Are your clothes clingy in all the wrong ways this winter? Are allergies worse than usual? Kids taking far too much pleasure in zapping each other with a well-placed static electricity discharge? A dry house is probably to blame. During the winter months, low humidity becomes an issue in many homes, leading to these problems and others, including nosebleeds, dry skin and increased susceptibility to colds and flus.
Although humidifiers are often an easy fix, they can be costly to purchase and running them day and night can send an already high winter energy bill soaring even higher. I’m forgoing the expense of a humidifier this year as I explore other solutions.
Before investing in an expensive humidifier to resolve dry air concerns, consider these green and low-effort strategies for adding moisture to the air in your home.
Transpiration is the process by which moisture evaporates from the leaves and stems of plants, adding much needed humidity to the air in your home. A dry home can be tough on houseplants as the battle for humidity wages, so be sure to keep them well watered.
Vases in sunny places.
Place water-filled vases on sunny window sills. The sunshine will slowly evaporate the water, releasing moisture into the air.
Increase your stovetop cooking to take advantage of incidental moisture release. Switching to a teakettle instead of relying on the microwave to heat your morning cup goes a long way.
Leave the door open when showering.
When taking a nice, steamy shower, leaving the door open is an easy way to add a little extra moisture to the air in surrounding areas. If baths are more your bag, don’t drain the tub when you get out. Instead, wait for the water to cool first to take advantage of the residual heat to add a little humidity to the air.
Bowls of water on registers.
This is probably the most effective of these humidity-boosting tips. Place metal or ceramic bowls full of water on heat registers or radiators to push humidity into the air. You may be surprised by how much water is released during cold months when the furnace is going full tilt.
Clothes drying racks.
Use a rack to dry clothes at room temperature instead of tossing them in the dryer. It takes a little longer, but the moisture released into the house by drying clothes is an effective way to give the humidity in your home a much needed boost.