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Tired of Getting Zapped? Turn up the Humidity.

Dry “winter air” affects everything. You are more susceptible to respiratory infections; nose bleeds and repeated episodes of winter colds. Plants droop, computers fail more easily, paintings crack, furniture joints loosen, oldings shrink and wallpaper loosens. Antiques, furniture, woodwork and hardwood floors warp and split. Wooden instruments and pianos lose pitch. Not only does your home, your health and your happiness suffer from lack of humidity but you spend more money to heat your home. That’s because when the air around you is dry, moisture is drawn from your skin taking the heat from your body just like the evaporation of sweat. On the other hand, too much humidity makes the air feel “muggy” and can lead to the spread of mold, bacteria and viruses.

Knowing how important the right humidity levels are to comfort, let’s review the humidifier options available and how they can work with your existing heating system.

If you have a steam or hot water heating system, you have two options: (1) individual room humidifiers or (2) multi-room special design humidifier.

  1. There are many types of stand-alone room humidifier brands–ultrasonic, cool mist, warm mist, steam—ranging in cost from $30 to over $100. Not all stand-alone humidifiers are created equal and your choice should be dependent on several factors such as cost of filter replacement, how long the humidifier operates before requiring a water refill, whether babies or children are in the home, and cost. Hygrometers, available at local hardware stores may be used to measure humidity so that you can adjust the humidity levels to the proper moisture level. If water condenses on windows, walls or pictures, relocate the humidifier, lower it’s setting or reduce it’s use.
  2. The multi-room special design ambient temperature humidifier is the second option that is considered the best method for managing your humidity levels with steam or hot water systems. This special design option often requires a separate duct system to each room. A humidistat is included with this special design. Depending on your comfort requirements and the design and installation, this humidifier system option can cost between $400 and several thousand dollars.

If you have a forced air heating system, humidification is very easy as a humidifier unit is mounted on your existing ductwork near the furnace.

With a humidistat, you can set the humidity levels to the recommended levels. With forced air systems, two types of humidifiers are typically installed.

One is a “drum” type, where a drum turns through a pan of water. The other is a “flow through” humidifier. The water flows as the humidifier operates and some type of drainage must be available near the furnace for proper operation. The “flow through” humidifier is the recommended method as it offers more consistent humidity levels and reduced chance of releasing airborne polluting micro-organisms into your home as there is no “standing water” with this type of system. Costs for these systems range up to $650.00.

It is important to know that recent studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that you humidify your home as required and that you follow the manufacturer’s directions on the cleaning and maintenance. They recommend that relative humidity levels should be in the 45%-65% range for optimal comfort in your home. FLAME service technicians are trained on the cleaning and maintenance of humidifiers, humidifier pads and filters, and would welcome the opportunity to help you make sure you have optimal comfort in your home.

One last point. With properly humidified air, the air feels warmer, your body retains its moisture and you can turn down your thermostat. And, setting back your thermostat by just three degrees can reduce your annual heating bills by as much as five percent. Still have questions? Want more information? Feel free to call FLAME toll free at 1-888-234-2340, or visit our website @

Follow the Furnace Doctor’s advice… turn up the humidity. You’ll improve your home, health and happiness and ensure you won’t get zapped!

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