Staying warm and comfortable, especially during the brutal winter season, is a top priority for every homeowner, but at what cost? Have you ever paused to consider the impact of your heating system on the quality of your indoor air? If you’re using Non Radiant Heaters, there’s a chance your comfort may come at the expense of overly dry indoor air. Do they really zap away moisture from your habitat leaving you with dry lips, itchy skin, and those annoying static shocks?

Yes, non radiant heaters, such as forced hot air systems, can contribute to drying out the air in a room. When these types of heaters warm up the air, the relative humidity decreases, which can lead to a drier feeling and potential effects on the body such as dry eyes, lips, and throat. It is important to maintain proper ventilation and use humidifiers if necessary to counteract this drying effect.

In this blog post, we delve into the depths of this pressing question: Does Using Non Radiant Heaters Dry Out The Air in Your Home? Stay tuned as we dissect the truths, myths and offer some practical tips to maintain both a toastie atmosphere and healthy air in your home. Better still, we will explore modern solutions like infrared heaters that are designed with your ultimate comfort in mind.

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Table of Contents

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Effects of Non-Radiant Heaters on Indoor Humidity
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Heat and Humidity Relationship
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Comparison of Heaters and Their Dryness Influence
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Air Quality Impacts of Non-Radiant Heaters
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Humidity Maintenance with Non-Radiant Heaters
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Navigating Indoor Comfort

Effects of Non-Radiant Heaters on Indoor Humidity

During winter, people use heat sources to regulate indoor temperatures. One observation many individuals often make is that the air in their homes feels drier when using non-radiant heaters such as forced-air or convection heaters. The question that comes to mind is: Does using non-radiant heaters dry out the air in your home?

Say you have an infant at home who gets cold easily, not helped by the less humid air in your living space. You’ll wonder whether your heating source choice is affecting your child’s health.

 

  • The Norwegian University of Science and Technology states that maintaining indoor relative humidity between 40% and 60% reduces symptoms of respiratory infections and allergies, which can be harder to achieve with non-radiant heating systems. [R]
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  • When the outdoor temperature drops below 0°C, indoor relative humidity can reach around RH 20% when the air is heated to 20-22°C. In climates with prolonged periods of sub-zero outdoor temperatures, indoor relative humidity may drop to around RH 10% in well-ventilated spaces, especially if no additional humidity is introduced. [R]

Heat and Humidity Relationship

To answer this question, it’s essential first to understand the heat and humidity relationship. Warm air can hold more moisture than cool air due to increased molecular activity.

The ideal relative humidity for human comfort ranges between 40% – 60%. Heating air up doesn’t necessarily remove water vapour from it however, it decreases its relative humidity (RH). Relative humidity is a measure of the amount of moisture the air can hold relative to the maximum amount it could hold at that temperature.

The absolute amount of water vapour in the air doesn’t change when you heat it up; instead, warmer air can hold more water vapour. This means that when heated, relative humidity decreases, leading to drier feeling effects on our body like dry eyes, lips, throat, etc.

Did you know?

As cooler outdoor air enters a heated room, it may contain less moisture compared to warmed-up air due to the reduced carrying capacity of colder air.

However, it’s crucial to clarify that the likelihood of drying out is not solely determined by air temperature but also by the air’s residual humidity. The perceived sensation of dryness is influenced more by residual humidity than the total amount of water that air can carry, which may be reduced at colder temperatures due to changes in total carrying capacity, saturation, and dew point.

It’s important to note that colder air is not inherently less likely to ‘dry out’ than warmer air. Moreover, the interaction between cold moist air and warm dry air can lead to significant issues such as heavy condensation, potentially causing problems like mold and rot. These considerations apply consistently across different types of heaters.

That being said—radiant heaters like infrared floor, wall, and ceiling heating systems directly convert electrical energy into heat without affecting air moisture levels. They transfer warmth to boundaries such as floors, walls or ceilings. By doing so, they warm up surfaces in the room instead of the air. This source of heating doesn’t dry out indoor air as non-radiant heater systems do.

Non-radiant heater types can vary from forced hot air systems to convection heaters. Let’s explore how different heater types influence the dryness effect on indoor humidity by comparing them.

Comparison of Heaters and Their Dryness Influence

As temperatures drop, many homeowners turn to space heaters as a convenient way of adding some warmth to their living spaces. However, while these devices do help keep indoor temperatures bearable in winter, they also have an impact on air quality and can cause the indoor environment to become uncomfortably dry. Here, we explore different types of non-radiant heaters and their potential drying effects.

1. Electric Heaters

Electric heaters work by heating coils or ceramic elements that then release heat directly into the surrounding air. While electric heaters are more energy efficient than balloon-type space heaters (which blow hot air), they tend to create an unpleasantly dry atmosphere as they continue to circulate dry heated air within the room.

2. Gas Heaters

While these devices are more commonly used for outdoor spaces like patios or decks, portable gas-fired heaters may be used indoors as well. While gas heaters provide a consistent source of heat without depleting a home’s humidity levels, they are not without risk; if there is even a small chance of combustion gas buildup in an enclosed area like a home with poor ventilation, it could lead to severe damage.

3. Fan Heaters

Fan heaters work by blowing hot air around a room using fans and can significantly contribute to low indoor humidity levels. This explains why some homeowners prefer mixing them with humidifiers to infuse warm moistened air circulation inside the house.

One noteworthy aspect of Electric, Gas & fan heaters lies in the design of their heating element. Due to its relatively small surface area, the heating element must reach exceptionally high temperatures, typically ranging from 150 to 250 degrees Celsius.
Additionally, the combustion of gas in these heaters occurs at a very high temperatures too!

This configuration comes with a potential downside. The elevated temperatures associated with the heating process pose a risk of combusting particles present in the air. This combustion not only releases byproducts into the environment but also has the undesirable effect of decreasing the overall air quality.

4. Infrared Heaters

In contrast to traditional heaters, infrared heaters operate by directing heat toward objects rather than heating the surrounding air directly. The heating elements employed in this process can effectively achieve this goal while maintaining a relatively low temperature, typically ranging between 55 and 60 degrees Celsius.

The system’s placement allows them to produce less direct heat while still warming personal items like furniture and floors – providing much better energy efficiency when compared with other forms of space heaters while removing the potential for dryness.

Heater Type Effects On Indoor Humidity
Electric Dries out air
Gas Can be dangerous and dries out air
Fan Dries out air, spread of dust
Infrared Little to no impact on humidity levels

Regardless of the heating option you choose, it’s crucial to understand the potential risk of low humidity in your home. Softening the effect with a humidifier beside an electric or fan heater is one way you can improve indoor air quality.

Alternatively, using an infrared heater, which directs heat toward objects rather than circulating air, offers a solution that minimises the risk of low humidity. Infrared heaters provide effective warmth while maintaining better moisture levels, reducing the need for additional humidification measures.

Investing in these innovative heating solutions offer a more holistic approach, ensuring that your living space remains warm, inviting, and conducive to good health, all while minimising the drying effects associated with traditional non-radiant heaters.

Air Quality Impacts of Non-Radiant Heaters

During winter months, many homeowners opt for non-radiant heating systems like forced hot air or baseboard heaters for a cosy and warm indoor environment. However, these heating systems might have an impact on the indoor air quality by reducing the relative humidity of the air.

Respiratory Health and Skin Dryness

The low humidity levels created by non-radiant heaters can cause respiratory infections such as colds, flu, and allergies. It also leads to dry skin, throat irritation, and other respiratory ailments. These can considerably affect children, elderly people and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma (particularly fan heaters that re-circulate dust or allergens throughout a room).
If you’ve ever woken up to a scratchy throat or dried skin after a night’s sleep under one of these heating systems, it’s probably because of this impact.

Humidity Maintenance with Non-Radiant Heaters

While it’s commonly believed that using non-radiant heaters like forced hot air, baseboard heaters, or portable space heaters can dry out the air in your home, the reality is a bit more nuanced. Heating the air doesn’t remove water vapour from it; instead, it decreases the relative humidity. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air, so heating cooler air results in less relative humidity. However, this effect is not specific to non-radiant heaters alone – it’s primarily influenced by the temperature of the air.

That being said, maintaining proper humidity levels in your home is crucial for good health and comfort. Using non-radiant heaters may not necessarily dry out the air, but they can contribute to decreased humidity levels if they are poorly insulated and allow cold outdoor air to enter. Leaks in walls, windows or floors can also be culprits of decreasing indoor relative humidity levels.

Practical Tips for Humidity Control

In winter months, humidifiers can be helpful tools to ensure proper humidity levels at home when using non-radiant heaters. Investing in an energy-efficient device that emits water vapour can be extremely beneficial even without a heating system. An appliance that’s easy to maintain and clean will help keep appliances working at maximum efficiency while providing improved indoor comfort.

Even having indoor plants or placing water basins near your heater can add moisture to the air! For instance, combining a hot water radiator heater along with keeping plants indoors during winter could produce similar humidifying effects as any other method for increasing indoor relative humidity but requires less energy consumption.

In conclusion, the choice of a heating system for your home goes beyond mere warmth, extending to its impact on indoor humidity. Electric heaters, known for their energy efficiency, unfortunately, contribute to a dry atmosphere, reducing indoor humidity levels. Gas heaters offer consistent heat without depleting humidity, yet the potential risks of combustion gas buildup in poorly ventilated spaces must be considered.

Infrared heaters emerge as a favourable option, providing efficient warmth with little to no impact on humidity levels. However, fan heaters, while effective in circulating warm air, significantly contribute to low indoor humidity, often necessitating additional measures such as humidifiers for balance.

Regardless of the heating system chosen, maintaining optimal humidity levels through proper insulation, home maintenance, and strategic use of humidifiers is paramount for ensuring a comfortable and healthy indoor environment during the winter months. Consideration of these pros and cons serves as a practical guide for homeowners seeking a balance between warmth and humidity in their homes.