. As a BBB-accredited company with an A+ rating, our team will perform all tasks in a highly professional manner. Polar Air & Heating, Inc. is also a Lennox and Mitsubishi dealer in Las Vegas, but our top-rated team can handle virtually all models of humidifiers and dehumidifiers.