DE PERE - The effects of the bone-dry winter air are an annual annoyance.
Winter is always going to be dry in the northern tiers of the country because of the physical properties of colder air.
And there's not much you can do about the cold, dry air outside other than limit exposure.
Relief from the cold is as simple as turning the heat up.
But the dryness of the air is a different story entirely.
Dry heat inside the home can result in dried out skin, static shocks, and dry sinuses.
Humidifiers can help alleviate these problems.
They add moisture to the air inside your house, making it more comfortable.
There are other benefits, too.
"If you have a proper level of humidity, you're going to adjust your thermostat down in a lot of cases. A lot of people find that they're more comfortable at a lower setting, which has the obvious benefit of saving some energy," said Greg Van Den Elzen, general manager of Van's Heating and Cooling.
The problem is that cold air in the winter is always going to be dry, no matter what.
Cold air simply does not hold the same amount of moisture as warmer air in the spring and summer.
You need to look at the dew point and by looking at relative humidity.
The dew point more or less tells you how much moisture is in the air, and the relative humidity compares how much water is actually in the air to how much the air could be holding.
So even though a cold day of 25 degrees and a dew point of 20 degrees has very little moisture in the air, the relative humidity is a whopping 80 percent.
But when you turn on the furnace, and you take that same air and heat it up to 70 degrees without adding any more moisture with a humidifier, the relative humidity drops all the way down to 15 percent.
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