cold winters and lack of humidity

Polly381(5/6)October 11, 2012

Does anyone use humidifiers for their plants in the winter while the house is heated and dry. I am considering it this year. I read humidity should be between 20 & 50%.

I was wondering what the general consensus is on the matter.

Thanks

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Nope, but I drink a lot of coffee, so I often have a kettle boiling.

I also use pebble trays under all my Hoyas & my tropicals (just not under my succulents). I'm in NYC w/ steam radiator heat.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Polly381(5/6)

Hi Pirate girl
steam radiator heat, nice. You have automatic humidifiers. Thats a great heat source. I'm in the poconos.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 5:31PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Nope, I don't think it works like that, maybe I'm mistaken & it's not steam after all (an oil furnace fuels it is all I know besides that I have radiators in my home).

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 5:45PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

You are right, unless you are growing 'orchids' which love high humidity, I find that all my plants do very well with humidity levels about 50. If they are higher, it's a must that I also use a circulating fan to prevent mold and mildew issues.

Any higher than that, I would develope mold/mildew along the windows and on the ceilings, also on top of the pots soil, not being a good thing.

So I had to stop using a humidifier if the levels were higher than 60 percent.

Depending on what room you use one in, will determin if it is useful or not. I would definitely gauge the levels with a hygrometer.

In my plant room that has many plants grouped together with no heat source, it stays humid enough, usually above 50 percent.
In the main part of my home where the heat is going, a humidyfer works wonders. Levels are usually at 40 - 60 perccent.

There is no need for one in the bathroom or kitchen though. That is where steam from showers and or cooking is constant. The plants in my unheated room, the bathroom, and the kitchen seem to do best all winter.

Mike

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 6:55PM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

How does everyone know their humidity levels? Is it really THAT necessary...and since I only have 6...Whoops, I mean 8 plants.

How the heck did THAT happen. HA!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Polly381(5/6)

I had a hygrometer but it no longer works. Do you know Where a good place is to purchase them. Its always seems very dry in my house.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 11:12PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

I thought I would give you a link the instrument used to measure relative humidity in the air:-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygrometer

I got mine at Home Depot, and I can tell you, it has been a life saver for me when controlling humidity in certain rooms.

Mike

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:21AM
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birdsnblooms

Polly...We use 2 humidifers, 'one upstairs, one on the main floor,' a small, indoor fountain, daily misting, trays w/stones, weekly showering, hidden cups behind plants and I sometimes boil water until every window in the house is steamed..Only do the latter when dh is at work..lol.

I bought 2 hygrometers at Ace Hardware years ago...23 yrs to be exact..both still work..
A few years back, dh bought an indoor/outdoor/gh hygrometer with indoor and outdoor temps and humidity.

Are there any Ace Hardware's in your area? If not, most hardware stores sell hygrometers..check hardware stores before nurseries..hardware stores sell similar hygrometers as nurseries, but at lower costs..It's best to have two..this way, you can check for accuracy.

Humidifers are also healthy for people and pets. I can't breathe when air is dry, and my skin feels like sand paper..When this happens, it's time to setup the humidifiers..

50% would be ideal, but keeping humidity so high is hard to do in cold areas once heat is turned on.

Wish we had steam heat. It's the best! Toni

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:04AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Id say our house is no drier in winter , in fact Id say humidity was higher!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:12AM
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Polly381(5/6)

we have ace about 6 miles from here, I will check H D. I did check lowes but no humidstats there.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:16AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

See, houses dont have AC over here unless you win the lottery!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 12:04PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Some of you new folks are getting too involved w/ some things which may be unnecessary. Before buying hygrometers or hydrometers, just look up pebble trays. Also check to see if the types of plants you have even have this issue (they may not, many don't).

Many plants do just fine on pebble trays w/out humidifiers. Learn the weight of your pots when dry or when newly watered (much heavier). Check for moisture w/ a pencil, a skewer or even a wooden chopstick. One needn't buy all these accessories (more money to spend on plants ;'>).

Many plants just keep right on going, they don't slow down or go dormant. The best way to learn this is to observe the plants closely.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 4:51PM
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Polly381(5/6)

Hi Pirategirl,
I appreciate that you use pebble trays but I am not a fan of them. I have asthma and I have to many plants to go around cleaning out pebble trays and all the stones every couple days to prevent fungus.I am very allergic to mold.
Actually I am not new to growing plants, I have been growing plants for 40 years.
The reason for a hydrometer to measure humidity is not just plants, but general health. If the humidity in your home is below 30% its unhealthy and makes you more prone to Chapped skin and lips, Scratchy nose and throat, Breathing problems.
but thanks, all suggestions are appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 5:46PM
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Polly381(5/6)

hydrometers and humidifiers

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 5:48PM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

All this is just interesting to me to learn. I am not interested in creating an environment where one room has to be hot / cold / or a certain humidity. If I had a plant like that then I need to know because while I love this new hobby and am really into plants and all this, I have 2 young boys. Which means I will be camping, attending sporting events for both, vacationing and just being with them every moment I can. So I need relatively low maintenance plants.

I also am interested in overall humidity in my home (this home) for my husband. Ever since we have been here he has been having issues with his nose/breathing/blowing his nose/nose bleeds(often)/and overall super dry in his nose.
This has been most of the summer as well not just since the heat has been on. I am desperately trying to figure it out because if any of you women are married know...men whine when they are sick or just out of sorts. Not only that, I do feel bad that he is going through this especially the bloody noses.

It is either the air in the house or there are mold issues here as hubby is also allergic to mold. No one else is having these issues...so I just dont know anymore. :)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 8:30PM
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Polly381(5/6)

Hi Tiff
I get nose bleeds from dry heat. I am also allergic to mold. Thats why the humidity in my house has to be monitered. I haven't always run a humidifer in the winter but this year I am going to. If you have excess moisture in the summer the best thing to do is run a dehumidifer. Find the mold and use clorox to clean it and destroy it.
Does he have asthma?
is your home on a crawl space or a leaky basement? Both of those can aggravate the problem.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 8:47PM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

Hey Polly!
No he doesnt have asthma. We recently moved in with his dad as we sold our home to purchase a bigger one with the addition of our second child. The problem is this...the carpet is from the 70's. It is a pretty shag orange. They just recently got air conditioning in the house maybe a year ago, two at the very most. The issue is mold spores possibly in the carpet. I live in Pittsburgh, Pa and we can have some hot, humid summers...so with that being said, who the heck knows what is in this carpet. I know it is on the list to be replaced. I just dont know when. I am hoping soon, but who knows.
In our previous home hubby always complained of dryer heat in the house even though we had a humidifer hooked up the furnance. It was old and I dont think it ever worked properly. But he never ever had nose bleeds like this. This is insane. He has had at least 6-10 nose bleeds in the last 3 months.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:14PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Can we get the name of the instrument correct, at least? HyGrometers measure the relative humidity of the air. HyDrometers are inserted into liquids to measure their specific gravity (relative density) . Hydrometers are used in the making of wine and beer, for example.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:35PM
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Polly381(5/6)

ahh ok thank you Rhizo for straightening me out on that.

Tiff
when we built our new home we didn't put in ANY carpets. they are the worst when you have allergies. I am in PA too so I hear ya about the humidity in the summer.
The dry heated air dries out the membranes in your nose and causes bleeding, but if it certainly could be irritation from the carpet. If you are going to be there a while, you might be better off ripping up the carpet and putting down some kind of sheet flooring, anything but carpet.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 10:48AM
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birdsnblooms

Larry..summer 2012, was the first time we bought a/c..
I usually don't have a problem w/heat, in fact I love sunny, warm/hot days, but after 3 weeks at 100-104F/40C, plus being sick, I gave in..we got an a/c July 5th.
Prices vary...one doesn't have to win the lottery..lol. I don't like feeling cold, so after the house dipped at 72F/22C, I turned it off, and we didn't run it while sleeping.

Polly and Tiff..My dh has the same symptoms. Our heat is turned on low, but the air is dry..(although I just checked all 3 hygrometers read 40-42% depending on room.) The last 3 weeks he's had flu-like symptoms..this happened previous years so we know his problems are due to dry air. He has nose bleeds, too.

Where does mold come from? My sister keeps her house spotless..she hasn't any plants, lol.
Yet, there's mold on certain walls..They've used several products to rid mold, but it returns.. Why is that?

Rhizo, first, how have you been? Hope all is well.

Amyway, my dh makes his own beer, uses a HyDrometer. Since I'm 'duh,' in chemistry, and even though he's explained the reason a HyDrometer is needed to make a batch, I don't understand..Where did HyDrometer fit in... Toni

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 10:53AM
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nankeen(z8b Portland OR)

We recently bought a humidifier that is attached to the furnace for our forced air system. It keeps humidity at 56% year round, with both AC and heat. I love it. It ran about $250, but was "free" with our new furnace. No more chapped dry skin and no nosebleeds. Only problem is that whenever I visit anyone else's house for the weekend I get super dried out!

Also, the little portable weather stations all have a hygrometer feature now adays.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 11:15AM
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birdsnblooms

Nan, our furnace is similar to Fred Kruegers. lol..We even coin it, Fred Krueger's furnace. Although it's an antique, it's equipped w/a metal humidity pocket..takes about 2 gallons.

Problem, it's very rusted, so don't know if using it is a good idea. Inhaling rust? Unsure if breathing rust is harmful, so afraid to chance it.

Added water, off and on in the past..the following day the pocket was empty so it either works, or rust is absorbing water.

56% is perfect...for people and tropicals/semi-tropicals. Toni

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 1:09PM
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Polly381(5/6)

Hopeful
Where does mold come from? My sister keeps her house spotless..she hasn't any plants, lol.
Yet, there's mold on certain walls..They've used several products to rid mold, but it returns.. Why is that

Sounds like moisture is entering into her walls. She might my son has the same problem at his home.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 3:28PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Mold is in the air constantly. Same with algae spores.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 3:51PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I feel for all you folks w/ the allergies & molds. Happily, I've not had any issues w/ that. I was very allergic to certain foods as a kid & pets & dust, etc., but in adult years was fine w/ plants. (Sadly was a smoker for 40 yrs.+, but no more.) I've never gotten mold or fungus from humidity trays.

I too have heard & read that carpets are particularly bad for folks w/ allergies, asthma, dust & mite issues. Any chance you could just go w/ bare floors? I have hardwood floors so I'm lucky in that respect (I dislike carpet anyway).

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 6:26PM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

ACK, I posted a reply and it made me sign in. Ggrr.
Hope I can remember what I said now.

Toni. If your sister has a mold issue she should have that looked at ASAP. Mold can be very dangerous!!.. There might be a serious issue behind the walls with moisture.

Personally, I dont like hardwood. It feels cold to me. I prefer carpet and hubby as well. Better to play with the kids on, I like laying on the carpet to watch tv, etc. I have a fetish running the sweeper on carpet as well. I am weird I know.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 9:18PM
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