What Does a Humidifier Do

Ever wondered how you can improve your health at home? A humidifier is a great start. These units add water droplets to the air to improve your respiratory system, and the steam can relieve flu-like symptoms in the winter months as well as soothe dry, sore skin. Let’s answer the question, ‘what does a humidifier do?’

What Does a Humidifier Do?

There are several types of humidifiers, but all of which come with various health benefits. Essentially, a humidifier emits water vapour into the air with a mist to increase the humidity levels. More importantly, these devices help to optimise the humidity levels, so the air isn’t too much or dry (both are bad for your health and home).

By adding water droplets to the air, it counteracts any dry air that could be causing chapped lips, nose bleeds, colds, dry skin, persistent cough and more. Humidifiers can go beyond these benefits and reduce snoring and help you sleep better at night.

How Humidity Is Measured

Since air humidity in an indoor space is a huge part of having a humidifier, it’s important that you (or a device) can measure the humidity levels. This measurement term is called ‘relative humidity’ and is a ratio of the amount of water found in the air versus how much water the air can hold. By assessing the current moisture levels and air quality, you’ll know if your humidifier works for your indoor air.

Furthermore, the temperature has a significant role in the humidity level because hot air can hold more moisture than colder temperatures. Choose a humidifier that comes with a humidity measurer, but if it doesn’t, you can purchase a separate hygrometer to accurately measure the humidity levels in your home manually. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an ideal humidity should be around below 60%.

Factors That Affect Indoor Humidity

So how does humidity become a problem in the first place, and what factors affect indoor humidity? Below are some of the main factors that contribute to poor humidity.

Too High or Too Low Temperature

The weather and indoor temperature are two of the biggest problems for humidity because when the temperature rises, the air can hold more moisture, which raises humidity. Alternatively, as the temperature drops, the air can’t hold onto much moisture, which makes it dry and decreases humidity.

Poor Ventilation

A poorly ventilated home requires a humidifier to remove hot air and replace it with fresh air. And poor ventilation can cause dampness and mould growth because the humidity and temperature rise subsequently. An obvious sign of poor ventilation is a build-up of condensation on your windows.

Insufficient Home Materials

Finally, your home’s materials can become a big part of humidity, too. For example, good airtightness allows you to control ventilation and temperature. However, some building materials, including reinforced concrete, make it difficult to control condensation, which, as a result, can affect humidity levels.

Humidifier Benefits and Why You Need One

There are many reasons to purchase humidifiers for your home, and below are some common reasons to add moisture to the air.

Reduce Snoring

If you live with a partner who snores, you know how irritating it is to sleep next to them all night. And, if you tend to breathe through your mouth while you sleep, you can wake up the following day feel hydrated and groggy. Fortunately, humidifiers used throughout the night can help to soothe a sore throat and dryness in the nose. These units regularly add a mist to the air, which can help you to sleep more comfortably and even minimise snoring.

Home Improvements

Another great benefit of using humidifiers is that balanced humidity can help wood furnishings to last longer. And the improved humidity conditions can also produce happier and healthier plants, as they’ll receive more moisture compared to a home with drier air.

Avoids Static

If you’ve ever noticed that your hair becomes frizzy in the winter months, it could be completely down to the humidity. Or maybe you experience static electricity when you’re taking the sheet off your bed. Dry air can contribute to these issues, and although static electricity doesn’t always hurt, it can become a safety hazard if it builds upon electronic devices. Fortunately, improved humidity levels can avoid static or at least reduce its effects.

Loosens Congestion

When there’s little moisture in the air, it can contribute to mucus becoming dry and thick, which can clog your nasal passages. It can then lead to a stuffy nose, sinus pain and sore throat. However, when using a humidifier, there’s more moisture in the air, which helps to break up phlegm within the nose and chest.

Prevents Dry Skin

A humidifier conditions the skin, leaving it feeling moisturised. If you have dry skin, it can become sore and even crack or wrinkle easily. Fortunately, humidifiers are a great way to rehydrate the skin without using external creams. If your skin is already cracked and damaged and you have humid air on top of that, it’ll increase the dryness, scratching and overall irritation.

Humidifier Disadvantages

Humidifiers are great devices, but many types can lead to problems in your home and with your health.

Condensation Build-Up

First, a humidifier can contribute to a build-up of condensation if it’s not in the best working order or the wrong settings. In which case, a humidifier will create growth of mould, dust mites and bacteria. Although these microorganisms aren’t life-threatening, they can make asthma symptoms much worse, and there are even millions of people who are allergic to these microorganisms.


Humidifiers require lots of care and maintenance; you can’t just expect to plug it in and experience all of the benefits of less dry air without any maintenance. From time to time, you must refill your humidifier (preferably with filtered water and not tap water), and they require cleaning to an impeccable standard every time.

If you lead a busy life where you’re constantly working or studying, this level of maintenance to improve the indoor air quality might seem like a burden to you.

Warm vs Cool Mist Humidifiers

Not sure which humidifier is best to use in your home? A cool-mist humidifier is a preferred option if you have small children running around at home because there’s no hot steam that can burn them if they get close to the device. In the event of a spillage, there isn’t any hot water to burn a child, either.

A cool-mist humidifier can ease coughing and congestion caused by a cold, but there’s still research that needs to be completed. Furthermore, cool and warm mist humidifiers are effective at humidifying the air. By the time the water vapour reaches your airways, it’s the same temperature regardless of whether it was warm or cool, to begin with.

Is It Good to Sleep With a Humidifier?

It’s completely safe to sleep with a humidifier on overnight. If you snore, a humidifier can prevent you from having a dry mouth when you wake up the following day. As long as you’re away from how your body reacts to using a humidifier, there shouldn’t be any issues with having one switched on while you sleep. In fact, having reduced dry air in your home could actually help you to unwind better and get more shut-eye at night.

When Should You Use a Humidifier?

There are plenty of signs and symptoms to look out for that will suggest it’s time for a humidifier. Below are some examples that it’s time to start using a humidifier.

Dry, Itchy Skin

If you’re running through a lot of body lotion, hand cream and lip balm, it might be worth using a humidifier to add a cool mist to the air in your home. The extra water content in the air can relieve these symptoms and improve the overall appearance and texture of your skin.

Sore Throat, Runny Nose and Cough

If it’s not flu season and winter months aren’t approaching, but you’re often experiencing a sore throat, cough, runny nose, congested sinus and more, it might be time to invest in mist humidifiers.

Cracks in Furniture

It’s likely not one of your preferences to have furniture and wallpaper with cracks in it, and this can often be caused by a combination of overusing an air conditioner and little water vapour in the air. The best thing to do is use a whole-house humidifier to protect your furnishings and add moisture back to the air to prevent any further damage.

What Does an Ultrasonic Humidifier Do?

Ultrasonic humidifiers are a simple device that includes a water reservoir and a diaphragm. This diaphragm vibrates at a high frequency that humans can’t hear it. These vibrations proper small water droplets into the air, adding humidity to the room it’s in. There’s no heating element used with these types of humidifiers.

Moreover, one of the biggest benefits of this type of humidifier is the amount of moisture it can add to the air. However, you’ll need to properly assess the humidity, as the air may become too moist, resulting in dampness and mould. As a result, it’s necessary to have a humidistat to detect humidity and switch off the mist once the air has enough moisture.

What Does a Humidifier Do For Your Health?

Humidifiers are a great way to add moisture to the air you breathe indoors. These intelligent units improve the humidity indoors, so you can breathe without issues, get better sleep and feel better health benefits. The air in your home may not be as healthy and clean as you think!

After reading some of the advantages and disadvantages of a humidifier and learning what does a humidifier do, would you consider owning one and using one in your household? Let us know your thoughts, along with any additional benefits that you know, in the comments.

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