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Hot Air, Cold Air, Wet Air, Dry Air
Humidifiers and heating systems, a misunderstood and often misused combination
Inspecting houses in the cold climate of Connecticut, forced air systems equipped with humidifiers are very common to find. The purpose of the humidifier is said to be that a forced air heating system “dries out the air” and therefore additional indoor moisture is needed.
So is this empirically true?
The answer is simply no. Elementary school science teaches us that matter can neither be created or destroyed although its form can be changed. This is the first law of thermodynamics and I would add an over simplification of a complex scientific principle. Knowing this one would have to ask, how can a heating system dry out the air inside a house? Where does the moisture go?
The indoor environment is relatively moist. Breathing, cooking, bathing all create moisture. Add to that moisture from unwanted sources such as a leaky basement or dirt crawl space without a vapor barrier and we can have a fairly moist indoor environment. In some instances too moist. So why would one want additional moisture in an already “damp” house?
In spite of the moisture generated by the occupants and other sources, the air inside the house can become dry. This can occur through several different ways. One cause ... more
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