As well as temperature and air purity, another major factor in the maintenance of a healthy room atmo-sphere is the moisture content of the air. During winter months when rooms are heated, indoor air can dry out, sucking moisture from our skin, hair, mucous membranes in the throat and nose, furniture, plants, animals and anything else in the room.
Opening the windows will not help to avoid dry room air. Instead, it is necessary to actively add the correct amount of moisture to the air with a humidifier. Medical experts recommend a healthy relative air humidity of between 40-60 per cent for the home. At this level, the moisture content of the air will be equilibrium at the temperature of the typical indoor environment.
Effects of dry air in the home
Discomfort, tiredness, sickness_Breathing in dry air makes the uptake of oxygen and its subsequent transfer to the blood system more difficult. Fatigue, lethargy and reduced concentration levels are symptoms of a reduced oxygen supply.
Increased susceptibility to colds_The self-cleansing function of the windpipe is affected by dry air. The consequences : increased susceptibility to infections and respiratory tract complaints.
Dry skin_Low relative humidity results in greater loss of moisture from the skin's outer layers. It becomes dry, rough and flaky, and has a tendency to become inflamed.
Increased levels of dust_Humidity binds dust. Dry room air causes dust to rise. This is made worse by the thermal currents created by the radiators.
Damage to hair_Hair can easily dry out when heating systems are turned on making it more susceptible to damage like split-ends, less manageable and generally duller and less attractive.
Increased static electricity_A level of humidity below 40% will increase static build-up leading to uncomfortable sparks when touching metal objects.
Damage to wooden objects_Furniture and other wooden objects have a dull surface in dry room air.They dry out and eventually cracks will appear.
Out of tune musical instruments_Low moisture content in room air will cause musical instruments to go out of tune.
Discomfort to pets_Pets will suffer in the same way as humans, with dry skin an increased susceptibility to infection. This will be worse in animals that are originally from a humid environment, like parrots, and they can become very ill in a dry environment.