Central heating dry air – top tips for Washington State residents to counter its dehydrating effects
Curling up with a cup of hot cocoa while watching the snow blanket the ground outside gives the winter season a magical, fairy tale setting, but the warm air piping out of the central heating vents can take the magic right out of that lovely winter scene.
Air produced from central heating can leech moisture right out of the air, leaving your skin as dry and cracked as Death Valley and your sinuses as parched as the Sahara sand. Dry air also contributes to that jolting static shock that practically thrusts you across the room every time you touch something.
Here are a few helpful tips to aid in the war against dry indoor air and preserve the moisture in your sinuses and skin.
Save Yourself, There’s a Winter Drought Coming
There’s a reason why you sweat in the summertime, and believe it or not, it’s not just the heat. Warmer air holds more moisture than cooler air.
In the winter, cold air that trickles into your home from the outside has a lower humidity level. So, you turn up the heat inside your home, which may add warmth but doesn’t increase the amount of moisture in the air.
Because wintertime humidity is decreased, what little moisture that is in the air is quickly dried out. Additionally, moisture also evaporates from your body, leaving your throat, nose and skin parched.
The following are some tips for putting the moisture back in your home and in your body.
Make sure to drink plenty of water during the winter months to keep your body sufficiently hydrated. Keep your skin and mouth moist by drinking water throughout the day. Don’t like water? Try putting in a little tea or juice to add flavor.
Use a Humidifier
Running a humidifier in your home will add moisture to dry, heated air. The moist air will help keep your skin, mouth and nose from becoming dried out. Your goal is to aim for a comfortable home humidity level of between 30% and 50%. Don’t crank up the humidifier higher than that as you could develop mold or fungi. Make sure to keep your humidifier clean so that it doesn’t spread dust and germs throughout your house.
Make Sure Your Home is Sealed Properly
Prevent the cold air outside from creeping inside by making sure your home is properly insulated. Close any air leaks in doors, windows, attics and crawl spaces with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping. Sealing off air leaks will also help you save money on your monthly heating bill, because there will be less need for constant heat in your home. Plus, you’ll feel warm and cozy enough to turn down the thermostat a few notches.
Take Shorter Showers
Long, hot showers might feel great on frigid winter mornings, but the heat and steam can really dry out your skin. Turn the water temperature down a few notches and use a gentle soap. Get out as soon as you’re clean, or under 15 minutes, whichever comes first.
Keep Your Skin Moisturized
Rub an oil-based moisturizer onto your skin frequently each day, especially after you take a shower or bath. The oil in the product will lock moisture into your skin and keep it from drying out. Moisturizers come in different forms, but ointments will provide the most protection for dry skin. Make sure to apply moisturizing sunscreen with SPF 30 to exposed skin before going outside. Also apply a lip balm or petroleum jelly to protect against chapped lips. Help keep your nasal passageways moist by using salt water (saline) drops or rubbing a little petroleum jelly into each nostril gently with a cotton swab.
Cooler weather and central heat can create dry air which can cause a number of problems. If you suffer from these or other dry air symptoms, try the above tips for some much needed relief.
For more tips on how to combat central heating and dry air discomfort, or if you questions about your central heating unit, Contact MM Comfort throughout the Seattle area to help with your Heating and Cooling needs.
MM Comfort experts can help you with repairs and servicing of your current HVAC system or help you choose the best heating and cooling options for your home, no matter how big or small it may be. Call us at 425.533.9058, or use our online contact form to arrange for a free heating and cooling consultation.