Dry Indoor Air

Dry air in overheated indoor spaces present an important stress factor for our airways as it dries out our mucous membranes and such inhibits our immune response. This causes an increase in airway infections, dry and itchy nose and nose bleeds. The best way to avoid dry mucous membranes is to improve the air quality in rooms by achieving optimal humidity levels.

Naturally, humidity levels in kitchen and bath rooms are sightly higher and can even increase further during cooking and showering. This is no problem, as long as such increased levels are not permanent.

Typically, air in living spaces during the heating period is too dry. Increased airing could be counterproductive as it might bring in cold outdoor air which is a bad humidity carrier.

Easy ways to increase humidity levels in the winter are

  • Reduce the room temperate according to the table at the beginning
  • Allow water to evaporate by drying laundry in living spaces
  • Bring water to a boil without a lid on
  • Use the high humidity levels after bathing or showering and open the bathroom door and not the windows, so that humidity can move into other rooms
  • Hang a container on the radiators, so that the water can evaporate (keep in mind that the water in the container must be exchanged regularly to avoid germ growth, the same problem as with electrical humidifiers)
  • Buy hydroponic plants to increase humidity levels. When buying regular plants, keep in mind that only plants that need a lot of water are able to release vapour, like umbrella palm, or other papyrus plants. Spider plants are also helpful.

During the winter, airing should be shorter than during the summer to prevent a drop in room temperature and in humidity levels. The most effective approach is

  • to open windows completely
  • to air for five to maximum 10 minutes
  • to open windows on the opposite side of a room, a home or an office to achieve ideal air circulation
  • to do this process, in German called “Stosslüften”, 3 times daily, ideally the first time early in the morning and the last time just before going to bed

Posted on January 16, 2016 by Luitgard Holzleg

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