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5 tips to hitting that humidity “sweet spot” (Trust us, this is important!)

Don't let humidity dampen your mood. Our quick-fix, pro-tips will have you looking and feeling great!

Humidity Sweet Spot

We usually don’t think about humidity as an important aspect of air quality.  Dry or humid, we’ll live.  After all, there’s no terminal prognosis for dry, itchy skin or electrical shocks and yet, scientific consensus tells us that indoor humidity levels are indeed important.  

Dry skin, irritated sinuses, sore throat, itchy eyes and skin aging are but a few symptoms we’ve all likely experienced from dry air.  Lesser known is that dry air may also be part to blame for contracting colds and infections because viruses survive longer in drier environments, while inflamed and dried out mucous membranes increase susceptibility to illness.  Winter cold, anyone?

Excess moisture, on the other hand, can bring about other biological air pollutants such as dust mites and mold, both of which produce materials that can affect the respiratory system.

To stay healthy - hitting the humidity “sweet spot” of 35-50% RH is key - and it’s not as hard as you may think!  Our 5 tips will have you looking and feeling great (for years to come!):

1.   Get a Humidifier (quality counts!)

At this day and age, humidifiers are a common household appliance.  Some homes even have built-in systems.  If you don’t have one already, we recommend getting one!  It’s a relatively cheap and effective way of adding moisture to the air to alleviate some of the nuisances brought on by dry summers and winters.

** A warning to those using humidifiers built in into home heating and cooling systems:  the US EPA and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have concluded that Ultrasonic and Impeller units (aka Cool Mist) are more likely to disperse microorganisms and minerals into the air because they use large internal tanks which often pull from mineral-heavy tap water.  If you have one of these systems, pay special attention to ensuring the water used is both clean and pure (see below).

2.   Use the right water!

Avoid Tap Water

Most tap waters around the word contain varying amounts of minerals.  If you've ever noticed a white powdery substance collecting along the sides of your tea kettles or pots - this is actually mineral deposits!  For drinking, minerals can provide health-boosting benefits, when vaporized however, these minerals will mix into the air you breathe and potentially cause you adverse health effects.  

Most governments recommend using bottled water labeled “distilled”  as it is likely to contain lower mineral content than either tap or commercial waters.  Since this can be costly - another alternative is to boil, and then distill your own tap water.  Whatever you do - avoid putting dirty, mineral-heavy, or scented water into your humidifier as this will likely do more harm than good.

3.   Monitor.

Knowledge is power (and in this case, critical to achieving and maintaining a good level of indoor humidity).  By tracking your humidity levels you can take measures to either humidify or dehumidify your environment.  Be sure to keep you indoor relative humidity (RH) in the “sweet spot” between 35-50%.  

Most run of the mill humidity sensors will work just fine in conveying an accurate humidity level.  We recommend one that displays relative humidity - a percentage expressing the amount of water vapor in the air to the amount needed to saturate the air at a given temperature.

Some devices, like the AirVisual Node, will warn you and provide specific recommendations for when humidity is less than optimal.

4.   Adjust.

If your home has a RH less than 35% - humidify.  Break out that humidifer!

If your home has a RH greater than 50% - dehumidify.  Try one of these cheap and effective tricks:

      1)   Set your AC to it’s “dry” setting

     2)   Make your own DIY dehumidifier!  Buy 2 stackable plastic buckets.  Make five to eight 0.5cm holes in the top bucket and fill with 5lbs of rock salt. Empty the bottom bucket as it fills with water.

      3)   Buy Damprid at your local home department store (available for $10 online)

      4)   Fix/replace leaking pipes in your home

5.   Keep your humidifier clean and deposit-free.

Generally it’s recommended that you clean your portable humidifier every third day by emptying and scrubbing the tank.   Try to avoid using cleaning solutions as these may leave traces of these chemicals into your vaporized air.   Once it’s clean, use 3% hydrogen peroxide to disinfect device and kill any microorganisms that may be growing in there.  Meanwhile, remember that the water in reservoir should be changed daily!

 

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