For those of us that suffer from various health issues in dry climates, we dream of creating a tropical oasis in our home and garage.
While excessive humidity creates problems, dry air makes many of us uncomfortable and even sick.
Purchasing a humidifier is one costly option, but there are plenty of creative ways to manage heating and cooling in your home.
Let’s look at how to create your own DIY humidifier solution.
Calculating the Humidity in Your Home or Office
Understanding if you need to supplement your home or office environment with an additional humidity source is an important starting point.
Try using the following methods. Not everyone is in tune with humidity levels in their surroundings. Sometimes you need to use a gadget, while other times, you can use your body for signals.
Use Your Body as a Sign
The obvious signs of improper humidity levels are poor breathing, dry flakey skin, bleeding noses, coughs, dry sinuses, and cracked lips. While these issues might not sound life-threatening, they’re uncomfortable.
People with asthma are especially at risk in low humidity environments. Adding moisture to the air helps them breathe.
Ice Cube Method
Fill a glass with ice cubes and set it in your living room, then wait for five minutes. If the glass doesn’t have moisture dripping down the sides, your home is too dry. High humidity has the opposite effect and will make the glass sweat.
Invest in a Hygrometer
Hygrometers are practical and inexpensive tools. They measure the temperature and humidity and are available in hardware stores or online retailers. Place one in your living room, bedroom, or office to get an accurate reading.
A More Complicated Method
This method requires two glass wet and dry bulb thermometers. Take one thermometer and attach a wet or dampened cloth to the bulb of one thermometer. Place them side by side in your living room or bedroom. (Bathrooms and kitchens are typically more humid.) After five minutes, check their readings. Subtract the temperature reading of the wet thermometer from the dry unit. The answer is the relative humidity inside your house.
Creating a Natural and Cheap DIY Humidifier
Of course, you can run to the nearest store and buy a costly humidifier. But remember, aside from the expensive purchase and utility cost, humidifiers need constant attention and maintenance. And they’re not exactly the most attractive addition to your home’s decor.
Dirty, poorly maintained humidifiers can cause a host of health problems.
Invest in Nature’s Natural Humidifiers: Plants
Plants add natural beauty; they release oxygen. Indoor plants are a rewarding investment. When we water plants, we purify the air. Unused portions of water in planters evaporate. And add beneficial moisture. Everyone benefits.
By vessels, I mean those crystal decanters and vases you store away in a china cabinet. Perhaps you have a collection of glass vases you inherited. These beautiful items often get overlooked as valuable DIY humidifiers. Add a touch of life by adding bamboo shoots, or use them as plant nurseries for spider plants or other water propagating plants.
Mopping may not be your favorite sport, but it helps to humidify large areas and has the added benefit of keeping the dust associated with dry air down. Frequent mopping will add moisture to the air making it easier to breathe. It’s suitable for the whole house.
Indoor Laundry Line
It may sound old-fashioned, but it’s an excellent remedy that benefits your air quality and clothing. You will notice a significant reduction in your electric bill. Run your garments for only ten minutes through the dry cycle and hang damp clothing to dry. Using a fan, blow on the clothing and spread the humidity.
Hanging damp bath towels to dry also helps dispel dry air.
Ceramic and glass bowls add beauty to a home’s decor and can be a bonus by displacing dry air. Fill your favorite family heirloom with water and set it near radiators or beneath ceiling fans to distribute moist air. Of course, you should always use caution when combining electric power and water.
Shower With the Door Open
Bathrooms are havens for humidity. If you can, leave the door to your bathroom open when you shower or bathe. Steam from hot showers will escape into the rest of your home and dissipate problems with mold buildup in the bath. Don’t be shy; no one’s watching.
If you live in a dry environment and have always been interested in tropical fish, get a tank. Fish tanks and large aquariums are an excellent way to increase the humidity in your home.
Not only are fish entertaining (I know, who knew), but they add humidity and ambiance to a home. However, tanks and aquariums require some effort on your part. Fish are naturally curious, and you may form a more profound friendship than you anticipated.
Sponge It Up
Natural sponges are wonders of nature and can help you moisturize your home. Place a wet sponge, synthetic or natural, on a glass plate or bowl, and allow it to release moisture into the air like a time machine. Repeat as needed.
If you have window curtains, spritz them with water. This trick is ideal for both cold and warm seasons. In winter, spritz the curtains generously and allow them to air dry. It’s a great way to use lightly scented linen sprays that don’t overpower the air. In summer, spritz and open the window to allow the breeze to help dissipate the moisture into breathable air.
This tip requires a bit of caution. Don’t spray the inside of the curtain facing the wall as it might create mold.
The Kettle System
Every time you boil the kettle to make a cup of tea, you’re steaming the surrounding area with moist air. While most kettles switch off with a whistle or automatic temperature switch, you can also replicate the effect by boiling a pot of water on the stove.
Use caution or risk dry boiling if your kettle doesn’t have a built-in switch off. The same is true for using pots. Do not leave them unattended–ever!
A Water Fountain
Indoor water fountains can add an attractive decor feature to your home. Since they recycle water, you’re not wasting a precious resource. Water fountains are inexpensive and create a soothing sound while helping moisturize the air.
We think of our furnace as an appliance that puts out heat, and we only give it a second thought on those cold winter days when the pilot light goes out. Or worse, it quits altogether. Most modern furnaces have a built-in humidifier, or you can attach one.
Have a professional service fix the problem if your furnace isn’t producing enough humidity or you think it’s not working. Invest in an attachment; there are many great options. While they aren’t technically a DIY project, it’s using something that already exists. They will improve your home comfort zone and even help you save on your utility bill with these tested brands.
Low Humidity & Your Health: Common Problems
We’re not all created equally. Some people can’t stand humidity; others suffer horribly in dry environments from respiratory problems, dermatitis, and constant nosebleeds. Winter in drier climates has particularly harsh consequences. Without extra manufactured moisture, you might have trouble breathing, sleeping, or just being comfortable in general.
People with asthma, allergies, and sinus conditions might suffer more in dry climates. You might experience the increased occurrences of common colds, coughs, flu, asthma attacks, and allergy symptoms. Respiratory health is crucial for small children and seniors. Discussing respiratory health benefits from DIY humidifiers with your doctor is always wise.
Low humidity and healthy skin seldom make for a good combination. Our skin is our largest organ and needs moisture to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids is healthy but doesn’t always moisturize our fragile skin. Flakey skin leads to itching, which can cause infections and various forms of dermatitis. It also dries our lips, the soles of our feet, and the lining of our sinuses. Aside from adding a DIY humidifier, try these helpful tips.
There is a misconception about the symptoms of dry eyes. Many dry eye sufferers have weepy, runny eyes. It’s their eyes’ way of producing lubrication when the air is dry. Dry eyes can impact your vision, especially at night.
Our homes need humidity too. Not too much, but comfortable indoor levels of humidity range between 30-50%. Your furnace may have a setting you can adjust to keep your flooring, window and door frames, and garages healthy. To calibrate humidity, use this helpful guide.