Letter: Some tips for warmer winter

If the climatologists are correct, this will be a long, cold winter and with fuel and electricity prices scheduled to rise dramatically, an expensive one as well. There some are easy things to do to increase comfort and decrease costs.

The most effective is to buy a humidifier. When homes are tightly sealed against the cold and the air within them heated, the humidity drops substantially. As I was taught in the Air Force Meteorology School, more years ago than I care to remember, when temperature rises, humidity lowers and the drier air contains less heat than more moist air at the same temperature would. Water vapor molecules (humidity) are larger, denser and more tightly packed than air molecules and once heated, retain more heat.

People who have lived in, or visited areas with high humidity in the summer are well aware of this phenomena. Temperatures of 90 degrees here in Carson with a 10-15 percent relative humidity are vastly more comfortable than 90 degrees where the humidity is 90 percent. The reason is because that 90 percent humidity contains much more heat than the lower 10-15 percent.

Heat and temperature are not the same. The same thing, in reverse, happens indoors in the winter when the air is allowed to become too dry. It can't hold as much heat, so higher temperatures are needed to provide the same comfort level.

The advantages of adding humidity are numerous: ladies, take note, your skin will be less dry, your cheeks will be rosier and your lungs more elastic. Wood tables, picture frames will be less susceptible to cracking; all absorbent materials will benefit from not being so dry.

A simple humidifier can be purchased at most grocery or drug stores for well under $20 and they can usually be found in thrift stores for $3-5.

When I bought mine, I also bought a temperature-humidity indicator for under $10. I found that without a humidifier, my humidity was running barely 10 percent - much too dry - but with a humidifier, I could control it to remain about 45 - 50 percent, which is the most ideal. My comfort went up and my energy bills down.

Try to wear warmer clothing inside. A sweater could allow you to reduce the thermostat setting by a couple degrees. Even a two-degree reduction will save a great deal of energy. This, coupled with the need for less heat created by the higher humidity will allow you to remain more comfortable with much less energy expenditure. I hope this information allows you to have a more comfortable, less expensive winter.


Carson City


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