Your skin is tight, flaky and itchy. Your eyes are red and scratchy. Even your nails are brittle and dry.
These symptoms can only mean one thing: It's wintertime!
While this season brings with it many favorite things, it also has a major drawback: dryness.
When the temperature dial dips, most of us feel the effects immediately. Our skin, scalp, eyes, and nails lose much of the essential moisture they require to look and feel their best and we're left feeling drier than the Sahara. You can test the humidity levels in your home with a hygrometer to see if you're in need of some added humidity.
This is one of the reasons why it's smart to find a humidifier for winter woes! In our opinion, the best overall is the filter-free ultrasonic cool mist humidifier, but if you're looking to humidify your whole house, there are options for that as well.
Today, we're taking a closer look at how this essential household machine can turn winter into one of the most comfortable, healthiest seasons of the year. Read on to discover more about this valuable investment.
Why Use a Humidifier For Winter?
As soon as we start to feel the slightest chill in the air, most of us do the same thing: We reach for our thermostat and turn it up. In addition to pumping forced heat through our homes, we also rely on space heaters to warm up smaller areas like our bedrooms.
While that hot air might feel good at first, it could actually be causing more damage to your indoor air than you realize. When you blast the heat, it drains moisture from the air, causing your relative humidity levels to drop.
The relative humidity is simply the comparison of how much moisture your air currently contains versus its maximum capacity. The EPA recommends that the air inside of your home should stay between 30% and 60% relative humidity. Unfortunately, in the wintertime, it's not uncommon for those levels to decline below 30%.
When this happens, it leads to the telltale signs of dry skin and even nose bleeds. It can also trigger nasal congestion and make it more difficult to bounce back from the flu or the common cold. In fact, scientists show that low moisture levels can even encourage the growth of the flu virus!
Knowing this, it's critical to keep the moisture levels in your home at a healthy level all year round, and especially during the winter. A humidifier works by turning liquid water into water vapor and then releasing it into your air. As a result, your relative humidity immediately increases and you're able to breathe more easily and sleep more deeply when you humidify.
Let's take a look at a few of the benefits you can expect to receive when you run humidifiers in winter.
1. Prevent the Spread of Airborne Illnesses
As mentioned, the low humidity levels can encourage the spread of certain airborne illnesses, including the flu and other respiratory infections. Conversely, raising those humidity levels has the opposite effect.
According to one recent study, when indoor humidity levels reached at least 43%, around 85% of airborne viruses were rendered virtually non-existent and ineffective. The results were enough to encourage other researchers to suggest that hospitals across the country raise their indoor humidity levels to keep doctors, nurses, and patients well.
If you run your humidifier during the winter for no other reason, do it to help keep your family as healthy as possible. These colder months are notoriously deemed "flu season" for a reason and simply plugging in your unit every night can help you ward off the germs that lead to common illnesses.
How does it work? When germs come into contact with the water vapor that your humidifier produces, they bind to the droplets and make them too heavy to hang in the air. From there, they simply fall to the ground. This drastically lowers the number of contaminants that are allowed to enter your airways and infect your system, so this can help you live your best germ-free life.
2. Keep Snoring at Bay
Tired of getting nudged in the side by your partner as you snore the night away?
You might have noticed that your snoring gets a little worse in the wintertime. This is because the congestion and sinus issues that usually plague us during this time of year make it difficult to breathe through our nose.
Thus, most of us become mouth breathers, at least when we're stuffed up.
Not only does this turn you into a locomotive engine in bed, but it can also irritate the back of your throat. If you're used to waking up with a slight tinge in the back of yours, it's because the cool air has been hitting it for hours.
If you're considering a humidifier for sore throat pain, you'll notice that less frequent snoring is a pleasant side effect. By adding moisture into the air, you'll not only lubricate the tissues at the back of your throat, but you'll also open up your nasal passages, too.
This way, you can encourage mucus to drain out so you can breathe through your nose again! When you do, your seasonal snoring should subside significantly.
3. Moisturize Your Skin
Tired of traveling everywhere with a bulk-sized bottle of lotion? This doesn't have to be your wintertime reality!
There are a few reasons why your skin is so parched during the winter. First, the cold indoor and outdoor temperatures and low humidity levels are partially to blame. Then, there's the fact that we run our heaters on full blast and we take long, hot baths and showers to knock the chill from our bones.
None of these are exactly skin-soothers!
Scientists reveal that up to 60% of the human body is made of water. That means dry conditions can take their toll all over. From chapped lips to scaly elbows, our bodies simply weren't designed to sustain low-moisture conditions. Even your eyes can become drained and bloodshot during the winter!
Because the skin there is so thin, you might first notice signs of dryness on the tops of your hands. Rather than wait until it spreads all over your body, you can take proactive action and begin running your humidifier!
When you do so, you'll add much-needed moisture back into the air around you and your body will thank you from the inside out. To help keep dryness at bay, try to limit your showers to no longer than 15 minutes and resist the urge to turn the water on as hot as possible.
When you get out of the shower, apply body oil or lotion to lock in moisture. Then, plug in your humidifier, slip under the covers and rest easily. You can even diffuse some soothing essential oils to turn your nighttime routine into a true oasis.
4. Relieve Your Allergies
We normally think of seasonal allergies as a springtime woe, but the reality is that there are myriad allergens that rear their ugly heads when the weather turns cold.
Specifically, indoor allergies are at their peak during this time of year. These include:
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
When it's cold outside, you naturally spend more time indoors. Thus, while all of these irritants are inside of your home throughout the year, you're more likely to notice them build up more during the winter months.
While humidifiers can't exactly rid the air of all of these particulates, they can work wonders to relieve your symptoms. Some of the most common signs that you're suffering from indoor allergies include:
- Dark eye circles
- Runny nose
- Itchy, irritated eyes
- Water eyes
By adding moisture back into the air, a humidifier helps keep your nasal passages functioning as smoothly as possible. As you breathe in the water vapor, any allergy-induced inflammation is allowed to calm, so mucus drains away from your body more easily.
At the same time, your throat tissues also stay moist, which can help alleviate constant coughing. If nothing else, you'll be able to sleep more soundly, which is key to helping boost your immune system and stay healthy.
5. Add a Little Warmth
No, your home humidifier cannot pull double duty as your space heater. However, it can add a little warmth back into your room.
This is primarily true when you use a type of humidifier called a warm-mist humidifier or steam vaporizer. These warm mist options have an internal heating element that boils water inside of the water tank. Then, this water is released into the air as steam. These often have automatic shut-off features to prevent fire hazards.
In general, however, moist air tends to be slightly warmer than dry air, so even a cool mist humidifier, like an ultrasonic cool mist model or an evaporative humidifier, could give you this benefit with its mist output. Have you ever noticed that a humid summer day feels stickier and hotter than others? The temperature could be the same from one day to the next, but if the wind is blowing and the humidity levels are down, you won't feel as uncomfortably hot.
Turns out, there's a simple explanation for this phenomenon.
When there's more water in the air, your sweat remains on your body for a longer period of time and evaporates more slowly. As a result, you don't cool down as quickly and feel warmer. As your humidifier makes the air around you moister, it can help you slightly reduce your dependency on your heaters and HVAC systems.
6. Protect Your Furniture
Your wood floors and furniture are susceptible to fluctuations in your environment. Have you noticed that your planks tend to squeak more in the winter than during the summer?
This is because when the air is dry, it can cause them to contract and shrink. The wooden items in your home can even crack or splinter! This applies to your picture frames, furniture arms, hardwood floors and more.
In terms of flooring, even the slightest shift can loosen the joints and cause your wood planks to pull apart from one another. When this happens, those spaces can lead to the noises you're hearing underfoot.
You might also notice that the wooden doors in your home have shrunk slightly due to the same issue. This can make them more difficult to open and close.
Another issue might be wobbly furniture. If it seems as though your dining room chairs and kitchen barstools aren't as sturdy as they once were, wintertime dryness and air quality could be to blame.
What's going on?
Wood needs to maintain an adequate moisture level to look and function its best. When it's too dry, it undergoes a natural dehydrating process that directly affects its structure. Humidifying can help increase your relative humidity levels to keep your household valuable as protected as possible.
7. Decrease Static
Are you tired of waking up looking like Edward Scissorhands? Tired of shocking everyone and every surface you touch? Sick of finding socks from the laundry inside of your favorite blouse?
The wintertime is synonymous with static!
Apart from altering your appearance, it can also be downright painful! No one wants to walk around like a human lightning bolt. In addition, static can be dangerous.
When static levels are ultra-high in your home, they can damage your sensitive electronics. In some severe cases, static shock can even create a spark that could ignite flammable gas or dust.
Thankfully, the answer to decreasing your static charge is as simple as plugging in your humidifier. When there's more moisture in the air, built-up static naturally dissipates. Not only will your hair look smoother and more polished, but you'll also lower your home's overall risk of damage from static electricity.
Find a Humidifier For Winter and Embrace the Season
Winter can be one of the most beautiful and enjoyable seasons of the year. If you're ready to embrace it and stop dreading it, a humidifier might be just the ticket you need.
When you find your top pick for a portable humidifier for winter, whether you have a large room or a small number of square feet, you'll notice improvements in all areas of your life. You may even be able to use it as an essential oil diffuser as well.
Not only will you be able to ward off cold-weather dryness, but you can also strengthen your immunity against viruses, colds, and seasonal allergies. At the same time, your home will feel warmer and more comfortable, and your snoring may even improve!
When you're ready to find the best humidifier on the market, we're here to help with our extended warranty. Our online shop is filled with items to make your home as cozy and plush as possible. Feel free to browse our full collection and get in touch with us today to learn more.