Should I turn my humidifier off in the summer?
Humidifiers are mostly associated with the dry months of winter. But anytime you are experiencing low humidity, regardless of whether it be winter, spring, or summer, a humidifier can add the necessary moisture back into the air to alleviate the problems they can be caused by low humidity.
Low humidity symptoms
When the air is excessively dry there are plenty of telltale signs.
- Dry and cracking skin
- Bloody noses
- Dry throat
- Cold symptoms
- Static electricity
- lowered immunity
Are just a few things that you can experience when the relative humidity drops below 40%.
It is late April in Texas at the time that this article is being written.
So far in the city that I live in, there has been one afternoon that had a decent shower.
The air has been so dry that we are constantly shocking each other because of the level of static electricity.
Combined with the dust and the wind, the lack of moisture is not only makes it hard to make a yard look green,
It’s also been the source of constant congestion, bloody noses, and sore throats around here.
And mind you this time last year, there was so much rain that condensation was pouring out of the air conditioners.
It makes the point that even though the humidifier usually gets ran more in the dead of winter, when the doors are shut and the heater is blasting,
That’s not always the case, and this year even though it is the middle of spring, we are still having to run the humidifier constantly.
But that’s in Texas.
The Eastern side of the United States has been pounded with snow and record rainfall for a couple of months now.
Humidifiers or not specific to any season. But yes they are typically more useful in the winter, there are times in the summer when the humidifier can alleviate the symptoms of dry air too.
Refrigerated air conditioning is one of the common sources of dry air in the Summer. It is because the AC condenses and extracts the humidity in the air as a byproduct of exchanging and cooling the air.
An air conditioner can remove up to 20 gallons of water out of the air.
But there are times when the temperature is very hot outside and yet the humidity is relatively low.
But you still turn the air conditioner on to cool the air. Unfortunately there’s no way to run a refrigerated air conditioner without it dehumidifying as part of the process.
So you can definitely reach a point where the air conditioner is drawing out too much moisture from the air and leaving your indoor air bone dry.
And the symptoms that you mostly associate with winter like chapped lips, bloody noses, headaches and dry throat all come cropping up right in the middle of Summer.
The lack of moisture in the house can also cause airborne allergens like pollen and mold spores to have free rein to travel throughout your house where they can be inhaled and make your homestead a sneezing fest.
Not to mention the fatigue and headaches that can come along with indoor allergies.
That’s when running a humidifier in the summer actually makes sense.
Because regardless of the time of year, the role of humidity should be kept between 40 and 60% to avoid health problems that are associated with humidity.
The dry air caused by a central heat and air system not only can cause physical symptoms in your body, it can dry out wood in your house.
Going from a hot day with little humidity one day to a hot and humid day the next day can mess with all kinds of things in the house.
The guitar you left sitting tuned on the stand, will be drastically out of tune when you pick it up the next day.
The wallpaper might start peeling and the windows and doors will swell and be a pain to open.
So how do you know what the relative humidity in your house is?
The best way to know your actual humidity level is to measure it with a hygrometer. Hygrometers usually come coupled with a thermostat and are fairly inexpensive. Under $20.
But well worth the money to be able to keep tabs on the relative humidity level inside of your house. Especially when you’re going from extreme to extreme in the summertime.
Should you turn off the humidifier in summer?
Humidifiers are definitely known for being winter appliances. And winter is when we typically experience lower humidity outdoors and indoors.
But winter is not necessarily dry all season long, and by the same standard, summer is not necessarily humid All summer Long.
Spring and summer can be very dry months. Some regions are naturally dryer and sometimes Summer is just dry wherever you are.
And another aspect of Summer that can create excessively dry air, is the refrigerated air conditioning systems that dehumidify as they cool the air.
As a result of running these systems, the indoor air can become very dry and cause low humidity symptoms like chapped lips and dry throat as well as allergies.
Which in turn makes running a humidifier inside of the house in the summertime a necessity sometimes.
The bottom line is that a humidifier is useful anytime of the year when the relative humidity has dipped under the 40% range.
Humidifiers may not be needed nearly as much in the summer, but they are still useful.