Save your furniture and yourself from uncomfortable humidity levels
Most people don’t think about the humidity in their homes, however if they did they could be living in a more home. Nobody likes dry scratchy skin or a dry scratchy throat caused by dry air, and your furniture and other wood products don’t like it either. Controlling the humidity can make your home feel more comfortable and a better environment for your furniture
Extreme changes in humidity can damage your furniture. When the humidity drops and the air dries out, it will cause your wood to shrink as the dry air draws the moisture out of the wood. When the humidity in the air goes up, the wood in your home will absorb that moisture and starts to expand. All this expansion and contraction can damage your furniture; tabletops can warp, crack, and split. Cupboard doors can start to stick, and joints holding your furniture together can become loose or so tight that it breaks the joint apart.
To prevent this you can try to regulate the humidity in your home. Furniture is most happy at an indoor humidity between 50-55%, and conveniently, people seem to be comfortable at that humidity level as well.
Controlling the humidity can be done by using a humidifier if you live in a dry climate or a dehumidifier if there is too much moisture in the air. However, those can get expensive to buy and will add to your electric bill to operate.
There is a better option to try first; weatherize your home.
During the winter months when the outdoor temperature drops below freezing, the moisture in the air freezes as well. Most commonly, we see this as frost, when the moisture in the air freezes it drops to the ground creating frost, thus drying out the air.
Warm air is able to carry moisture more easily with it. During these cold spans, we turn up the heat in our home. If your home is not insulated well, or has many air leaks, that warm air rises and escapes your home creating a draft. As the warm moist air leaves your home, the cool dry air flows in to replace it. When this cool air is warmed by your heating system, it absorbs the moisture in your home. This air exchange lowers the humidity in your home to an uncomfortable level to you and your furniture. During the humid summer months, the revers happens when you run your air conditioner. The drafts pull in the warm humid air, raising the humidity level in your home. By insulating and weatherizing, your home you will slow this air exchange, better maintain the humidity level in your home, and lower you’re heating and cooling costs.
Using a fireplace or a wood stove is one of the biggest culprits in losing humidity. As a fire is burned warm, moist air is drawn up the chimney. All that air being pulled up the chimney needs to be replaced, causing cooler dryer air to be pulled into your home, coming in from any gap, or crack it can find. To offset the humidity going up your chimney, you can put a pot of water on your wood stove. The heat from the stove will cause the water in the pot to turn to steam raising the indoor humidity.
You may think you are out of the woods with a gas furnace, because it recirculates the air. However, any warm air that escapes to the outdoors will still need to be replaced. This brings us back to proper insulation and weatherization of your doors and windows to prevent air leakage.
Properly weatherizing your home will save you money on energy cost, and keep your furniture in good condition for years to come.