During the winter months, the outdoor air holds less moisture. Inside, with the furnace operating, the lack of humidity often becomes a problem. When humidity levels drop below the recommended level, the overly dry air sucks moisture out of everything it touches. This includes furnishings, hair and skin. Hardwood furnishings such as antiques, musical instruments, floors and moldings can dry out and crack. You’ll notice issues with static shock, which can actually damage low voltage electronics. Chapped lips and frizzy hair are common complaints. Insufficient moisture in the air can also lead to a long list of health concerns. When the air dries out nasal passages you become at greater risk of infection and flu. Plus, once you’re sick, you’re going to find it takes longer to recover. Sore throat, itchy eyes and headaches are consequences of low humidity levels. You’re going to find it more difficult to sleep and are more likely to snore. Symptoms of asthma, allergies, eczema and psoriasis are irritated by dry air. There’s also the problem that dry air feels colder than properly moisturized air. When you’re chilly, the first thought is to raise the thermostat setting. The greater demand on the furnace results in higher energy bills and more wear and tear on components. The furnace is more likely to succumb to malfunction and probably won’t last long. Plus, you’ve made the issues with insufficient humidity worse. The solution is a whole-home humidifier. These systems incorporate directly into the existing heating systems, where they are tucked out of sight and run silently. They improve comfort and pay for themselves in greater energy efficiency.