Stop low humidity that can damage household items

| by Patrick Nielsen
Stop low humidity that can damage household items

During winter, dry air can lead to itchy skin and scratchy throats. It can also cause problems with common household items. Relative humidity levels can drop to as low as 10% in the winter months, which is as dry as the Sahara Desert.

If humidity levels are too low, household objects from wood furniture to artwork can be damaged over time as moisture is pulled from wood, paper and other porous materials.

Whole house ventilation can help maintain relative humidity levels in the optimal range of 40 to 60 percent to mitigate these effects.

Here are a few of the household items are most impacted by low relative humidity:

Wood Furniture: Wood absorbs and desorbs water as relative humidity changes, which causes it to swell and shrink. Joints in wood furniture joints can become loose or may even pull apart.

Musical Instruments: Natural wood instruments such as guitars, violins and pianos can be damaged when the wood contracts, resulting in failed glue joints or cracks.

Woodwork and Wood Floors: As the wood expands and contracts, mitered corners can separate and floors can "cup" so that the floor doesn't remain flat.

Wine: Wine corks dry out, shrink and crack if exposed to low humidity over time, allowing air to come into contact with the wine and potentially ruin the bottle.

Artwork: Artwork is particularly vulnerable to humidity. Low moisture levels tend to make paint brittle and prone to cracking, which is especially damaging to oil paintings on canvas.

Walls: Peeling wallpaper and separated drywall seams can be a sign of low humidity in the home.

Electronic Equipment: Static electricity resulting from low humidity levels can damage internal components of computers, televisions and other electronics.

Running a humidifier in your home can help maintain relative indoor humidity levels in the optimal 40 to 60 percent range. Whole-home ventilation systems such as energy recovery ventilators and heat recovery ventilators can also help manage the moisture levels in a home. You don't have to suffer with dry skin, warping floor, or heaven forbid, a ruined bottle of wine.

Read more about ventilation products here.

Topics: Indoor Air Quality, Ventilation

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