Winter, especially for us in Columbus and Central Ohio, is the time when the sun disappears too soon in the evening, and the air takes on a bitter edge. Part of what makes cold air feel that way is a drop in humidity. For example: If the outdoor relative humidity (RH) is 70%, the outdoor temperature is 10°F, and indoor air is heated to 70°F, the indoor RH drops to 6%. To put this in perspective, the Sahara Desert averages 23% humidity.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you keep the humidity in your home between 30 and 50 percent.
Cold, dry air feels colder than cold, humid air. So it’s no wonder you wear wool socks and stoke the fireplace for warmth. Low humidity is more than uncomfortable; it’s a health hazard, and it’s slowly damaging interior woodwork, paint, and plaster.
Your furnace or heat pump can battle the low temperatures, but neither does anything about humidity. They need help from a humidifier that’s either ducted or stand-alone. It will inject needed moisture into the house.
This article will go over the many benefits of the Aprilaire 300 Self-Contained Evaporative Humidifier. By the end, you’ll know how this humidifier can help you stay healthy, improve your comfort level, protect your home against dry air, and maybe even save you money.
We at Fire & Ice have installed hundreds of whole-house humidifiers and can attest that homeowners feel the difference immediately, and often wonder why it took them so long to recognize the problem with dry air. Your home should be as clean and healthy as possible, and this humidifier goes a long way toward that.
Aprilaire 300 Self-Contained Evaporative Humidifier Benefits
- Ideal for homes heated with mini-splits, boilers, radiant heat, and other ductless systems. It can be used as a stand-alone unit, and also can be inserted into your existing ducts.
- Coverage up to 3,500 square feet with a capacity of 13 gallons per day.
- Digital control monitors help adjust the humidity. A sensor inside the humidistat measures the house’s relative humidity. Fans turn on automatically when the humidity drops below the set point.
- Aprilaire humidifiers can help you maintain optimal humidity in your home of 40% – 60%, which has been shown to reduce the incidence of respiratory infections and symptoms related to allergies and asthma by minimizing the formation of bacteria and viruses, fungi, and dust mites.
- You’ll feel more comfortable. Low humidity affects the temperature: too low, and your skin will dry out and you’ll feel colder. Increasing the humidity has health benefits and will increase the comfort level.
- It helps preserve items in your home susceptible to damage from dry conditions, including wood floors, electronics, and wooden musical instruments.
- Quiet operation – 49 decibels when installed with flex duct. (Normal conversation is about 60 dB.)
- Easy water panel replacement is accessible underneath the unit.
- Simple between- or below-joist installation for versatile placement.
Aprilaire 300 Humidifier Can Address Health Issues
Dry air and disease prevention
The upper part of your respiratory system, including your throat and nose, is lined with moist membranes. These membranes capture dirt, dust, viruses, and bacteria. When these membranes lose moisture to dry air, their ability to capture particles becomes compromised.
Proper humidity levels help these membranes do their job by preventing harmful particles from getting into the sensitive areas of your lungs. This includes viruses such as flu and COVID-19. The indoor relative humidity (RH) needs to be at least 35% to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. If you take steps to keep the right amount of moisture in your air, you can reduce your risk of illness.
Dry air isn’t good for your nose
In some individuals, low humidity levels can cause the inside of the nose to become dry and irritated. This is not only painful, it can cause nosebleeds. Properly humidified air helps keep the nasal passages healthy.
Low humidity harms your skin
Your skin is over half water. So when the air lacks humidity, your skin will start to dry out. This can cause itching, flaking, and tightness around the joints. It can also cause painful cracking of the skin and chapped lips. Overly dry air can also cause flare-ups of existing skin problems, including eczema and acne. Humidified air can help keep your skin feeling great during even the most miserable winter.
Asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory ailments
Asthma symptoms can be worsened by cold, dry air. When you’re in a very low humidity environment, the fluid that hydrates your bronchial tubes can evaporate. This can leave your airways vulnerable to irritation. In addition to asthma, the symptoms of bronchitis, sinusitis, and other respiratory illnesses can also worsen if you spend too much time in an environment with overly dry air.
If you’ve ever woken up in the night and found it difficult to swallow, it may not surprise you to learn that dry air can cause pain and inflammation in your throat.
Higher stress levels
According to research, spending prolonged periods in dry indoor air may increase your stress level. In a 2020 study, researchers monitored the heart rates and stress levels of workers in four separate buildings with varying levels of air humidity. The researchers found that those who worked in the buildings with drier air had heart rates that indicate a higher stress level. Those same participants also reported poorer sleep.
Spending long periods in dry air can deplete your body’s fluid levels.
Increasing the amount of moisture in the air can also reduce snoring. If the air is dry, a person’s airways are less likely to be sufficiently lubricated, which can make snoring worse.
Risk of infection
Clinical evidence indicates that dry air may increase your risk of getting the flu, a cold, or even pneumonia. A 2016 study revealed a spike in deaths from flu and pneumonia following cold weather snaps. The authors of the study pointed to indoor heat as the culprit. Heated, dry air may prolong the life of viruses indoors.
Aprilaire 300 Humidifier Protects Your House
When the air is too dry, static electricity begins to build up. Touching a computer or other electronic device could damage the unit.
Damage to woodwork
Dry air absorbs moisture. This means that during cold winter weather, dry air can start to pull moisture from the structure of your home. As your house dries out, you’ll notice that floors - particularly hardwood floors - will begin to shrink and creak more.
Dry air can also pull moisture from the wood in the frame of your home, causing walls and door jambs to shift. This can make doors hard to open and close and cause gaps between ceilings and walls. These gaps can also form in wooden window frames. This lets in winter air, thereby increasing your heating bill.
Damage to your furnishings
As the air in your home becomes drier, it can start to damage not only your home but the things in it. Wood furniture can start to bend and even crack. Musical instruments made of wood can lose their shape. Even paper items such as books and artwork can become brittle and wrinkled.
Damage to interior walls
In dry homes, the wallpaper and paint suffer, sometimes to the point of peeling.
Happier house plants
Virtually all indoor houseplants thrive in humid air. To keep them happy and healthy, they need more than 23% relative humidity.
Versatility of the Aprilaire 300 Humidifier
An Aprilaire300 can be used in ductless homes as well as homes that have radiant heat or boilers. They can be installed in the basement, crawl spaces, and closets. They can also be part of your ductwork or can be installed separately from forced air systems.
It saves energy and money. Humid air feels warmer than dry air. For example, compare how 90 degrees feels in Arizona versus 90 degrees in Florida. Florida will feel warmer. And if you feel warmer, you’ll be more inclined to lower the thermometer a couple of degrees, saving energy and money. The savings could add up to approximately 12% a year to your HVAC bill. The Aprilaire 300 can pay for itself in about five years.
The most important benefit you will receive from a whole-house humidifier is making your home’s environment less conducive to cold and flu germs. The abundance of colds in the winter season is due more to the dry air indoors, where airborne viruses thrive, than the cold weather. Humidifiers can also help alleviate symptoms of COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Depending on where you live, the weather may have an impact on when the air in your home feels dry. For example, if you live somewhere with high levels of outdoor humidity, you probably run your air conditioner a lot in the summer. Air conditioning tends to dry out your home’s air. Using a humidifier can help counteract this. If you live somewhere with dry air, such as the Southwest U.S., a humidifier might be good to use year-round.
Since pollen and mold counts tend to be higher in the spring and summer, using a whole-house humidifier in your home may also help keep your sinuses from becoming inflamed. Allergy sufferers in your home will get relief.
What Is the Price of the Aprilaire 300 Humidifier?
The Aprilaire 300 Self-Contained Evaporative Humidifier costs about $2000. This price includes installation.
Take the Next Steps Toward Comfort in Columbus, Ohio
Homeowners tend to spend a lot of time worrying about the indoor temperature, and not enough about humidity. But they go hand in hand in terms of comfort.
We understand that the Aprilaire 300 Self-Contained Evaporative Humidifier isn’t for everyone. If you’d like to compare models, here is a listing of other Aprilaire humidifiers.
And if you want to learn more about humidifiers, the following articles might help:
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