Autumn is a beautiful time of year. The colorful leaves, the brisk, clean air and the spiced cider are all welcome signs that the hot, dry summer is over. The cooler temperatures bring on the question of when to turn up the heat. As warm and comforting as that feels, it also brings about a few common complaints with low humidity—sore throats, dry cough, dry skin, and dry nasal passages to name a few. Some people attribute this to a seasonal allergy when in reality it is just the dry air of the furnace that creates these symptoms.
How can you naturally raise the level of humidity in your home without making it too humid and risking the growth of mold?
Get yourself a few houseplants and place them around your home. In addition to adding air-purifying aesthetic appeal, plants naturally release moisture through a process called transpiration in which the pores on the underside of leaves essentially sweat. However, many types of houseplants require high levels of humidity to thrive (many folks actually place humidifiers near sickly looking plants), so make sure to water and mist your indoor greenery regularly. One specific plant with top-notch air purifying and humidifying capabilities to consider is the Boston fern. And you needn´t add too many, a few houseplants placed in clusters should be enough.
Vessels of Water
If you have a fireplace that heats a certain area of the room, or if you have an old fashioned radiator, or any other heat source, place a dish of water close to the heat source. Although it may sound simple, the science behind this method isn´t exactly rocket science: The heat evaporates the water that, in turn, adds a fair amount of moisture to the air. You certainly won´t steam up the living room windows, but it can make a sizeable difference.
Air Dry Your Clothes
While you may not want to totally eliminate the use of your dryer, any larger piece of clothing that is air dried will add considerable moisture to the air, and you won´t be losing any moisture while running the dryer.
A simple trick to encourage additional humidity in the house is to just leave your bathroom door open while you shower. No need to take an extended one, the vapors will quickly move beyond the small room into the larger area.
Don´t Drain the Bath
If you choose to take a bath instead of a shower, don´t drain the bath water immediately after you have finished. Let it evaporate! The large surface area of the water can provide a lot of precious moisture in your home but slowly.
Leave the Dishwasher Door Open
Don´t use the drying cycle. Leave the dishwasher door open instead to let the steam flow into your home. Air drying your dishes lowers your energy bill and humidifies your home for free.
Simmer Scented Water
In addition to getting some steam in the air, simmering scented water on the cooktop with essential oils will create a fragrance that will warm your senses as well.
They not only help you save money on groceries, but when you fill them with water, plug them in and keep the lids off, they help fight dry indoor air. Boiling water on the stove produces more steam in a shorter time but over time crock pots have proven helpful to many people. Just refill the water daily.
Seal Up Those Leaks
Instead of keeping your house extra warm (and dry), consider sealing up the cracks, using weather strip and caulking the leaks and then grab a sweater and get in front of the cook top and create a nice, healthy pot of soup. Not only will the sweater and the soup warm you up, but the warmth of the burners will feel awesome as well.
Vases With (or Without) Flowers
Vases with flowers add to the atmosphere in several ways. Flowers smell nice, look great, and the water aids the relative humidity. Grocery stores offer inexpensive bouquets or you can pick flowers from your yard or out in the wild. Place several vases and spread around the house.
Don´t like flowers? Some big tree branches can look great in the home too. Make sure to keep them out if you are allergic to trees pollen, a common allergy trigger.
Or just add vases with only water. They match your interior better than cooking pots and pans.
If all else fails, you can install a whole house humidifier beside your furnace. But don´t set it any higher than 40. A little humidity is all you need to keep the alligator skin away. Enjoy this new season and keep your sinuses happy! Happy humidifying!