If you have a breathing difficulty and it becomes worse in our very cold winter, check out your home humidity. It did not take long for us to realize that the decreased humidity in our home was the cause of increased breathing difficulty this winter. With outside temperatures all this week with highs in minus degrees, inside home air humidity has dropped to below acceptable levels. To help you breath easier the ideal humidity recommended is between 30 - 50% but every home and person is different.
The relative humidity, meanwhile, plays a determining role in the quality of your indoor air. Health Canada recommends keeping the humidity above 30% in winter and making sure it doesn’t exceed 55% in summer (ideally, it should be somewhere between those percent values at all times).
~ Healthy Home Guide (Quebec)
When outside air temperatures are constantly below zero, as it is at the time of writing in mid February, if someone in your home has breathing difficulties or lung issues, including coughing & increased phlegm, etc. it is a good idea to check the humidity.
TEST STATISTICS : @ 9.00 am
* Outside temperature = Minus 9 degrees celsius & Outside Humidity @ 30%
*Inside Office = 36% Humidity. Using Humidifier, humidity was 40% in less than 45 minutes
*Inside Kitchen / Living / Family rooms = 35% Humidity. Using boiling water (with lemon) the humidity was 44% in half an hour.
Here's a few easy tips to increase home humidity:
1. Buy a Simple Humidifier
As a trial, we purchased a very reasonable, small and extremely quiet humidifier. Initially this was to be used in a small bedroom to increase humidity levels to the 40% + range for easier breathing. The small humidifier raised the humidity in the room to low 40% range within an hour. It is easy to move to another room if needed.
2. Boil Fresh Lemons in Water
An all time favourite tip to add humidity to a large part of the home is to boil a pot of water on the stove for an hour. Add a few lemon peels, which are easy to keep frozen for this purpose. Keeping an eye on the hygrometer; in our home, the level came up to an acceptable 44% inside the kitchen / living area within half an hour. Lemons also add a lovely fresh fragrance throughout the house. Turn the heat off when the humidity is comfortable and simply start to boil / simmer if levels drop again.
3. Inside Plants & Home Humidity
This really is #1 as we have many plants throughout our home all year. My own home experiment: When the humidity had dropped below our desired level, a small Peace Lily was placed on a bedside table with the hygrometer gauge next to the plant. It was surprising that the gauge increased to an acceptable level within a short period of time with humidity increasing by 4%.
You may be interested to know that some plants can also remove toxins such as formaldahyde from your home. Most amazing is that a high percentage can be removed in a very short period of time. Information Link: Science Daily, American Society for Horticultural Science. Indoor plants can reduce formaldehyde levels These same plants also help with increasing air humidity:
- English Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum elatum)
- Pothos plant or Devil's Ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum 'Mauna Loa')
- Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
This & That:
- Our very first purchase was our small Digital Hygrometer which provides us with as much information as we need. We were gifted an Outdoor humidity / temperature + date, time, weather trends gauge, which is also very handy
- The Common Flu: According to this news article, research shows increasing indoor humidity can also protect against flu
- For more serious breathing difficulties you may wish to look into a larger / built in home humidity control system
These suggested solutions to increase your home humidity, should not be labour intensive or expensive. I hope that one, or all 3 suggestions, help with regulating your home's humidity in winter. Also remind yourself that what works for others, may not work for you, or vice versa. It was worth a try for us and we are happy to use a combination of all three solutions for now. All the best ~ Liz
Links & References :
- Lots more information on humidifiers & de-humidifiers from Mayo Clinic
- "Smoking and Lung Cancer" (2018) Caramel and Parsley
- CAP "Changes After Cancer - Health & Laughter" (2018)
- 18 Special Gifts from CaramelParsley (2015)
- See NASA article (1989) "Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement"