Dry winter air can wreak havoc on your health, leaving you feeling stuffy and congested. A whole-house humidifier can help add some much-needed moisture to the air and make you feel more comfortable. But how long should the humidifier be on? When should you turn it on and when should you turn it off? “Doc” Dancer Heating & Air explains how to use your whole-house humidifier accurately for optimal comfort and indoor air quality this winter season.

When Should You Turn on the Whole-House Humidifier?

There is no set date for when homeowners in Fort Wayne should start using their whole-house humidifiers for the cold season. This is because our weather can be quite finicky and cold weather onset tends to be slightly different each year.

When it comes to turning on your whole-house humidifier for the season, you can take one of two approaches: monitor indoor moisture levels to determine when it’s time to start using the humidifier, or go ahead and turn it on when you turn on the furnace for the season and use it proactively, as long as your home’s indoor moisture levels are below ideal.

Humidity Levels for Winter

While keeping indoor humidity between 30 to 50% is fine during the warmer seasons, indoor humidity levels need to be set a little lower during colder weather to prevent condensation buildup indoors. The ideal indoor humidity levels correspond with the outdoor temperature this time of year.

  • If the outdoor temperature is -20 degrees or lower, 15% indoor humidity is ideal.
  • If the outdoor temperature is -20 to -10 degrees, 20% indoor humidity is ideal.
  • If the outdoor temperature is -10 to 0 degrees, 25% indoor humidity is ideal.
  • If the outdoor temperature is 0 to 20 degrees, 30% indoor humidity is ideal.
  • If the outdoor temperature is 20 to 40 degrees, 35% to 40% indoor humidity is ideal.

Monitoring Indoor Humidity Levels

As the temperatures drop, the outdoor air is colder and doesn’t hold as much moisture. As a result, the air inside homes and office buildings can become very dry. If the air is dry in your home, you may notice that you have dry skin, static shocks frequently, and you may have trouble sleeping. Sinuses are irritated by dry air and you may notice more frequent snoring, nose bleeds, or sneezing. One of the most important ways to combat dry air inside is to monitor the humidity level in your home over the winter.

A hygrometer is a device used to measure the humidity or the amount of water vapor present in the air. Typically, whole-house humidifiers have a built-in humidistat, which controls the humidifier’s operation as well as monitors moisture levels. By monitoring the humidity level readings on a hygrometer or humidistat and adjusting the whole-house humidifier as necessary, homeowners can help to create a comfortable and healthy indoor environment while avoiding dry air problems. Additionally, by using a hygrometer to monitor moisture levels, you can also take steps to prevent condensation and mold growth when humidity levels are high.

How Long Should My Humidifier Be On For?

Depending on the type of whole home humidifier you have, the unit’s humidistat setting, and the home’s current indoor relative humidity level will determine how long should let your humidifier run. Bypass whole-home humidifiers are dependent on the heating unit’s fan and will only run when the furnace or heat pump cycles; fan-powered and steam whole-house humidifiers are capable of switching on and off as needed to maintain the set indoor humidity level independent of heating system usage.

Depending on current indoor humidity levels, it may take a few days to achieve the desired settings once you turn on your humidifier for the season. Your humidifier run time is typically about 10 to 15 minutes, which is the average length of a heating cycle. If you notice condensation on windows or surfaces indoors over the winter, this is an indicator that there is too much humidity and you will want to adjust to prevent excess moisture.

Once the heating season has ended and the outdoor temperature rises, so will natural humidity levels. When you stop using your furnace in spring, it’s typically the right time to turn off the whole home humidifier. Continue to monitor indoor relative humidity levels throughout the year and only use the humidifier when indoor relative humidity levels fall below 30%. Too much moisture in your home can cause mold growth and can make your home very humid. If your house is very humid in the summer, you may want to consider a whole-house dehumidifier as well to prevent mold from growing in the summer months. Keep your eye on your humidity level all throughout the year to find the best indoor air quality solutions for your home.

Call “Doc” Dancer For Whole-House Humidifier Installation

How to effectively combat the humidity in your home can be tricky to figure out at first, but a whole-home humidifier with a humidistat from “Doc” Dancer can make the process nearly effortless! Contact us today to find out more about whole-house humidifier installation.