Best way to heat house while keeping humidity?

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alex123711
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Best way to heat house while keeping humidity?

Post by alex123711 »

Just wondering what is the best way to heat a house without lowering the humidity, as I live in a low humidity area I would like to raise or atleast maintain the humidity, what would be the best options e.g ducted heating, reverse cycle heating, hydronic heating, gas etc? I imagine hydronic is probably the best as it uses water?

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Alphaville
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Re: Best way to heat house while keeping humidity?

Post by Alphaville »

i live in the desert. easiest way is to just add a humidifier.

radiant heat is better than heated/blown air of course, but not always available.

hydronic is not steam, it's just radiating pipes, so doesn't moisten the air, but it's nice on the floor as heat rises and no loud fans. you can also use on baseboards or install smaller units for places like bathrooms. some of these are self-contained (i think filled with oil or something... i dont know all the details). radiant floor heating is a u.s. southwest favorite, but installation is not easy or cheap. worth it though, and efficient, pleasant, freeing, etc. walking shoeless in winter no problem.

but to moisten the air, just get a humidifier. actually some forced air systems have humidifiers as part of the install. see "whole house humidifier". a bit like a swamp cooler, but from the inside.

it depends on the size and type of your installation.

i have a big room size humidifier on wheels but not using this year because the paper wick got moldy in the spring and i didnt buy a replacement. skin gets a bit itchy in winter lol.

eta: oh, also--houseplants.

alex123711
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Re: Best way to heat house while keeping humidity?

Post by alex123711 »

Thanks, I do have a humidifier however I find its not that effective, even if the relative humidity says 80% and the windows are fogged up my skin/ mouth/ eyes/ lips etc are all dry in winter, maybe it has to do with the salt content, as the humidifier has no salt. I was thinking of renting an apartment with hydronic heating to see if that's any better but doesn't sound like it would be?

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Alphaville
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Re: Best way to heat house while keeping humidity?

Post by Alphaville »

well if it's radiant floor heating it would be quieter and cheaper to run and a lot more pleasant (unless we're talking old school radiators which can be noisy and uneven heat). i'd still check out the space...

you can have dry air and the windows can still fog up if it's cold outside... but 80% humidity? that's higher than we ever get here any season or time of day.

size of humidifier also matters: some are like little bottles? mine takes several gallons of water and must be wheeled when full.

dry skin has many causes #1 being hot baths and harsh soap. try lukewarm showers with something maybe like glycerine soap, and then apply jojoba oil to the skin? jojoba is good because it's actually a wax and coats like human sebum.

not sure about salt/dehydration? but one needs to drink water, and as i recall thyroid/iodine issues can cause dry skin, but regular table salt supplements your iodine (check labels).

ertyu
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Re: Best way to heat house while keeping humidity?

Post by ertyu »

heat your house as you would. dry your laundry on one of those foldable laundry drier things rather than in a drier.

Image

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Alphaville
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Re: Best way to heat house while keeping humidity?

Post by Alphaville »

that doesn't work in my desert... you need more water than the clothes can hold, plus a fan to distribute it around the room or house... plus it takes up a lot of floorspace and you have to look at wet towels all day (i tried, failed.)

for a similar moisture wicking function, houseplants have a better aesthetic and give you a nicer microclimate.

Image

but notice in that particular picture those plants need their own humidifier lol (small one).

the desert is a brutal place...

alex123711
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Re: Best way to heat house while keeping humidity?

Post by alex123711 »

how much of an effect do plants have? And what are some good indoor plants to get

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Alphaville
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Re: Best way to heat house while keeping humidity?

Post by Alphaville »

i couldn't tell you objectively, but i can feel the difference between a space full of plants and one without.

here some stuff duckduckgo turned up on the subject:

https://www.healthline.com/health/humidifying-plants

and this about from nasa studies about the air-cleaning properties of indoor plants:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Clean_Air_Study

you can find charts etc all over the interwebs if you search for "nasa indoor plants"

Optimal_Solution
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Re: Best way to heat house while keeping humidity?

Post by Optimal_Solution »

I think 40-60 percent relative humidity is recommended. I try to avoid going higher than that because mold likes high humidity.

If your 80% reading is accurate, then your dry skin problem is probably related to something other than humidity

Also, I don't think humidifiers ever contain salt. The salt would not evaporate into the air like water does. At best you would get a salty crust on nearby objects, much like sea spray.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Best way to heat house while keeping humidity?

Post by AxelHeyst »

hvac engineer here. The water inside hydronic heating/cooling systems stays inside the pipes; no effect on indoor humidity as Alpha said.

80% RH is indeed inadvisably high, 40-60 is ‘comfortable’. But! RH sensors are notoriously inaccurate, and also if it is e.g. above your coffee machine or dishwasher it might be giving false readings.

If you spend much time outdoors in winter, your skin might dry out and crack from the low humidity even if your indoor space is okay.

There aren’t really any heating systems that add or remove humidity, off the top of my head, except ventless propane heaters because h2o is a product of propane combustion (not recommended, to put it mildly). “Wood stoves produce a dry heat” isn’t quite right; wood stoves produce a ton of heat typically, which allows you to / drafts more outside air in to and through your space. That air coming from outside is very dry.

If you have a wood stove, put a pot of water on it so it simmers, this will add humidity to the space. Don’t let it get empty.

Buy some bag balm. Or get some good hippie soap that doesn’t scour off your natural skin oils. Also; shower less.

aptruncata
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Re: Best way to heat house while keeping humidity?

Post by aptruncata »

humidity also drags down the dust that are floating around which is a nice added bonus.
I wake early so I usually just have a pot of water on simmer on the colder than normal and drier than normal days.

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