Editor’s Note: This article was last updated September 10, 2015.
Adding a humidifier to your home – especially during the dry winter months – offers a host of benefits. When you live in a dry climate or have a cold and dry winter, you and the things in your home can suffer various ill effects from the dry air. Indoor air, especially in winter, can have humidity levels at around 10 percent, but the ideal humidity level for your home is about 30-40 percent. Here are the top ten benefits to humidified air:
Humidity allows tiny hairs in the nose to move and do their job of filtering out bacteria and viruses to prevent colds and flu. Added humidity can also help prevent bloody noses.
Air moistened with a humidifier can help soothe some symptoms of colds or flu, including irritation of nasal passages, the throat and bronchial tubes, helping you breath and sleep easier.
Wood furniture and flooring responds negatively to too much or too little moisture in the air. Too little moisture can cause wood to split and crack. Adding a humidifier to any room with wood furniture can help preserve the integrity of the wood.
Preserve Your Voice
Vocal cords need to be supple and well lubricated in order to vibrate and produce the best sounds. Dehydration, viruses and sometimes eating the wrong thing can cause you to lose your singing, and even your speaking, voice. Keeping the air moist, especially while you sleep, can help you get it back.
Moisturize Your Skin
The heat blasting through your home during the winter months can leave skin tight, dry and itchy, especially skin on your hands, which has fewer oil glands. Lips also seem to chap more often and more easily in winter. A humidifier can help keep them moist.
A humidifier will not only fight the dry skin that usually accompanies winter, it will also make your home feel warmer. The more moisture that is in the air, the warmer it will feel. Air with a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 10 percent humidity will feel like 67 degrees, but with 50 percent humidity, it will feel like it is 69 degrees.
Low moisture levels in your nose and soft palate can increase snoring, so staying hydrated can be a big help. That includes drinking plenty of water, of course, but adding moisture to the air with a humidifier can also fight off dryness that can lead to snoring.
Control Static Electricity
One sure sign of winter is the first time you pet the cat and get a jarring jolt of static electricity, or when you find the latest missing sock stuck to someone's shirt or pants. Dealing with an entirely different hairstyle also is no picnic. A humidifier can lessen the potential for static electricity during the winter months.
Lessen Electronics Shock
Added static electricity in your home is annoying, and a little comical, but the very real danger to electronic equipment, including your computer, is decidedly unfunny. The chance of significant damage is minimal, unless you happen to have your computer open at the time – to add RAM, a sound card, or any similar task. The risk is considerable in that case. You could end up with a dead board or other less obvious damage.
Hydrate Plant Life
Many species of indoor plants originally came from tropical climates with high humidity. Indoor air in many climates, especially in winter, does not offer adequate humidity for the plants to thrive. This will become apparent when leaves get brown at the tips or when they die altogether. Adding a humidifier to a room will make a difference for many plants.
Adding humidity to your home can have many positive impacts. It is a balancing act though. Too much moisture in the air can encourage the growth of organisms, including dust mites. Monitoring moisture levels and regular maintenance of your humidifier can ensure you get all of the benefits of moistened air without the risks.