As winter settles in over a large section of the country, temperatures fall and the air gets cool and sharp. Even though the onset of the winter wonderland brings holiday cheer, it also ushers in reduced humidity levels together with the falling temperatures.
One reason we love hardwood floors is they bring the warmth and beauty of character into our homes. As part of character, wood has a symbiotic relationship with its surrounding environment and responds accordingly to the changes around it. The naturally drier air of winter, together with our need for the relaxation of artificial heat indoors, tends to eliminate a lot of humidity out of our homes. Wood stoves, fireplaces, and electric heating can exacerbate already low humidity levels much more.
Wood’s natural reaction to diminishing moisture is normally to psychologist. This can lead to gaps or spaces which were not within the summer months to appear. Even though this may seem to be cause for concern, rest assured that this process is predictable and normal. Exotic wood species can also be sensitive to climate fluctuations than many national varieties. That being said, there are still some things you can do to help mitigate winter’s influence over your hardwood flooring.
Humidity Control is Essential
The EPA advises that a relative humidity of 40-50 percent is optimal for human beings to become comfortable and healthy. Unsurprisingly, wood also has a favorite comfort zone, which happily, carefully mirrors ours. NWFA urges humidity levels of 30-50 per cent to make the most of the appearance and lifespan of your flooring. There are lots of economical hygrometers available for homeowners to monitor the humidity inside.
The very first step to controlling your indoor environment is maintaining the exterior air……well, outside. Weatherproofing your house won’t only make it more effective to heat, but will diminish your ground’s exposure to the dry arctic atmosphere. Start looking for and tackle air leaks around windows and poorly sealed doors. Outlet and junction boxes on exterior walls are also frequently overlooked offenders for air flows. The more that cold air finds its way to the home, the more you must heat the inside, which typically sucks more moisture from this air.
Another simple solution is to present more moisture back in the surroundings. Humidifiers typically come either as a standalone unit that may be set anywhere in the house or as a part of the home’s HVAC system. In any case, the trick is to take it slow and introduce moisture gradually to the air. During winter months, 30-40 percent is a good target level to maximize comfort for you and your hardwood flooring, while preventing erosion or risk of mould.
Environmental effects on wood can never truly be eliminated, but that is also what provides wood the beauty and character that we enjoy. In the end, homeowners should simply accept those seasonal changes as part of owning a hardwood floor, and revel in the seasons as they manifest in the wood. Always remember that maintaining the humidity and temperature level in the suggested level isn’t just essential for maintaining your hardwood floor looking great, but also provides you with an overall healthy home environment.