With the arrival of winter comes more time spent indoors snuggled up under a blanket while the wind howls outside. Furnace heat leads to dry air in your home, and the cold air that can creep into your home has very little moisture. When you turn up your heat it adds warmth but not moisture. This combination can lead to health issues that plague you all winter long. Here are some common effects of dry air in your home and tips to help you overcome them.
There’s a reason you’ll see an increase in ads selling products for chapped lips and dry skin in the winter. The cold weather wreaks havoc on your skin because of the low humidity. With all that dry air in your home, the moisture from your skin evaporates which leads to chapped lips and dry skin.
Make sure you are keeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You can also sip tea. It might be tempting to take long hot showers in the winter, but it is best to reduce your shower time to under 15 minutes and keep the water warm instead of scorching hot. You should also use a gentle soap that won’t dry your skin out even more.
To help bring moisture back to your skin, use a thick oil-based moisturizer after your shower or bath. You can also apply it on your hands and use lip balm for your chapped lips as needed. Because we should be washing our hands more frequently at the peak of cold and flu season, you should keep some hand cream handy so you can moisturize after each wash.
Dry air can also lead to sinus issues. You probably notice you wake up with a parched, dry feeling in your throat and an uncomfortable feeling in your nose. You might even have nosebleeds when your nostrils become too dry. The mucus produced by your nose is needed to help protect you against germs. When your nose becomes too dry, the mucus isn’t available to trap viruses and other things that can make you sick. That’s why we tend to get more colds and flus in the winter. As well, the germs people send into the air when they sneeze and cough like the drier air and will hang around longer.
Adding to sinus woes, heating systems can send out all kinds of allergens which can irritate your airways. If you have asthma, you might find it worsens when the heat is on. Checking and changing your HVAC filters are important to fight off allergens being sent into the air via your HVAC system.
If you find your nasal passages are very dry and uncomfortable you can use saline drops in your nostrils. Petroleum jelly can also be applied using a cotton swab.
To deal with dry air you can use a humidifier to bring back moisture. The Mayo Clinc recommends your air should be at a level between 30% and 50%. Whole Home Humidifiers, also called central humidifiers are an excellent option as they are built directly into your home’s heating unit. Although you can buy portable humidifiers, whole home humidifiers will add humidity throughout the entire house.
When you use a central humidifier, you will maintain the right air moisture level for a healthier environment. With the right moisture levels in your home, you will not only have a healthier environment but also feel warmer. This means you can save on your heating bill as you won’t be tempted to crank up the heat as much. Although a central humidifier is more expensive than portable models, you can help offset the costs with the savings in your energy bill.
Contact Appleby Systems for all of your heating, cooling and HVAC needs. We are happy to help!