Wow- great site! Found you while researching humidifiers.
Our problem: We seem to have the typical problem of extremely dry winter air, making me, my husband and kids dry out when the forced hot air is on. Our skin and hair gets dry, and worst of all our nostrils dry out and we get sore throats. We keep the heat turned lower than we'd like, just so the heat won't blow as often. I thought that the relative humidity must be very low in the house, but i just bought a gauge that shows the RH to be in the 40's, which I read is in the comfort target range. This seems odd to me, and the RH doesn't change much when the heat has been on. BUT, our comfort changes so much when the heat is on and the air feels so dry and uncomfortable.
My initial thought was that we needed to add humidity, either through a whole house humidifier or individual units, but do we need to add humidity if our RH is in the 40's? Or should I trust our bodies and not the gauge (which is new and seems to work)?
What to get. If it seems that we want to add humidity, what do you recommend? I've read here that people love steam, but according to a neighbor it's a bit too pricey for us. I'm told that a bypass whole house unit would be about $5-600 installed, which seems okay if it would do the job. Alternatively, 3 high quality warm air units would cost me about $300. I know $ is not supposed to be mentioned, but I'm not asking for a comment on price, just stating the relative prices.
If it helps your recommendations, we live in an old farmhouse. I see on this board that people discuss air infiltration when talking about winter humidity levels; as in these old new england farm houses, we have a decent amount of air coming in, but a blower door test done 2 years ago when we insulated showed us to be in the average range, and all obvious air sealing has already been done.
THANKS for any suggestions.