Chapped lips, dry skin, inescapable static electricity -- you’re well familiar with the symptoms of dry winter air. As you may recall from sixth-grade science class, cold air retains less moisture than dry air, but have you ever wondered if your furnace is making a bad situation worse?
Your heating system may also be contributing to dry conditions inside your home.
Keep reading to learn why your furnace may be at fault and how you can combat the effects of dry winter air.
How Your Furnace Affects Your Indoor Air Quality
If your furnace is located in a conditioned space, such as a utility closet in the living room, it pulls air from inside your home to mix with the gas burners, fueling the combustion process. What isn’t used for heat is exhausted to the outside through the flue vent.
For every cubic foot of air used for combustion, another cubic foot of air has to replace it. That air comes from outside. Cold, dry, outside air is being pulled into your home through gaps in doors and windows and other openings.
That’s how your furnace saps the moisture out of your indoor air.
So, what’s the solution?
How to Maintain Adequate Indoor Humidity in Winter
Dry winter air is more than irritating; it can make you more susceptible to airborne viruses. Dry nasal passages can’t protect you from illness as well. To keep yourself healthy this winter, you’ll need to keep your indoor humidity in balance. Here are several options to consider:
Upgrade to a sealed combustion furnace: A conventional furnace has atmospheric combustion. That means it utilizes air inside your home to fuel the combustion process. In contrast, a furnace with a sealed combustion chamber draws in air from outside through an inlet pipe. The combustion chamber, where all the burning action occurs, is sealed off from the rest of the house. It’s creating the warmth you need without tampering without compromising your indoor air quality.
Seal your house: Make your home more airtight by sealing windows and doors with weatherstripping. This will keep cold, dry air outside where it belongs.
Relocate the furnace: If you’re remodeling your home, consider putting your furnace in an attic or basement where it’s not drawing air from a livable space. You might also explore the possibility of placing it inside a sealed combustion closet, where it’s sealed off from the rest of your house.
Seal or replace your ducts: As much as 30% of conditioned air is lost through leaks, holes, or loose connections in your ducts. Not only that, your ducts are drawing in cold, dry air from your attic or crawl space and distributing it throughout your house.
Install a whole-house humidifier: Your indoor humidity levels should be between 30 and 50%. A whole-house humidifier will keep humidity in range by working in conduction with your central heating system. The added moisture will make your home feel warmer, too, so you can lower your thermostat several degrees to save energy.
Turn to Air Treatment Company for All Your Heating Needs
Maybe the loss of indoor humidity is a small price to pay for a comfortable temperature. But you don’t need to sacrifice one for the other. The heating and indoor air quality professionals at Air Treatment Company can evaluate your home to help you determine the best options to improve your comfort and protect your health. To schedule an appointment, call (703) 270-0881.