Here’s How to Achieve the Ideal Home Humidity Level

Winter is upon us in much of the world, bringing with it frustratingly dry and static air. Luckily, there’s a simple solution: install a humidifier.

Whether you choose single-room units or a whole-home system, humidifiers increase the moisture content of the air, making the room feel warmer and your skin more hydrated.

To further break down the benefits of humidifiers — and explain how to get the most out of yours — we turned to YORK® Product Manager Catherine McMurray and Dan DiClerico, Director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

Here’s what they had to say about finding the perfect option for your space.

there is an ideal humidity for health and comfort

Your home’s temperature and comfort level are directly affected by humidity — and while the perfect level ultimately comes down to personal preference, it’s typically between 30% and 50%, advises McMurray. As a reference, she adds: “The average humidity in the Sahara is 25%, while the average in the Amazon rainforest is 85%.”

Finding the right balance isn’t just about making your home more comfortable. Health aspects must also be taken into account. “If the humidity in your home is too high, it can lead to mold growth and other allergens,” says DiClerico. “Conversely, air that is too dry can lead to itchy eyes, a sore throat and cracked skin.”

Insufficient humidity can also leave you feeling cold, tempting you to turn the thermostat higher than necessary – and leading to higher heating bills.

Not all humidifiers are the same

If the word “humidifier” makes you think of small, portable devices, you may be missing out on the benefits of more powerful options like those from YORK®, which can help maintain comfortable humidity levels throughout the home.

“YORK® whole-home humidifiers plug into the home’s existing HVAC system and add moisture to the air as needed,” says DiClerico. “These systems are great because they air condition the entire house, not just one room or area.”

If you are unsure if your home is compatible with this type of unit, know that YORK® offers a few different options that will work in both older and newer homes. “That Bypass humidifier for the whole house relies on the stove’s fan motor to draw moisture into the home and requires the installation of a bypass duct,” explains McMurray. “This type of humidifier requires the furnace to be running in order to function.”

That Fan-powered humidifier for the whole house The furnace also needs to be running to draw moisture into the home, but it has a higher humidification capacity due to the increased airflow from the built-in fan and will work with your home’s existing HVAC system ducts.

If your house doesn’t have a stove, McMurray suggests one Large capacity steam humidifier for the whole house. “These can be installed to either discharge directly into a room or to rely on an air handling fan to force the humidified air through the home,” she says. Because it has its own heating element, this model does not depend on the heat of an oven or a hot water connection.

Bonus: All three of these powerful systems come with a 5-year limited parts warranty to ensure years of durability – and they’re backed by the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

It’s not just about moisture; Air quality also plays a role

In addition to installing an effective humidifier, you may want to invest in one Energy recovery fan. Often referred to as ERVs, these fresh air exchange systems control the transfer of heat and moisture between incoming and outgoing airflows. This helps maintain optimal humidity levels year-round while improving indoor air quality.

“Modern homes have tighter seals, which is great for efficiency, but can lead to stale air and increased indoor air pollution,” explains McMurray. “[Having] An ERV is like opening a window, except you don’t have to wait for the perfect fall day to do it.”

This system removes stale, contaminated indoor air and replaces it with fresh, conditioned and filtered outdoor air for maximum comfort and improved health.

Bottom Line: Upgrading your home with a whole-house humidifier and fresh air system will help you achieve maximum comfort, health, and efficiency not just during the winter months, but year-round.

Bypass humidifier for the whole house
York Whole Home Bypass Humidifier
18 GPD Fan-powered humidifier for the whole house
York 18 GPD Whole Home Fan Humidifier
steam humidifier
Energy recovery fan
York energy recovery fan

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