During the summer months, folks down south like to complain, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”
That’s because the humid weather makes a hot day feel hotter. But during the cold winter months of the Inland Northwest, the dry winters can make your home feel colder. That’s why I keep a humidity gauge around the house. I got it at Avista’s Energy Fair a couple of years ago. I learned then that when the humidity of a room drops below 30% it feels colder. You can find humidity gauges online for under $5.
A fun weekend project to increase the humidity in your house is to make a nice homemade bean stew. Making it from dried beans means that you will have to simmer the stew for hours, creating a steam that boosts the humidity in your house.
I use about a pound and a half of dried beans, whatever I have around the house. This time, I had some kidney beans and some great northern beans. I soaked them in some cool water for about 4 hours and then I drained and rinsed them.
I chopped a pound of bacon and cooked it in a large pot. I poured off most of the fat before I added a few minced jalapenos, a mined onion and three chopped carrots. I sauteed the veggies and bacon until the carrots were soft. I seasoned everything with salt and pepper and poured in 64 ounces of chicken broth. Once that came to a boil, I added the beans, a 15 ounce can of tomato sauce, some minced cilantro and gave it a taste before I added more salt and pepper and a bit of garlic powder.
I brought the stew to a boil and then I turned down the temperature so the stew could simmer for three or four hours. Once the stew thickened and the beans were nice and tender, I served myself a nice hot bowl with some crusty bread.
Not only was the stew a nice way to increase the humidity of my home, but it was also very reasonably priced to make. Plus, it only tasted even better the next day.
This weekend, find yourself a long-cooking soup or stew to make and see if the humidity in your home makes it feel warmer.
Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday morning.