Have Low Humidity? Indoor Air Scientists Uncover the Top Ten Household Items Impacted By Humidity Levels

Safeguard Your Belongings by Maintaining Humidity Levels in the Home this Winter with Honeywell Humidifiers

Nov 16, 2015, 09:13 ET from Kaz

MARLBOROUGH, Mass., Nov. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- From antique furniture and photo albums to pianos and even wine, low humidity levels can wreak havoc on many of our prized possessions. People may be familiar with the effects of dry air discomforts associated with cold winter weather like itchy dry skin or scratchy throats, but the impact on household objects is often overlooked. The designers of Honeywell Humidifiers and indoor air scientists have released new research on how everyday household objects suffer under low humidity conditions and what steps homeowners can take to combat the effects of dry air.

"Relative humidity levels can drop to as low as ten percent in the winter months, which is as dry as the Sahara Desert. If humidity levels are too low, household objects from wood furniture to artwork can be damaged over time as moisture is pulled from wood, paper and other porous materials," said Dr. Ted Myatt, ScD., senior scientist with Environmental Health & Engineering and the University of Rhode Island. "The solution is to maintain relative humidity levels in the optimal range of 40 to 60 percent by running a humidifier in colder, drier winter months, to mitigate these effects."

The research conducted found that the following list of 10 household items are most impacted by low relative humidity:

  1. Wood Furniture: Has your favorite wooden bench seemed a little shakier? It could be because of low humidity. Wood absorbs and desorbs water as relative humidity rises and falls, which causes it to swell and shrink. This results in furniture joints becoming loose or even pulling apart.
  2. Musical Instruments: Not sounding quite right? Low humidity levels may be to blame for your instrument falling out of tune. Natural wood instruments such as guitars, violins and pianos can be damaged when the wood contracts resulting in failed glue joints or cracks.
  3. Books: Low humidity causes the pages of books to become more brittle and fragile, and the dimensions of the pages can even change as the paper absorbs and desorbs water. This leads to wrinkles in the paper, flaking ink, or warped covers on books.
  4. Woodwork and Wood Floors: If you've noticed a slight bend in your wood floors, or gaps between the planks, it could be because of low humidity. As the wood expands and contracts, mitered corners can separate and floors can "cup" so that the floor doesn't remain flat.
  5. Wine: Does your uncorked bottle of wine not taste right? Wine corks can dry out, shrink and crack if exposed to low humidity over time, allowing air to come into contact with the wine and potentially ruin the bottle.
  6. Artwork: Maintaining humidity levels is vital for protecting artwork around the home. Low moisture levels tend to make paint brittle and prone to cracking, which is especially detrimental to oil paintings on canvas.
  7. Stamp Collections: Much like books, repeated absorption and desorption of water can ruin stamps by making them brittle or discolored.
  8. Photograph Collections: Have you noticed your new photographs looking more like your parents' photo albums? When photographs curl up at the ends, it's likely due to low humidity levels. They can also result in the photo emulsion flaking off and damaging the photograph.
  9. Walls: Peeling wallpaper and separated drywall seams can be a sign of low humidity in the home. The porous materials may crack and separate when exposed to low levels.
  10. Electronic Equipment: Static electricity brought on by low humidity levels can damage internal components of computers, televisions and other electronics – a lot more damaging than dealing with static in your hair!

Running a Honeywell Humidifier in your home, especially during the dry winter months, can help maintain relative indoor humidity levels in the optimal 40 to 60 percent range. Designed for large areas, the new Honeywell Top Fill Console Humidifier is one option for protecting items around the home as it releases soothing, invisible moisture into the room. To confirm when ideal humidity levels are reached, use a humidity monitor like the Honeywell Humidity Monitor that displays relative humidity and indoor room temperature.

For more information on the Honeywell Humidity Monitor and all Honeywell Humidifiers, please visit www.HoneywellPluggedIn.com/humidifiers.

About Kaz 
A world leader in high quality healthcare and home environment products, Kaz is a state of the art, dynamically-managed, global leader in healthcare devices, home comfort and water filtration products that operates in over 65 countries on six continents.  The branded product portfolio includes PUR® Water Filtration products, Vicks® Thermometers and Humidifiers, Honeywell® Humidifiers, Heaters, Fans and Air Cleaners, Braun® Thermometers, SoftHeat® Heating Pads, SmartTemp® Hot/Cold Packs, Febreze® air purifiers and more. Kaz USA, Inc. is part of the Helen of Troy family of companies.  For more information about Kaz, please visit www.kaz.com.

About Helen of Troy Limited 
Helen of Troy Limited (NASDAQ, NM: HELE) is a leading global consumer products company offering creative solutions for its customers through a strong portfolio of well-recognized and widely-trusted brands, including: Housewares: OXO®, Good Grips®, Soft Works®, OXO tot® and OXO Steel®; Healthcare/Home Environment: Vicks®, Braun®, Honeywell®, PUR®, Febreze®, Stinger®, Duracraft® and SoftHeat®; and Beauty: Revlon®, Vidal Sassoon®, Dr. Scholl's®, Pro Beauty Tools®, Sure®, Pert®, Infusium23®, Brut®, Ammens®, Hot Tools®, Bed Head®, Karina®, Ogilvie® and Gold 'N Hot®. The Nutritional Supplements segment was formed with the acquisition of Healthy Directions, a U.S. market leader in premium doctor-branded vitamins, minerals and supplements, as well as other health products sold directly to consumers. The Honeywell® trademark is used under license from Honeywell International Inc. The Vicks®, Braun®, Febreze® and Vidal Sassoon® trademarks are used under license from The Procter & Gamble Company. The Revlon® trademark is used under license from Revlon Consumer Products Corporation. The Bed Head® trademark is used under license from Unilever PLC. The Dr. Scholl's® trademark is used under license from MSD Consumer Care, Inc.  For more information about Helen of Troy Limited, please visit www.hotus.com.