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Static Electricity: What Those Shocks Are Telling You About Indoor Air Quality

girl with static hair

Zap, zap, zap. Does anyone like static electricity?

Your locks are flying about like Einstein’s on an especially bad hair day.

Every time you touch a doorknob, you get zinged again.

Your clothes won’t leave you alone...literally.

But static electricity has a more important message to deliver than just wardrobe malfunctions or tactile discomfort. When static electricity is on the rise inside your space, this also means humidity is on the decline.

Along with drier indoor air comes a whole host of indoor air quality issues that can affect your health and home safety. Find out what to do to stop the shocks and keep your family safe.

What Dry Indoor Air Can Do to Your Health

Though winter storms may sometimes temporarily elevate humidity levels, for the most part, winter here in Canada tends to fluctuate between dry, drier and driest.

Everything gets parched both inside and outside. When you combine overly dry air with constant indoor heating, this becomes a recipe for all sorts of health symptoms.

These are among the most common patient-reported symptoms associated with very dry air:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Irritated nasal passages and respiratory symptoms
  • Increase in seasonal bronchitis, colds and flu
  • Dry, cracked, irritated skin
  • Eczema and acne breakouts
  • Constant chills no matter how much you turn your thermostat up
  • Increase in allergies and asthma symptoms

What Dry Indoor Air Can Do to Your Home

It is bad enough to suffer through yet another super-dry winter with chapped lips, cracked skin, chronic cough and constant chills.

But what can make you feel even worse is when your home starts to show the telltale signs of being too dry inside too.

If you have natural wood furnishings and flooring, these are often the first to succumb to cracking as the wood dries out and becomes increasingly fragile.

Musical instruments will become harder to keep in tune.

Paper-based artwork, books and furnishings can also start to grow brittle and warp.

But the most concerning issue by far is the static electricity we mentioned here earlier. That uncomfortable zap actually represents a potent micro-electric charge – one that is perfectly capable of igniting any nearby flammable matter under the right set of circumstances.

So when you start getting zapped repeatedly in your home, it’s time to take corrective action to avoid a home fire risk.

Optimal Humidity Range for Human and Home Health

In the winter, sometimes humidity levels can drop to as low as 15 or even 10 percent. This is far below the optimal U.S. Department of Energy-recommended indoor humidity range of 30 to 50 percent.

When your indoor air stays between 30 and 50 percent humidity on a consistent, year-round basis, the majority of the health and home safety issues we just highlighted will decrease or cease.

You will feel better. Your home will look better. You won’t have to worry nearly so much about a seasonal home fire.

How a Whole-Home Humidifier Can Help

Installing a central (whole home) humidifier may sound like a daunting prospect, but in fact it is far easier than most homeowners think.

In fact, other than selecting the model of central humidifier you want, we will do all the heavy lifting – literally!

There are two types of whole-home humidification systems: bypass flow-through humidifiers and steam humidifiers.

Bypass flow-through humidifier

A central (whole home) bypass flow-through humidifier connects to your home’s central HVAC system and works with your furnace and air conditioner to continually balance the humidity levels inside your home.

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