Humidification Facts: Did You Know?
…air is the basic essential of life!
We draw 12,000 litres (over 3,000 gallons) of air into our lungs. We breathe in and out 20,000 times per day, yet we don’t spend much time in fresh forest air. On the contrary, we spend 90% of our time indoors. While we pay attention to our health when considering our diet, most of us are indifferent to the quality of the air that we’re breathing.
…the air in a busy city street is twenty times better than in your office!
We spend 90% of our time indoors where there’s up to 20 million particles in just 10 cubic feet of air. The consequences dry or impure air have on our health can be severe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies indoor air pollution as one of the five most dangerous environmental threats to our health. Air purification and humidification must play a key role in our efforts to obtain the optimum room climate for the protection of our health.
… the number of allergy sufferers rises dramatically as air pollution increases!
The German Allergy and Asthma Centre estimates that approximately 30% of children up to the age of 12 suffer from an allergy. One of the main causes is the increase in air pollution.
The air which we breathe is full of harmful substances, and conditions worsen everyday. House dust, mites, pollen, animal dander, tobacco smoke and other impurities encourage allergic reactions and respiratory diseases. Dry air increases the number of particles that circulate around the home. Therefore, properly humidified air prevents particles from travelling around the home.
Potential consequences of poorly humidified air include: headache, dizziness, irritated nasal passages, nausea, tightened respiratory track, allergies, asthma, lung damage, and skin irritation.
…you will perform best at humidity levels between 40% and 60%!
When room humidity is at an ideal level, we feel good. We are better able to concentrate and the number of errors and accidents is reduced dramatically.
Optimal hygiene for room air: Medical experts recommend a relative air humidity between 40%-60%. At these levels our senses tell us the air in the room is ideally humidified. This humidity level also is ideal for our health, for the animals and plants in the room, for furniture, musical instruments and much more.
… in his day, Stradivarius feared nothing more than dry air!
The world famous Italian violin maker knew it. Dry air was not only harmful to his health but also affected the quality of the instruments he was making, and we know it too.
Dry air also stresses household pets and house plants, encourages the formation of dust and the electrostatic charging of textiles made of synthetic fibres, carpets and plastic flooring, and damages wood furnishings and floors. Sensitive electronic equipment in some cases can be damaged beyond repair.
… opening the windows in winter does not humidify the air indoors!
Especially in winter, many people attempt to humidify the air by opening windows, but this instinct is wrong! Because cold outside air cannot hold much moisture, opening windows makes the room air even dryer, intensifying the problem.
Opening the window ensures a fresh supply of oxygen in the room. This is particularly important in winter. However, while the air streaming into the room in winter may be very fresh, it contains insufficient moisture to humidify warm room air. If moisture is not added to the air artificially, it will try to quench its thirst by taking the moisture from our skin, mucous membranes, plants, wooden furniture, etc. To maintain an acceptable level of air humidity during the cold season, we need to use a suitable air humidifier.
… preventive measures can help delay or avert the onset of an allergy!
With around 50% of children presenting an increased hereditary risk, preventive measures can influence the onset of an allergy. Apart from establishing the family’s allergy history and ensuring a good diet for the newborn baby and expectant mothers, preventive measures must also include the avoidance, elimination or reduction of environmental factors such as tobacco smoke, animal hairs, dust mites, spores and pollen.
… hay fever has little or nothing to do with hay!
Hay fever is based on a major misunderstanding of the human immune system. The allergy sufferer’s defense system protects against pollen, which, in theory, is neither dangerous nor harmful to the majority of people. In effect, the defense system makes a bad decision. It thinks that it is threatened and fights against the pollen with all available resources.
… today every third absence from the workplace is based on diseases of the respiratory tract!
Dry air causes the membranes in your respiratory system to dry out, and also causes chapped lips and stinging eyes, encourages infections and illnesses of the respiratory system, and induces weariness and poor concentration.
Dry air is a massive health risk for people. Besides feeling unwell, being tired and lacking concentration, the mucous membranes in the nose and respiratory tract are attacked, greatly increasing susceptibility to infection. Tests in nursery schools have shown that when humidifiers are used absences due to sickness are reduced by up to 40%.
… warm air is always thirsty and "looking for a drink"!
As the temperature of air increases so does its ability to hold water. The term relative humidity describes the amount of water vapour contained in a gaseous mixture of air and water. In other words, the percentage of relative humidity depends on the ratio of partial pressure of water vapour in this mixture to the saturated vapour pressure of water at a given temperature. To understand this concept more clearly, imagine that a fully saturated sponge has the volume capacity of 100% relative humidity (dew point). As an example then, we can say that at 32°F / 0°C the relative humidity is 69% (typical temperature and humidity in winter). If we increase the temperature to 74°F / 23°C the volume capacity of water decreases and the relative humidity falls to 15% (these are typical dry conditions in a heated room in winter).
Air equals life
A good humidifier helps you maintain your most important air purifier, your own body! When dry air dries out your eyes, nose and mucus membranes you are more susceptible to pollution in the air including viruses and bacteria.
Total Air Quality
Total air quality involves more then just cleaning the air. Proper humidification and low noise levels are essential factors in the overall air quality equation. Understanding how these factors effect your health and well being allow you to understand the importance of proper cleaning and humidifying of your indoor air.
Size of Harmful Airborne Particles
So what is more obvious than the use of an air purifier or air washer to improve room air, particularly those air purifiers fitted with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, originally developed for use in clinical settings. They can remove up to 99.97% of particles as small as 0.0003 mm from the air. When an active carbon filter is included, there is simultaneous removal of odours, fumes and noxious gases.
Air washers improve air quality using an effective combination of ionization and filtering. The ionization process charges harmful airborne particles, binding them into larger clusters. The air then passes through a system of discs that rotate through water; the particle clusters adhere to the wet discs and moisture is added to the air as it re-enters the room. This unique filtering combination not only cleans the air of particles as small as 1.5 microns, but properly humidifies it as well.
The Consequence of Dry Air: One Example
This professional work study correlates directly to the well being of healthy home living.
The Bona Building & Management Co., in Ottawa, ON, Canada, installed humidifiers in the three towers that make up the office and retail buildings known as Place Vanier. The beholding manager stated, "I've been here for eight to ten years, and if it's too dry, people will have symptoms where they can't tell what it is." Employees would complain about itchy eyes, dry skin, and head-aches, which he said all point to low humidity. Since the towers have installed humidification, "complaints have been reduced by 95%," he said.
Studies prove the importance of humidity; ASHRAE has published statistics provided by Theodore D. Sterling & Associates that claim humidity levels affect your health. When humidity drops below the optimum level of 50%, employees are more susceptible to respiratory infections, not to mention viruses and bacteria.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) investigations have found a connection between employee illness and humidity levels. When the relative humidity drops below 40%, more employees miss work due to illness.
> More: The Benefits of Humidification
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