Thursday, March 4, 2010

How to Stay Warm Save Money with a Humidifier!

Sealing up the air leaks in my home has been a strange double edged sword. On the plus side, I’m using less energy to keep the house warm in winter. On the negative side, even with the lower thermostat the furnace is drying out the air in our home. We’ve experienced static electricity, some drying and cracking woodwork, and skin so dry it hurts.Ow.

My scalp is so dry it feels like like the fabric I used to make my ironing board cover - on fire!

Not fun.

I had some reservations about buying a humidifier because if you don’t change the filter and clean the machine regularly they get slimy and may spew moldy ick into the air. I have allergies which makes moldy ick in the air more unpleasant for me. And quite honestly I didn’t want to keep running to the store to buy new filters for the thing. I just really like the idea of reusable filters now that we switched to a reusable furnace filter that I can clean anytime I get a slight sniffle due to a dirty furance filter. I like not running out when I need to change a filter. Even with careful planning it still happens from time to time. I also like the big bad bonus of sending one less thing to a landfill.

But the effects of dry air were making me miserable so I sucked it up, took your advice, and off we went to buy a humidifier. Irony of ironies, after Husband and I bundled up in our winter coats, drove through the slush and snow to Target to buy a humidifier and a couple of fleece pullovers for me to wear for my next Weather Channel 58 Degree Challenge interview, we were greeted with nothing but BBQ grills, summer shorts, and bikinis for sale. GAAAH!

We hopped next door to Lowes where they still had humidifiers for sale – two rows over from the summer BBQ grills.

I think the cosmos wants me to buy a new Bar B Que.

Fortunately, I found a humidifier that doesn’t use a disposable filter – the Idylis Ultrasonic Humidifier. It wasn’t the cheapest or smallest humidifier they had but it wasn’t the biggest or most expensive either. It uses cold steam, which was a concern because I didn’t want Blitzkrieg to be accidentally burned from a humidifier that uses warm steam. It’s also made from BPA free plastic. That wasn’t such a concern since we wanted to go with a cold steam humidifier but it is a very nice bonus.

Update 2/2013: My humidifier isn't available. The Honeywell Filter Free Warm Moisture Humidifier is similar to mine. You can find out more about it here.

We considered a unit that fits onto our heating ducts and works with our heater. They had one of those for $145 – not a bad price. The box said easy installation but my inner cranky two year old wanted immediate results because the skin on the back of my head felt like it was on fire. I didn’t have any doubt that I could install the unit onto our heating duct work but inner brat thought I would have to have to wait for someone to come in and run a water line in the utility room for the humidifier and did I mention my dry skin felt like it was on fire that day?

We’re going wait and see how the portable unit works out (so far so good) which means during our trail period, we move it from room to room. Then we’ll possibly upgrade to the heating duct unit during the summer when turning the furnace off for installation doesn’t make everyone's nose freeze off.Or we might buy a second portable unit and keep one humidifier upstairs and one downstairs.

Do you have any more tips on how to add humidity to dry indoor air? I'd love to hear them! 

This is our monthly small green change we’ve made for the One Small Green Change Challenge. Because small changes really do add up to make big differences!

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