Every winter, without fail, a couple dozen customers ask me whether a humidifier is really a necessary component of a heating and cooling system. Many of them wonder aloud if humidifiers are just one of those “nice to have” but ultimately nonessential things.

Before I answer their questions, I have my customers answer a few of my own:

  1. Do you notice the spacing in between the planks of your hardwood floors getting wider?
  2. Has your partner recently started snoring?
  3. Has someone in your family had an unexpected bloody nose for no apparent reason?
  4. Are your plants getting brown on the tips of their leaves?
  5. Are you experiencing painful static shocks?
  6. Are your lips chapped, throat sore? Skin rough? Sinuses congested?

If they answer yes to any of the above (and they often do), I tell them about the benefits of a whole-house humidifier.

Take it from the Coop: When you’ve been in the plumbing, heating and cooling business for as long as I have, you learn the tell-tale signs of too much or too little humidity in the air. And boy, it sure makes a big difference in the general comfort level of your home — just as much as, say, having reliable heater repair service during cold Bucks County winters.

Here are the facts on low humidity levels:

  • Low humidity levels can damage your wood furniture and floors as well as other expensive items such as musical instruments and wooden trim.
  • Improper humidity can aggravate allergy, asthma and sinus conditions, and is a major cause of sore throats, chapped lips and rough skin in the winter. What’s more, viruses that cause the common cold and flu tend to flourish in low humidity environments.
  • Static electricity may feel painful, but what’s even more shocking is the damage sustained by expensive electronic equipment from static electricity due to dry indoor air.

But what about the other end of the spectrum? Can the humidity in your home be too high? You bet! Humidity levels that are too high can cause just as much havoc to you and your home as insufficient humidity. Here’s what to look for:

  • Indoor condensation appearing on windows, mirrors and cold drinks
  • An unexplained, musty odor within your home
  • Increased presence of pesky insects
  • Uncomfortable sweating at normal indoor temperature settings
  • Clammy skin in the winter and sticky in the summer
  • Warping or rotting wood floors, woodwork and furniture

Besides these worrisome clues of high humidity, there are signs that you might not see but are important to note. High humidity in your home is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can cause all kinds of unpleasant odors, allergic reactions and respiratory issues. What’s more, dust mites thrive in this type of climate. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, a recent study suggests that at least 45% of young people with asthma are allergic to dust mites.

Why not lower all of these risks by installing a whole house humidifier? That’s right, one and done! A whole-house humidifier is built to deliver just the right amount of moisture in your home, alleviating the negative effects of air that is too dry or too moist and allowing for more comfortable conditions at lower thermostat settings. (Bonus: You save approximately 4% off your heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat.) Here’s why humidifiers, for most homeowners, are much more of a necessity than a luxury:

  • Humidifiers give your skin, eyes, and even your throat the moisture necessary to remain properly hydrated
  • It helps creates an environment that lessens the possibility of mold and mildew growth
  • A whole-house humidifier properly maintains woodwork, wood floors, furniture and walls
  • Asthma and allergy sufferers will breathe better and feel healthier
  • Your plants will thank you, too!

Whether the signs of too-low humidity or too-high humidity sound familiar to you — or if you’re just not sure yet if a humidifier is right for your home — give Cooper Mechanical a call. Our service technicians will inspect your home, determine its humidity level and recommend whether you can truly benefit from a whole-home humidifier.

And if you’re scheduled for annual maintenance or heating repair in New Hope, PA, or anywhere else in our service area, take the opportunity to bring up whole-home humidifiers to your service tech. It’s never too late to get the home comfort you deserve!