You Ask, We Answer: How can I combat a dry house in the winter?
Winter is in full swing in Connecticut! The frosty outside temperatures may leave you seeking the comforts of the indoors, but cold air also means dry air. Low humidity levels from cold, winter air may lead to uncomfortable physical symptoms and can even cause damage to your home. Extremely dehydrated air can cause drywall and plaster to crack, hardwood flooring to shrink, and joints in wood furniture to become loose. All the effects of a dry house may sound scary, but don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. While humidifiers are the easiest way to add humidity to the air, they can be expensive and complicated. Humidifiers require distilled water and must be cleaned after every use. You also must replace the filters often, or you risk releasing harmful elements into the air. If a traditional humidifier sounds too intimidating, read on. Here are our favorite natural ways to add humidity to your home.
Take a hot shower and leave the door open
Hot shower lovers, rejoice! A dry home is the perfect excuse to let yourself stay in the shower a bit longer. Keeping the door cracked will allow some steam to travel into your home and add much-needed moisture to the air. If leaving the door open is not an option, keep the door closed as usual and then open the door wide after the shower. Of course, too much moisture can be harmful, so turn on the bathroom fan after your shower, and remember to rehydrate your skin with your favorite moisturizer.
Enjoy stovetop cooking
If you’re looking for a sign to have pasta for dinner tonight, tomorrow, and the next day – this is it! Winter is the perfect time of year for your favorite cozy meals. Anything cooked on your stovetop will increase your home’s humidity, especially if it includes boiling water for pasta or simmering broth in a soup. You could even try a simmer pot, which is a stovetop potpourri. Fill a small pot with water and let it boil. Add aromatic ingredients like cut oranges, cinnamon, cranberries, or cloves. Allow it to boil for a few minutes, then lower the heat and let the pot simmer. Keep an eye on the water level and add more as needed, usually around every 30 minutes. The simmer pot will release a wonderful aroma into the air, along with the hydration your home craves.
Bringing houseplants into your home is another all-natural hack for increasing the humidity levels in your air. Plants release water into their environment through a process called transpiration. When this happens, the water you give your plant travels through the roots, into the plant, and then evaporates through the leaves and into the air of your home! Plants that excel in transpiration include English ivy and peace lilies, but any plant with large leaves will help to increase your home’s humidity levels. While many indoor plants are perfect for increasing humidity, be aware of those that do the opposite. Plants such as succulents and cactuses naturally absorb moisture from the air, so you will want to avoid those when searching for your next houseplant if you are looking to help your home’s air.
Skip the dryer
Save your home and energy bills simultaneously by skipping the dryer and laying your clothes out to dry. Using a drying rack instead of a traditional clothes dryer is a helpful hack for when the air in your home starts feeling like you live in a desert. The air in your home will naturally absorb the water, drying your clothes and humidifying your air. Things you already have in your closet may benefit from air-drying, such as workout clothes, leggings, and delicate sweaters. Placing your clothes near radiators or air vents will assist with drying the clothes even quicker.
Stop the problem before it starts
Air leaks cause more than just a draft; they can dry out the air in your home and cause your energy bills to skyrocket. Cold air entering the home causes your heating system to work harder to maintain the set temperature, drying out the air even further. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that sealing air leaks can reduce monthly energy expenses by around 15%. Checking your home for air leaks and fixing them can sound daunting, but it’s more straightforward than it may seem. The easiest way to search for air leaks is to inspect common areas for visible cracks. Inspect all areas on the exterior of your home, including corners, chimneys, and the foundation. Check for cracks and gaps around doors, window frames, and floors inside. A more advanced way to search for air leaks is to light an incense stick and hold it to where common air leaks occur. If the smoke is blown away or sucked in, it means you have an air leak in that area! There are many ways to fix gaps to seal the airflow. Research the material of the area to find out if caulk, expanding foam, or weatherstripping is the right choice for your home. If you are apprehensive about tackling a project like this, contact your Calcagni agent. Calcagni has an expansive vendor network, and our agents are ready to find the best contractor to help you with your home projects.