A dry atmosphere can be any homeowner’s worst enemy. Air inside a home that's too dry can lead to an increase in allergies, dry skin, itchy eyes, and a general uncomfortable feeling for anyone who steps inside the home. While buying a humidifier is the obvious solution, they can be expensive, and keeping them running throughout the day and evening can create a spike in utility bills. Luckily, there are alternatives to keep the air inside your home moist throughout the year without breaking your budget.
One way to add moisture to the air inside a home is to add a few plants. Plants can help increase the moisture in the air through a natural process called transpiration. This process occurs when the water on the underside of the leaves and stems of the plants evaporates through pores and is released into the air. If you're planning on taking this approach, only use a few plants at first to find a good balance. A few plants in each room should be sufficient, so turning your home into a jungle isn’t needed. Remember though, in order for this approach to be effective the plants will have to be well-watered.
Filling a few clear vases with water and placing them in spots that get a lot of sunlight is another way to help humidify your home. The sunshine will evaporate the water over a long period of time, which is an easy way to add water to the air without having to constantly refill the containers. Choose a location wisely, such as a window sill that is outward facing and gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day, to maximize the amount of evaporation that takes place.
Utilizing your stovetop instead of your oven is another way to increase the amount of moisture in the air. If you're cooking anything that could be made either in the oven or stove top, opt for the latter as the water used in cooking will evaporate into the air and not remain trapped in the oven. Using the oven has a tendency to dry out the air in your home at a higher rate than the stovetop. Also, simply boiling some water on the back burner on a low setting is another easy way to help moisten the air. (Adding cinnamon or citrus peels to the boiling water can create a nice aroma, as well.)
If you're already using your furnace to heat your home, why not take advantage of it? Fill a few metal or ceramic bowls with water and place them on any open floor vents or radiators. The heat coming through the vents will help evaporate the water in no time and send it into the air around your home. If you don't have any vents or aren't using your heater, then simply placing bowls of water around your home will also do the trick. Although it might take a little longer for the water to evaporate, this approach also allows you to get a little more decorative.
Another great trick to humidify your house involves something you already do on a daily basis: showering. By leaving the door to your bathroom open when you shower, the steam from the shower will reach out through the door and into other areas of your home. Remember to keep the air vents inside the bathroom turned off, as they will suck up most of the steam if left open. If you prefer taking baths instead of showers, simply leave the water in the tub and wait to drain it until the water is cool.
Another method that's easy to do and will help add precious moisture to your home's air is to air-dry your clothes. Instead of using your dryer, hang up your clothes inside on a line or rack and allow the water to dry and evaporate over the course of a couple of hours. (An added plus to drying your clothes with an indoor line is the lower energy bill. One of the largest energy users in any home is the dryer, and avoiding it will certainly add some energy saving benefits in the long run).