Humidity, Often Forgotten

Many of you may remember, as I do, the pot of water being placed on the kerosene kitchen range as an effort to get some moisture into the house. Well, fortunately the kero stoves and the pans of water have disappeared ‘ I think ‘ unless the wood burners are doing it!

The modern homes of today are built very tight and with higher insulation values; however, this, of course could bring about furniture cracking, allergies, colds, dry nasal passages and several other uncomfortable conditions.

When your customer visits the local physician for a bad cold or breathing issues, he or she may hear the doc ask what kind of heat tthey have, and the answer could well be WARM AIR. Now after writing a prescription, he suggests a humidifier, and you get the call. The most important issue is to listen to what the customer has to offer regarding the family’s situation in order for you to determine what type of unit is required. Could it be a drum type or a steam unit with a manual or humidistat controlled unit? Remember that you must also size the unit for the home in order for it to work properly. Sizing will be determined by the manufacturer of the product used. Keep in mind that the homeowner should also be aware that it takes longer to make a change in humidity than a change in room temperature. It has been recommended to make a humidity change in the a.m. for what the p.m. suggested low temperature might be. As an example if the anticipated low temperature is 20 degrees, then the humidification setting should be set at 35 percent.

There are units sold that will automatically monitor the indoor humidity and outdoor temperatures that will provide a more immediate response. It is also wise to spend some time explaining the basics of humidification to the customer. Some people are under the assumption that as the temperature decreases, more humidity is needed. However, as air gets cooler its ability to retain moisture decreases. You may want to touch on relative humidity also. This is the amount of water vapor in percentage, which is in the air compared to the amount that the air could maintain at the same temperature. As an example, if the heated air in the home is heated to 70 degrees, the air will retain about eight grains of moisture per cubic foot. I would also suggest that when the humidifier is installed that it becomes part of the customer’s service record so that the unit is serviced annually. I’m sure we all have a story to tell about plugged, slimy, corroded and non functioning humidifiers and electronic air cleaners that haven’t worked for some time.

Here are some recommended indoor humidity levels, and keep in mind that we never want to experience 100 percent relative humidity in the home for the obvious reason.

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