At Home with Lisa: The right home humidity can help keep you comfortable

It’s been a hot and dry autumn, with very little rain. During the day, I’m keeping my curtains open to soak up all that nice warm sun, but in the evenings, it’s starting to get a little chilly.

Avista’s website has lots of tips on how to keep the chill outside when temperatures begin to drop. But I’m not ready to turn on any of my heaters just yet, so I’m looking for ways to maintain comfort. One way involves humidity. I keep a humidity gauge around the house that I got at Avista’s Energy Fair a couple of years ago. I learned then that when the humidity of a room drops below 30%, it can feel colder. The sweet spot is between 30 and 45%, depending on the home and surrounding temperatures. You can find humidity gauges online for under $5.

One way to increase your home’s humidity is very simple: make dinner. A slow-simmering soup can increase the humidity in your home and make it feel warmer. The other day I made a white bean soup to warm me up inside and out.

I poured about a cup and a half of dry navy beans into a bowl and covered them with water. Then I let them soak overnight. That afternoon, I browned some bulk Italian sausage over medium high heat, added about a cup of chopped onion and a couple of cloves of garlic. When the onions were translucent, I deglazed the pot with about a half a cup of white wine, but you can use chicken broth if you like.

Once I scraped up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot, I added two cups of chicken broth and 5 cups of water. I drained my beans and added them to the pot, along with a bay leaf, a little bit of red pepper flakes and some salt to taste. Once it all came to a boil, I reduced the heat to in between medium low and medium.

I sat down and watched a spooky movie for the next hour or so, keeping an eye on my soup. When the beans were tender, I used a potato masher on them to thicken the soup and tore up about four cups of spinach. You can use whatever greens you like. Once the greens were wilted, I dished up my soup with a little bit of parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

What long-simmering soup will you make to warm your home this fall?

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.

Avista’s website has lots of tips on how to keep the chill outside when temperatures begin to drop.

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  1. At Home with Lisa
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