Why You Need A Humidifier
Many people don’t realize the benefit that humidifiers actually offer. For the most part, they’re only used during the winter months in order to help with the air being so dry. The reason why the air gets dry during these months is actually because we put the heat on in our homes. While the heat is desirable for warming us up, it decreases the humidity in the air, therefore leaving you with a very dry environment. Many people don’t realize that dry air indoors can actually lead to any of the following:
- Dry, cracking skin and lips
- Bloody noses
- Itchy, dry, or sore throats
- Abnormally dry sinus passages
- Heightened static electricity build-up
While most of those were related to your personal health and hygiene, the extremely dry air can actually lead to damage to your home. Things like wallpaper and wood furniture or floors can take a beating from the lack of moisture. Typically, wallpaper will begin to peel at the edges and any wooden furniture may begin to crack, warp, or separate. Another thing that was mentioned in the list was static electricity. While this is generally regarded as annoyance if you touch something and are shocked, it can actually do great damage to electronics, so it is a hazard to your belongings as well.
If you run a humidifier regularly, it should help to eliminate those issues along with the issues to your personal health. Oftentimes, you’ll actually find that colds, allergies, congestion issues, sinus infections, and asthma flare-ups are directly related to dry air. If you run a humidifier in your home, you should find those symptoms slow down and not flare up so often. On top of that, these days there’s actually humidifiers that allow you to insert respiratory medications in the machine and it will distribute it in the air to further eliminate those illnesses and symptoms.
Which Humidifier Is Right For Me?
In order to find best humidifier and answer this question, it’s easiest to break it down into a few more specific questions.
How Large Of An Area Must Be Humidified?
It’s fairly obvious that everyone has different dimensions to their house, so this answer will be different for everyone, but there’s even another variable about whether or not you even need it to reach through the entire house. Many times, you’ll actually find that people will only choose to humidify one or two rooms in the home as opposed to the entire thing. If this is the situation you find yourself faced with, a tabletop humidifier should be more than enough to fill your needs. Typically these are portable and allow you to reach one or two normal sized rooms. Something like the Germ Guardian H4600 120-Hour Ultrasonic Digital humidifier is a great choice.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to add moisture to multiple rooms in your home, you’re probably going to need a console humidifier. Some of these can actually deliver moisture to over 3,000 square feet! Typically, these would be placed in a central location and allowed to run for the majority of the day. Something like the Essick Air H12-400 3 Speed Evaporative Console Humidifier is a great choice if you find yourself in the market for this type of machine.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to add moisture to a large area such as an office or larger home, you may want to look into a drum humidifier. Typically, these will allow you to hook them up to your central air system and will continually disperse moisture into your environment. There’s even an option with the Honeywell Whole House Bypass Humidifier which allows you to tap right into your water supply and remove the need for you to ever refill it!
What Are You Trying To Accomplish?
Each humidifier offers different services, so you need to determine which you find a need for and research those types of devices.
1) Cool Mist Humidifiers
These are typically used for a larger area and are designed to use less electricity than a standard humidifier. This being said, the compromise is that they often are much louder than other models which is considered a drawback to many. Again, there are multiple types of cool mist humidifiers, so here are a couple:
- Impeller Humidifiers: These make use of a disc that spins and propels water through a screen which breaks it up into a fine mist and releases it into the air.
- Evaporative Humidifiers: These are typically much more popular than impeller humidifiers and use a large wick filter that actually absorbs water from the bank inside the unit. From there, a fan draws air in from the room and pushes it back out past this wick which allows the water to be carried back off into the air. Another bonus of having this type of machine is that the wick helps to filter out any impurities in the water bank, therefore giving you cleaner air.
2) Warm Mist Humidifiers
These machines typically will use some sort of an element that’s heated to heat water stored in the bank and release it into the air. The benefit to this is that it adds comfortable moisture as opposed to the cold and damp moisture that’s added from cool mist humidifier models. Usually a warm mist humidifier will use slightly more electricity due to the heating process. This being said, they’re often considered as being more healthy because through boiling the water, the impurities are destroyed so they’re never able to even enter the air you’re breathing. Just as with the cool mist models, the warm mist models also have a variety of types, so here are a couple:
- Vaporizers: These are often very basic and actually push out steam into the air. Typically, these allow for you to mix respiratory medication into the steam in order to release it into the air. Oftentimes, these use electrodes to heat the water and have very basic controls without any extra features built-in.
- Steam Humidifiers: Again, these release visible steam into the air and when being used in a cooler environment, they’ll often give the feeling that the air is actually warmer and allow you to avoid having to adjust your thermostat.
3) Ultrasonic Humidifiers
The ultrasonic models are available in both warm and cool mist options and use high-frequency sound waves in order to move a metal diaphragm extremely rapidly. In doing this, it actually releases very fine water droplets and disperses them into the are in a fog-like state. These ultrasonic models are generally the most quiet of all types of humidifiers because the sound waves they emit are too high of a frequency for human ears to hear.
As mentioned previously, it really just depends on what you need personally when you’re trying to choose a humidifier. Everyone’s different and requires different service for a specific budget. This being said, here are a few tips to help you further decide:
- As a general rule, warm mist humidifiers are less noisy than the cool versions since they don’t make use of a fan to disperse the moisture. This being said, the ultrasonic humidifiers are even quieter and make great options for a bedroom or place that requires focus and concentration.
- After all is said and done, all types of humidifiers will make the environment feel warmer just because of the moisture in the air. This being said, the warm mist models will typically make it feel even warmer, because the moisture is being released at a warmer temperature than the room is. On the other hand, cool mist models only release the water at room temperature.
- The humidifiers that make use of a wick actually require more maintenance, because you have to be sure to keep the wick clean on a regular basis. You should also keep in mind that any germ-reducing filter, demineralization filter, or even ultraviolet light bulbs will need to be replaced regularly in order to keep your humidifier performing properly.
Features For Convenience
As time goes on, technology increases and features are added that weren’t available previously. Here are a few recent additions to many humidifiers that you might come across:
- Indicator Lights: These typically are used to let you know that the water reserve is running low or when the models filters need to be replaced or cleaned.
- Automatic Shutoff: You may be faced with a time where you’ve forgotten to refill your humidifier and if this is the case, many models today will automatically shut off. This helps conserve energy as well as look out for safety.
- Air Cleaning Pre-Filter: These are typically built-in for those who suffer from allergies or asthma. These are used to clean the air and remove any mold, dust, pollen, or pet dander before it’s recycled back into the air.
- Hygrometer: A hygrometer actually measures the humidity of a specific area and displays the reading by percentage. This allows you to see what percent your environment is at and allows you to adjust accordingly.
- UV Germicidal Light: These are featured in ultraviolet humidifiers and are used to kill germs which reside within stagnant water. Again, this is beneficial to those who suffer from allergies and asthma.
- Demineralization Cartridge: When you use hard water to fill your humidifier, it can create a build-up of unwanted white dust. This isn’t harmful in itself, but it looks rather unsightly and eventually it can actually aggravate the respiratory system of some individuals. The demineralization cartridge was developed in order to remove the mineral content, thus removing the white build-up.
Care & Maintenance
Many people think that humidifiers are set and forget, but in all reality if you’re not careful they can actually be more harmful than helpful. The biggest thing that requires upkeep is the cleaning on a regular basis. If you avoid doing this, you could be circulating harmful bacteria and germs into the air that you’re breathing every day. Even though you may not have allergies, the continued breathing of this can develop lung infections or even allergies that you didn’t have previously.
In order to play it safe, if you’re using your humidifier on a daily basis, you should set aside time to clean it out at least once a week. Typically there will be instructions for this that were included with your purchase when you first received it. You may also want to use distilled or de-mineralized water instead of water straight from the tap inside your humidifier. This will help avoid a build-up of minerals and germs. Remember, filters also need to be changed regularly and should be addressed in your owners manual.