Episode 4 – The Dry Air

Donna: 00:00 Good afternoon and welcome to another edition of at home with rapid repair pro, your Ofallon handyman. I am your host Donna Green. And joining me today is Phil Green, our rapid repair pro specialist and also in the studio audience is Lucy and Bauer our two valley bulldogs. They are always by our side or under our feet more likely. So any noises or panting that you hear during this episode is strictly from them and no one else. So a little bit about us here at rapid repair pro. Phil and I are husband and wife and we have been in the construction industry in some form for most of our marriage. I would say the majority of it. Okay.
Phil: 00:45 Probably more than 30 years. 35 years, yeah.
Donna: 00:47 Yeah. And we’ve been married a little longer than that. We’ve been married 37 years this year and it has often been said that the reason that I’ve kept him around so long is that he can fix anything, partly true. But in all honesty, it has been a huge benefit. And for me to know that he can fix, do just about anything. And so we wanted to bring some of his knowledge and expertise to you all, and help you with some of those situations that you may find in your home that you’re not quite sure what to do with, he certainly can provide the answers for you. So today we’re going to talk about how to deal with static electricity in the winter. Now, there’s some content in this that I am super excited about and can’t wait for you to hear before we like spill the beans on what my most exciting part of this topic is I want to turn it over to Phil and let him share some expertise on the static electricity that we deal with in our home in the winter. Why we have it and how to fix it. So, Phil, what’s your thoughts?
Phil: 01:50 Well, it’s not just static electricity, but have you ever noticed that in the winter months when it starts getting cold outside you start noticing things like static electricity. But it’s more than that. It’s also, you notice your skin is dry and you have to use more lotion. Your nasal cavities are dryer, your throat’s dry, waking up stuffy in the morning, and you feel colder than what you should be, what you think you should be. Anyway. So those are all symptoms of a condition that happens in a wintertime with low humidity in your house. So it causes all kinds of issues and people just live with it and don’t understand what it is and why it happens and how easy it is to fix.
Donna: 02:32 So all of that is true. I know, I certainly notice it immediately when that furnace comes on. I mean the climate we live in, most of the, probably three of the four seasons we have humidity. But once that furnace comes on, I notice a drastic change in our home, in myself, and thrilled to know that you have introduced a solution to our home, and I appreciate that. So, can you talk a little bit about some of those?
Phil: 03:00 Well, let me start back in the past before I got a little wisdom on the subject. I know every winter we keep our house around 68 in the summertime
Donna: It’s 72/74 when he’s not home, it’s a little warmer than probably.
Phil: That’s all right. It used to bother me when I was younger. I don’t really care too much anymore, but I always used to think you were just a little over the top about how chilled you were in the wintertime. It didn’t make sense to me that the house was still 68 to 70 degrees and you were freezing to death when in summertime it wasn’t, wouldn’t be the case. It was that cold. So, you know, for years I just kind of shrugged it off as your issue. And then what happened was I went to school to get some knowledge about indoor air quality.
Phil: 03:53 And while I was studying that, I learned that during the winter months, the air outside, which could be a hundred percent relative humidity when it’s outside, when it comes into your home through air infiltration, which happens on every home. What happens is that air, when it comes inside, gets warmed up and when that air expands, the amount of moisture in the air remains the same, but it’s relative humidity drops like a stone and it becomes very dry. In other words, it has a capacity to absorb much more moisture from its surroundings and that means you, so the air in your house becomes super dry during the winter because of that reason. And that’s why you experienced the things you experienced. Like you feel cold or because what’s happening is, moisture off your skin is being evaporated by the dry air and evaporation is a cooling process like in summertime when you’re sweating and you stand in front of a blowing fan and you feel that coolness from the air moving across your body, that’s because the water vapor is evaporating off your skin and that cools your skin off. So, when I heard that, the light bulb went off in my head and I realized that, wow, my wife was right. It’s really does feel colder in the winter time.
Phil: 05:10 I had to admit, I won’t say for the first time in my life, but more like the 10,000th time in my life that she was right. But it not only do you have the effects of the coldl, but the dryer also creates more of a situation where static electricity can happen when you walk across the floors it allows it to build up on your shoes from walking across the floor or whatever. And you just have more issues with static electricity when it’s dryer. It also dries out your nasal passages because you’re breathing that air in and out. And not only that, but living in lower humidity can also promote you being more susceptible to getting colds and other respiratory illnesses.
Donna: That’s good to know.
Phil: It can also have a negative effect on your house. It can cause your wood floors to shrink and crack.
Donna: 05:58 And your trim can get cracks in it and it can do all kinds of, all kinds of things. So then the dryer environment in the home is not just an inconvenience or a nuisance to us. There are health absolute health implications of the dry environment and also implications to the condition inside of your home physically. So it’s not something to be ignored at all.
Phil: Absolutely. Yeah. The optimal environment for in a home would be about 50% relative humidity. Okay. You don’t want a wintertime humidity that can get, you know, you can drop down to 20%, same thing in summertime. You don’t want it to be above 50%. That can cause all kinds of issues, lots of other issues, you know, with mold and things. So the best option is to keep it controlled. Rapid Repair Pro, your Ofallon handyman has solutions for you.
Donna: 06:46 How would someone control that humidity in the winter? Right.
Phil: Well, there’s some easy things you can do, a humidifier is a great option to keep relative humidity in check. We want to keep air infiltration down to a minimum. There are some things you can do to tighten up your house a little bit. Keep things caulked and sealed and eliminate the drafts that we have.
Donna: A window that you can’t sit by because it’s too drafty that should be addressed.
Phil: Sure. Yeah. Anything you can do for air infiltration will help because that limits the amount of that air that can come in from outside. But a humidifier would be a great choice. A good Ofallon handyman like Rapid Repair Pro can get things in great shape.
Donna: So Phil, is there a difference between a standalone humidifier? I know growing up we had one, it was a little plastic box that held water.
Donna: 07:37 My parents would pour water in it all the time and it had a little belt and the belt would spin and kind of spit water in the air and it had a fan. So then, but what I remember is it was always blowing cold air into our house and I hated that thing. So is there a difference between that type of humidifier versus, well, what some people think of as a vaporizer that they use when their child is sick, they’ll put a, that type of humidifier in their room or like what we have is a humidifier on our furnace that humidifies the air as it comes out of our furnace. Right? So, is there a difference between any of those as far as the end result and what you’ll see?
Phil: 08:24 Well, what you will find is those, we’ll call them portable units like you’re talking about. They’re not an effective solution for an entire house. They just don’t have the capacity there. When you consider the amount of cubic footage of air you have in an entire building that’s not really effective. So the best option is going to be installing something like we have on our furnace that has a humidistat on it that automatically adds humidity to the air when it’s needed. And there’s different types of those. So you can have what’s called a bypass humidifier like we have. You can get steam and there are some standalone units that are more that are rated for larger spaces that can work good too. So you, you do have options and you don’t have to suffer with the consequences of the dry air.
Donna: 09:08 Yeah, I think they also, what I would think would be the, one of the most important benefits of the type that we have on our furnace is that we can control the amount. We’re not getting too much or, or not enough cause you can control that. Another memory I have as a child growing up in our home. We had a floor furnace in the hallway. It was a small two bedroom house. We had a floor furnace and my dad had created a steel box to fit down in that furnace and every morning he’d pour water in that steel box and when the furnace would come on and heat that up. And I mean it certainly created a warm home and it was a very, very warm home because of that. And I loved that floor furnace.
Donna: 09:47 But that would be an almost impossible way to control the amount of humidity and you don’t want to get too much.
Phil: Right, right. Yeah. Too much In the wintertime you can create all kinds of problems in your attic because that moisture will end causing condensation on the roof deck which can cause mold and rot. So, it’s best to have a system that uses a humidistat that will only allow the humidity to be maintained at a certain level. Wintertime you’re looking for 35% relative humidity.
Donna: Oh, okay. Yeah. You would definitely want to control that. Sure. I will tell you as a testimony, at the beginning of winter, it hit quickly as it always does in our area and we literally could have spring or summer in the morning and winter by nighttime and it did not disappoint.
Donna: 10:36 This year hit really quick and we turned our furnace on and by day two I was saying, Phil, is that humidifier on? Because I knew it by day two in my breathing, my nasal passages and stuff. So I can’t say enough about having that humidifier and the difference it made in warmth, it definitely makes a difference. So this has been great topic and I think so many people think that it’s just a natural consequence of winter and that there really isn’t anything they can do about it. I love it. I do want to recap on a couple of things that you mentioned about, you know, we don’t have to live with this. It can be, it is a result of the air being dry in our home and that there are solutions and obviously rapid repair pro your Ofallon handyman has the solutions and we would love to be able to help you out and see see what the needs are in your home. But a couple of things I want to recap as well ladies. I’m sure you heard that I was right all those times, all those years I was right. And men, for those men that are listening. The takeaway for you besides calling to have someone assess the moisture in your home, is that you need to listen to your wife, right? Absolutely. Okay.
Donna: 11:51 And I also want you all to remember that
Phil: 11:55 Rapid repair pro is your premier O’Fallon handyman service. And we can take care of not only issues like humidity issues in your home and installing a humidifier, but we can pretty much take care of anything you would need done. So we are the highest rated handyman service in the Metro East area. We care about work, we care about our customers and we want to build long term working relationships with you.
Donna: 12:20 So we started the show talking about how you can fix anything and that’s what’s kept you around for 37 years and going, and I’m going to give a little example of that. I had a bathroom door that you either had to shut it all the way or leave it open all the way. There was no in between. The door would constantly swing and it was annoying me. And I just said to him, Hey, is there anything you can do about this door? And within 30 seconds he solved the door swing, the annoyance that I had been dealing this bathroom door and 30 seconds and I never thought to ask him. And I’ve been dealing with it for about three months and literally he fixed it. So when I say he can fix anything, I mean it big or small. There you go. And it’s the little thing sometimes that annoy us the most.
Phil: 13:10 That’s all right. Well thank you everyone and don’t forget to keep us in mind for anything you would need done.
Donna: 13:19 Thank you again for joining us for another edition of at home with rapid repair pro your Ofallon handyman service.