10 ways to combat the dry winter air

Winter’s cold plus cranked up indoor heating systems results in dry air throughout your house.

RELATED: 10 ways to prepare your home for winter

If your health and home are feeling the damage caused by dry air, here are 10 things you can do to help.

1. Work on your green thumb

In winter, combat poor indoor air quality by cultivating some of nature’s own air purifiers – plants.

Several hardy species have been scientifically proven to remove impurities from the air. And that’s in addition to the green coloring that makes a welcome contrast to a winter landscape.

2. Use a humidifier

Turning on the heat dries out the air. Dryer air feels cooler than moist, so the heat gets turned up more. This withering cycle can be helped by a one-room or whole-house humidifier, which pumps moisture into the air.

3. DIY humidifiers

You don’t necessarily have to go buy a humidifier – you can create your own. Leaving out containers full of water near heat sources or vents will help the water evaporate into the air, creating humidity.

You can also put water-filled vases on sunny window sills, letting the sun evaporate the water for you.

4. Don’t use the oven

Ovens – and microwave ovens — can dry out the air in a kitchen.

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Cooking on a stovetop, on the other hand, can add water to the air. This is an example of every little bit helping to keep water in the air during the winter months. It might not seem like a lot, but it helps.

5. Air dry the dishes

Another small, yet helpful step to increase the moisture in the air is let your dishes air dry.

At the end of the dishwasher’s rinse cycle, open the door and pull out the rack to let them air dry. The evaporating water will contribute to the health of your home.

6. Leave the door open when showering

While you’re warming up in the shower, leaving the door open can add a little moisture to the air in the areas around the bathroom.

This can also work if taking a bath – letting the hot water cool to room temperature before draining will let some of it evaporate into the air. Use the bathroom fan to help push humid air outside the bathroom.

7. Dry clothes on racks

It will take longer than putting them in the dryer, but drying clothes on a rack will both get your clothes clean and release water into the air.

Dryers work on heated air, so this will both take away that negative and add a positive to your home’s humidity.

8. Seal the leaks

Dry air conditions are often started by cold air entering your home. It heats up, which leads to a drop in relative humidity.

Ergo, air sealing, caulking and installing weather strips are among the most efficient way to maintain healthy, comfortable relative humidity levels in your house. Stop those dry air conditions before they start.

9. Turn down the heat

Cranking up the heat seems like a simple solution, but it’s not the healthiest one.

Wearing a thick sweater instead is greener and healthier. The more artificial heat you use, the drier your indoor air will become. So that sweater will make you feel warm, cozy and more efficient.

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10. Vent your electric clothes dryer inside

This only works for electric dryers, not gas, but it can help. A simple, relatively inexpensive kit lets you vent your electric dryer inside the home.

The kit catches the lint in a water-filled plastic cup while the exhaust blows the hot moist air from the clothes dryer inside your house, raising the humidity and the comfort level.

Joshua Trudell About the author:
Joshua Trudell is a freelance writer, photographer and graphic designer living in New Hampshire. Follow Joshua on Twitter and Facebook and check out his website.
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