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Dry Floors? Humidify!

Around 90% of the world’s population experience seasonal changes between spring, summer, fall, and winter. That’s because most people live in the northern hemisphere, where moisture changes – and dry floors – are common.

As the outdoor temperature drops, the air cannot retain as much moisture.

This loss of moisture or relative humidity (RH) can be a concern for those with natural wood flooring.

But, it is preventable! Find out how to address seasonal moisture issues before problems occur.

Why Low Humidity Causes Dry Floors

Even before installing the floor, humidity is a factor. RH needs to be at normal living conditions during installation. Otherwise, improper acclimation and other issues result.

The National Wood Flooring Association recommends keeping inside RH levels always between 35-55% and the temperature between 60-80 degrees.

Post-installation, keep a whole-home humidifier running in the winter to minimize gaps.

Prevent these issues with an in-house humidifier that is operating before, during, and after installing wood floors.

This is especially crucial for areas that experience more than a month of below freezing temperatures.

What to Look for in a Humidifier

Here’s a short list of features to consider before you buy:

  • Furnace mounted humidifier
  • Blower-fan control
  • Outdoor thermostat connected to the unit
  • Hot water supply line option

Furnace Mounted Humidifier

Stand-alone room units need to be filled often, and may not be enough to do the job. Also, they are prone to leaking when refilled. Opting for a furnace mounted humidifier ensures your entire home has sufficient humidity.

Humidifier with Blower-Fan Control

A humidifier that only runs when the HVAC calls for heat can lead to insufficient RH levels. This is the case when the furnace turns off during the warmer time of day.  When it’s off, the humidifier is as well, causing dry floors.

To fix this, choose a humidifier with blower control. A constant circulation of humidity throughout the home ensures your RH remains stable.

Outdoor Thermostat Connected to the Unit

When temperatures rise above freezing, you’ll want to adjust the amount of humidity. Look for a unit that can be programed to adjust automatically. Installing an exterior thermostat safeguards your home in sustaining ideal conditions.

Connected to Hot Water Supply

Hot water evaporates much more rapidly than cold water. Paired with the blower control, a hot water supply increases the amount of moisture being delivered.

Which Humidifier Should I Buy?

An efficient in-home humidifier delivers the desired RH to your home and floors in wintertime cold.  Discuss these four key features with your HVAC contractor.

Aprilaire is our recommended brand for whole home humidification. Humidifiers are also a great way to remove allergens and clean the air.

Learn more about the different types and models of humidifiers here.

Other brands, such as Idylis, Lennox, and Honeywell, are available at big box retail stores.

Don’t forget a hygrometer!

As essential as a humidifier, a hygrometer measures the moisture level (humidity) in the air.  Additionally, it confirms your humidifier is delivering the correct levels of moist air.

Hygrometers are like thermometers and come in all shapes and sizes. While most modern HVAC control panels have a humidity sensor, they only measures RH at the panel.

Even better: place extra hygrometers in other rooms, especially in those farther from the central thermostat. These will help confirm the humidifier is working throughout your home.

These are available from stores like Home Depot, Walmart, Lowe’s, or Amazon. The best brands are Accurite, Wagner Meters, Lignomat, and Thermopro.

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