If your indoor air is dry, you might want a humidifier. Although you might not notice the symptoms of dry air at first, these units can be highly beneficial if you regularly use an air conditioner (which can dry out the air).
Humidifier Benefits in Your Home
Using these units in your home has many benefits to you and your family’s health. Listed below are some of the most common ones to watch out for and reasons why you need to use one often.
Improved Furniture Condition
When the humidity level becomes too low, it can affect the quality of your wood furniture. And poor humidity can also affect the paint and wallpaper in your home because there’s not enough moisture in the air to help. Furthermore, if you have wood flooring, poor indoor air quality can cause it to separate and form gaps that can fill with dust.
Enhanced Plant Health
Indoor plants need moisture to survive. When the air becomes too dry, plants can’t thrive like they normally would. In fact, they require more than 23% humidity levels. Adding a humidifier to your home can improve plant health and allow them to grow in a healthier capacity.
Reduced Energy Costs
Surprisingly, using humidifiers can reduce energy costs in your home. It is because when the humidity levels are high in your home, your body feels warmer. On the other hand, when humidity levels are low, you don’t feel the warmth. The result of this is inevitable: you’ll put the central heating on in your home. Not only will this cost you extra money, but it will also further draw moisture away from the air, leading to further skin dryness and possible respiratory problems.
Reduced Static Electricity
Another great benefit of using humidifiers is the reduced static electricity, which, let’s face it, nobody appreciates. Fortunately, these units can prevent your skirt from clinging to your legs, as well as avoid a static spark that can damage your electronic gadgets.
Everyone wants to be a healthier version of themselves, and humidifiers can help with that. These appliances add moisture to the air, making the environment indoors less likely to be consumed with cold and flu germs. As a result, humidifiers can prevent symptoms caused by the common cold, such as a sore throat. And since airborne viruses typically need cold weather to survive, you’re less likely to get ill.
Less Dry Skin
If you have dry skin on your face, lips, hands and other areas, you might need to add more moisture to the air. It makes sense considering drinking water can help to hydrate your skin in the winter months. Humidifiers increase moisture levels and improve air quality in your home, so you’re less likely to have cracked skin.
Surprisingly, these units can increase the warmth in your home. How? Because cold and dry air during the winter months make you feel the cold more—even indoors. However, when there’s more moisture in the air, your sweat evaporates slowly, which will leave you feeling warmer. As a result, a humidifier can help you to feel less cold during the winter months.
A humidifier is great for sinus relief and can alleviate any nasal congestion by providing moisture to the throat and nose. In particular, heating systems in homes can make your nasal passages feel too dry, which then provokes sinusitis and congestion. And when the air becomes too dry, your mucus won’t flow properly, which can create pain and even sinusitis.
What Is a Humidifier?
A humidifier is essentially a portable machine that increases moisture in the air to prevent dryness, thus providing you with the above humidifier benefits. Humidifiers are also highly effective at reducing the symptoms of a cold or flu, such as a runny nose, sore throat, cough and more.
Different Types of Humidifiers
Before you begin using a humidifier, you’ll need to look into the various types of humidifiers available in order to choose the right one for you. Below are the most common variations to look into.
Ultrasonic humidifiers provide a cool mist or warm mist, using a metal diaphragm that vibrates at a high frequency. These sound vibrations improve the air moisture in your home. And the water molecules are extremely small, so they’re instantly absorbed into the air.
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Ultrasonic humidifiers are virtually quiet in operation and create a cool fog of water vapour. Similar to other types of machines, you should preferably use filtered water in an ultrasonic humidifier.
As the name suggests, a warm mist humidifier produces a warm mist into the air, which can be used to treat cold and flu symptoms. Warm mist humidifiers tend to be quieter than cool mist humidifiers and are the most common type used during the winter months.
One important factor to consider with these humidifiers is that they require frequent cleaning and maintenance, which can be challenging. And these machines only tend to cover a smaller area than cool mist humidifiers. Because they produce a hot stream of air, it’s important that you keep them away from children and pets. But they’re a great option for adding a little warmth to your home without putting on the central heating.
Cool mist humidifiers come with a filter that traps minerals and impurities from the air, which can improve the health of your respiratory system. This type of humidifier can benefit from sore throat problems and eradicate dry skin on your lips. They provide a cool mist into the air, helping to prevent dry air in your home.
Furthermore, they’re typically easy to maintain and clean, and they’re effective in large spaces. These humidifiers also work well in warmer climates, as the cool mist is comfortable to breathe. However, you should bear in mind that these humidifiers require more maintenance with the filter, which should be replaced often to prevent mould and algae build-up.
Impeller humidifiers are a great option for cool mist humidifiers. An impeller humidifier produces a cool must that’s pumped into the air, and a fan blows over the wick to allow the air to absorb moisture from the water tank.
Whole House Humidifiers
A whole-house humidifier can cover a large surface area, making it ideal for big rooms and large-sized houses. In fact, they’ll cover a large area without adding to your HVAC system. You can typically go for a few days without having to fill the water tank because these units tend to be large.
When you get a larger unit, you’ll need to clean the tanks and unit at least once a week (less so if you don’t use it frequently). Plus, the filters and wicks need replacing every two to four months.
Humidifier vs Dehumidifier
Not sure what the air indoors needs? If you find that you have a sore throat due to a lack of water in the air in your home, a humidifier offers many benefits.
Alternatively, a dehumidifier takes water out of the air to offer several benefits, such as removing mould and mildew from your home as well as dust mites. And, if the air becomes too humid, you can experience allergies and even asthma.
If you’re considering a dehumidifier, there are several options to bear in mind: ionic membrane, refrigerative, electronic and desiccant.
Quick Types of Considering a Humidifier
If you’re serious about using these units, there are some important factors to consider before purchasing.
Decide On the Type of Unit
Firstly, you’ll want to choose the right choice of humidifier (from the options above). For example, a cool-mist unit works best for a child’s bedroom, where it’s safer to touch. However, a warm mist humidifier is best for areas where children can’t access it. Warm mist humidifiers also work best in the colder seasons.
Consider the Maintenance Involved
An ultrasonic or whole-house humidifier is the best option if you’re looking for a low-maintenance unit. These typically require less effort and time to clean, making them ideal if you’re stuck for time.
Settings and Preferences Available
You’ll discover lots of settings on humidifiers, such as sleep mode and automatic switch on and off. Some high-end models can even share information on the humidity levels in your home. If this is important to you, ensure that the unit has privacy settings and consider your data use through the connected app.
Many humidifiers come with a built-in hygrometer to measure the humidity indoors. If you’d rather purchase this separately, you can pick up one from various hardware stores.
Checking Humidity Levels
One of the best and most common humidifier applications is during winter. It is because the air inside is particularly dry, especially when you have the heating on. By adding water particles to the air, a humidifier can relieve cold symptoms and even nose bleeds.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you should keep humidity levels below 60 percent in summer. During winter, keep the humidifier between 25 and 50 percent. Many humidifiers come with a built-in humidistat to take these measurements for you. But if your unit doesn’t, you can purchase a separate humidity meter called a hygrometer. It will accurately measure the indoor relative humidity. If you’re going to purchase a humidifier and then not check the humidity, it seems counterproductive.
How Do You Avoid Dry Air Indoors?
Your family can greatly benefit from having a humidifier at home. Knowing what is a dehumidifier is important before deciding to buy one because there are a variety of types for you to choose from.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on caring for humidifiers. What are some ways that you prevent dry air inside your home? Let us know in the comments.