Stop slathering yourself in lotions and creams. If you have chapped winter skin, a humidifier may be the solution to your woes. Take this quiz to learn how a humidifier can improve the comfort of your home and save you money on your heating bill.
Henry J. Barnes of Boston, Mass. received a patent on Aug. 31, 1897, for designing a type of steam humidifier to be used with a heating register that was mounted to the floor.
Low humidity can dry out your skin and mucous membranes, making you feel itchy all over; using a humidifier can help alleviate these problems.
For optimum indoor comfort and health, the humidity level should be about 45 percent.
The amount of moisture in the air is referred to as relative humidity.
When the relative humidity is 100 percent, water will not evaporate. Real-world examples of this are frizzy hair and a clammy, damp feeling to your skin.
A hygrometer measures relative humidity, and it's an inexpensive way to monitor the comfort of your air.
Relative humidity may fall to 20 percent inside when the outdoor temperature is at or below freezing. A humidifier can increase it to a more comfortable level.
As wood dries out from lack of moisture, wood can shrink and crack, causing floors and stairs to creak.
Low humidity can increase the likelihood of a buildup of static electricity. Keep the sparks from flying by increasing the humidity.
Less humidity makes the air feel colder than it actually is. Adding humidity is more cost-effective than raising the heat.
Hanging a wet towel near a heating duct is a simple and cost-effective way of increasing humidity.
The four most popular types of humidifiers are steam, impeller, ultrasonic and wick/evaporative.
Also known as vaporizers, steam models can be found for about $10 at discount stores.
Steam vaporizers can cause burns, so be cautious if you choose this type of humidifier.
Impeller and ultrasonic humidifiers require frequent water changes, as stagnant water may contain bacteria. A high-end unit with an antibacterial feature may be the best choice.
Low humidity affects not just your skin and mucous membranes, but also dries out wood floors, walls and ceilings. Using a humidifier can help protect your wooden furniture from cracking, too.
An ultrasonic humidifier creates a cool fog and operates without a sound.
A wick/evaporative humidifier uses a cloth or foam wick to draw water out of a tank. A fan then blows over the wick, which adds moisture to the air.
Ouch! Touching metal objects when humidity is low can release static electricity. Touch a nonconductive surface such as plastic or wood to avoid the shock.
Large humidifiers can be connected to the central heating and cooling system of a home, but portable humidifiers can do an excellent job of making small spaces more comfortable.