During the winter months the demand for heat in your home increases exponentially. One of the side effects of this is a dryer indoor climate. This can cause serious issues for people with respiratory irregularities and can even wreak havoc on your hard wood floors and furniture.
The most efficient means of increasing humidity in your home is...you guessed it, a whole home (central) humidifier. This solution however, doesn't come without it's own consequesces. Condensation build up can cause damage to window and door casings and seals. Here are a few great tips to help mitiagte the build up of condenstation and stop water damage in its tracks.
1. Determine if your central humidifier is operating correctly. This is very simple. Locate your home humidistat. They are usually located either beside your thermostat (or integrated into the thermostat itself) or installed on the return air duct in your mechanical room. Once located set the humidistat to its highest sepoint. this should begin the humidifer operation and after a feww seconds or minutes you should see water running from the unit into a floor drain. the next step is to turn the humidistat all the way down or off. agin after a few second or minutes you should notice the water will stop draining. We have now proved that the humidistat is functioning.
2. Lower the humidity setpoint. Generally speaking in extreme cold temperatures 30% indoor humidity is the ideal setpoint.
3. Use the exhaust fans in your home. Make sure to always run kitchen and bath exhaust fans whenever you shower or cook. this will help draw excess moisture from the home.
4. Keep the air moving. Circulating the air in your home can help reduce moisture build up. Run ceiling fans if you have them in a clockwise direction to force the warm air from the cieling down to the floor. Keep your furnace fan running at all times during extremely low temperatures. Again, the more air movement in the home the better.
5. Raise the indoor temperature. Condensation occurs when warm air hits a cold surface (the window). Raising the indoor temperature setpoint will in effect raise the temperature of the windows themselves, allowing for less condensation build up.
6. Use storm windows. If you have older windows the issue may be due to air leakage causing the windows to be even colder than they should be. Storm windows allow the interior window to stay significantly warmer and should resolve the issues caused by air leaks.
7. Move your plants. We all need a little life in the home but your favorite plants release a ton of moisture into the air. Move these plants as far away from windows as possible in the winter months.
8. Seal any and all air leakage areas. There are many products out there to help you seal your home from the elements. Both window caulk or weather stripping are great solutions for gaps around windows and doors.
9. Most importantly check your furnace filter. If your filter is clogged it will restrict airflow through the furnace and to the rest of your home. Poor air movement creates the perfect environment for condensation to build and freeze to your windows and door seals. You should be changing your furnace filter every 2 months minimum.
Follows these tips and to keep your home comfortable and free from water damage, as a bonus many of these tips will help you save money on utilities over the winter.