Dry winter air affects how your heater runs, how your skin feels, and even how easy it is to breathe. It only lasts for a few months, but the dry air can be uncomfortable in many ways. One way to make it more bearable is with HVAC services in Longmont to help keep your house warm during the dry Colorado winters.
There are a lot of great advantages to living in Colorado: friendly communities, diverse culture, and beautiful mountains, just to name a few.
But there’s also a downside to living in this beautiful state: dry Colorado winters.
Every year, as the weather starts to chill, the already dry air gets even drier. And that cold, dry air can wreak havoc on your home and your body, leading to everything from chapped lips and nose bleeds to trouble breathing and warped floors.
Colorado is dry year-round because of its high elevation and lack of large bodies of water. But as the temperatures plummet and the weather patterns change so that there isn’t much moisture in the air getting pushed in from surrounding areas, the air gets even drier.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take for your body and house to make the winter months more manageable. Here are six ways to deal with dry Colorado winters.
Use A Humidifier
Cold weather sucks all the moisture from the air, but you can bring some of it back by using a humidifier. These devices come in all sizes—you can get a large humidifier connected to your HVAC system to reach your entire house, or you could have smaller units in each room or even a portable humidifier to move with you around the house. A humidifier adds moisture back into the air by releasing a steady stream of steam.
During the winter months, in-home humidity can drop below 20%. Try to maintain indoor air at 30-50% humidity. Any more than that can lead to mold growing in your home. If you are unsure about your home’s humidity level, you can use a hygrometer for real-time humidity readings.
You’ll likely be able to see the many benefits of using a humidifier right away. Adding moisture to the air helps your skin to not get so dry and itchy. Humidity in the air can also make it easier to breathe so you don’t feel the dryness and sinus pressure every time you inhale. Moisture in the air can also prevent nose bleeds and coughs.
By adding additional moisture to the air, a humidifier keeps wood floors and furniture from drying out in cold weather, extending their life and preserving their condition.
Running a humidifier helps you save on energy costs as humid air tends to hold heat better. Instead of cranking up the heat and dealing with dry air, adding a humidifier allows you to lower the temperature without sacrificing comfort.
Aside from a traditional humidifier unit, you can also adopt habits to add more moisture to the air. Shower with the door open to release moisture from the water into the house. Hang your clothes to dry, which not only cuts down on energy costs from not running the dryer but also releases the moisture from the clothes into the air as they dry.
Have Your HVAC System Inspected
Cold, dry weather can lower air quality. In the winter months, you’re likely running your HVAC system and heater more frequently, but low air quality can hurt the system. To make sure everything is running smoothly, schedule an HVAC inspection before winter hits. An HVAC professional can check that the heater is working properly and that no parts are damaged. They can also make a recommendation about a whole-house humidifier if you are interested. If there is an issue, it’s much easier and safer to fix it early on than having it break in the middle of winter and waiting for a repair in a cold house. An HVAC system in great working order can improve your air quality and keep your home warm and comfortable all winter long.
Keep an eye on your HVAC system throughout the winter. Make sure to change your air filters regularly to improve the air quality in your home. During the winter months when your heater is likely running much more often, it’s recommended to change your filter every 30 to 60 days. Dry air in Northern Colorado can add more dandruff and debris to the air, which can get caught in your HVAC filter causing the system to work harder. The debris may also make the air more difficult to breathe. A clean filter is a simple investment to prolong the life of your HVAC system and the air quality in your home.
Avoid Hot Water
When it’s cold outside, you may be tempted to take a hot shower or bath. But jumping into hot water can actually dry out your skin even more and lead to itchiness and discomfort. During the winter, it’s best to use lukewarm water. It can be helpful to lower the temperature on your water heater by a few degrees so you don’t dry out your skin.
Take shorter showers and baths in lukewarm water so that your skin doesn’t get stripped of its natural oils and moisture. Showers that are too hot can not only dry out the skin but also cause damage and potentially lead to larger issues like rashes and eczema.
After taking a shower, pat yourself dry to maintain as much of the moisture in your skin as possible. Rubbing your skin with a towel can cause skin to dry out faster and lead to more irritation.
Improve Your Home’s Air Quality
Dry air can lead to poor air quality inside your home. When the air is polluted, it’s harder to breathe, which can be dangerous for the elderly or people with other respiratory issues. Good air quality is always important, but especially during the winter when you are likely running your heater more often in the dry air.
Avoid activities that increase indoor air pollution, like burning a candle, lighting a fire, or spraying aerosol products. You can also improve your home’s air quality with indoor plants such as snake plants or aloe vera. These types of plants remove harmful toxins from the air. Aloe vera is known to survive quite well at much lower humidity levels.
To take it to the next level, consider an air purifier for your home. An air purifier can run in a single room or the entire house and remove common allergens like mold, dust, and pet dander from the air.
Seal Your Home
The weather outside may be cold and dry, but try to keep as much of it outside as possible so it doesn’t cancel out your efforts inside. It only takes a small crack in a window or door seal to let in huge amounts of cold air, which can make your heater work harder to compensate for the dry air.
Check your home and close any gaps or leaks in your doors, windows, basement, and attic with caulk or weather stripping. Apply foam sealant around gaps in the wall and around pipes and air ducts that lead outside. The extra effort can pay off by actually lowering your heating bill as the house stays warmer more energy-efficient. This should also reduce the overall effort of fighting the dry air in your home.
Stay Hydrated And Moisturized
Dry winter weather can be miserable for your skin and lead to dry, itchy, and cracking skin. That’s because the dryness in the air strips away your skin’s natural moisture and protective layer. The best way to avoid dry skin is to stay as hydrated and moisturized as possible. Be sure to drink 6-8 glasses of water during the day to combat the dry air in your home.
You should also get in the habit of applying a daily moisturizer to hydrate your skin. Look for products that are rich in vitamins and can help your skin stay hydrated all day and repair damaged skin cells. Apply the moisturizer over your entire body as soon as you get out of your lukewarm shower to lock in moisture.
Colorado is known for its sunshine, so be sure to wear a daily SPF, even if it isn’t sunny outside. A moisturizer with SPF can not only lock in moisture but also protect your skin from harmful UV rays and excessive dryness. Don’t forget the moisturizer and SPF for your lips!
Colorado’s dry winters can be uncomfortable, but they don’t have to be unbearable. These tips to survive Colorado’s dry winters can help your skin and your home make it through the season.