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Most people simply associate the winter season with the cold and the beautiful snow. However, if you equate the colder weather with static electricity, chapped lips, and scratchy throats, then we know that you have legit lived through many winters.
Low humidity, especially in the winter, can be downright uncomfortable. Many people need a certain level of indoor humidity because extremely low humidity can cause the dryness of the skin and mucous membranes. Plus, low humidity can also make the indoor air feel colder than it is.
If you are having this kind of problem within your home, it’s high time that you install an air humidifier. For this article, we discuss how a humidifier works, its pros and cons, and a quick buyer’s guide.
How Does an Air Humidifier Work?
The most common type of humidifier is the evaporative humidifier. Aside from being the most common, this type is also quite simple and self-regulating. The humidifier features a reservoir that holds the cold water which is dispensed into a basin. There’s a wicking filter that absorbs the water from the basin. Then, the moistened filter is blown into the air with a fan.
As the air passes via the filter, it evaporates some of the water that’s present there. The higher the humidity, tougher it is to evaporate the water from the filter. This is why most air humidifiers are self-regulating. As the amount of humidity increases, the humidifier’s water vapor output, on the other hand, decreases.
There are instances where the humidifier is hooked up to the heating and cooling system of the house or building. These systems also work in a similar manner. They feature a metal mesh or screen that’s placed in a duct coming from the furnace or air conditioner. The water from the building’s pipes flows down the mesh or screen. The air coming from the duct is blown across the screen which picks up moisture.
This is just one type of humidifier and there are other types as well that accomplishes the same goal.
Pros and Cons of Humidifiers
Here are the benefits and drawbacks of using a humidifier. So you can decide whether or not you to install one for your home.
- Better Health – Perhaps the most important benefit of a humidifier is that it makes your home environment less conducive to cold and flu germs. During the winter season, the indoor air is much drier which enable airborne viruses to thrive.
- Seasonal Comfort – During winter, it’s no fun to touch something and be treated to a nice jolt of static electricity. I don’t about you but I really hate that sort of surprises. There’s also the dry skin, bloody noses, and cracked lips that permeate during winter. The presence of a humidifier will make the air inside your home a lot less dry, soothing and easing the dry air discomforts that we all experience.
- Happier Plants – Most indoor plants are of the tropical variety which thrives in, well, tropical temperatures. Come winter, most indoor plants succumb to their fate as the temps outside drops below freezing. Bringing a humidifier on board will definitely help your plants survive the harsh winter.
- Longer Life for Furniture – For all kinds of fixtures and furniture, it’s important that your living space maintains the right level of humidity. In extremely low humidity, your home furniture, fixture, and even paint can be affected. When the humidity is just right, you can trust that your home furniture will last longer.
- Save Energy and Money – Lower humidity will make the air inside your home a lot colder than it is. So our tendency is to crank up the thermostat which adds to your heating expense. Having a humidifier adds moisture to the air which will make the indoor temperature warmer and in the long run, helps you save energy and money.
- Health Concerns – Having a humidifier has always the risk of facilitating the growth of fungi and bacteria. Parts of the humidifier have moist surfaces that can become breeding grounds for microorganisms. Since the humidifier works by dispensing air, such microorganisms will become airborne and can easily spread and infect everyone in the house. This is why you need to regularly change or clean out your humidifier’s filter and tanks, and this leads to our next con…
- Another Thing to Maintain – A humidifier must be checked and cleaned on a regular basis to avoid the potential problems that we have discussed above. So upon purchasing a humidifier, check the manufacturer’s manual on how to clean and maintain the unit. It’s always a good idea to check the unit for stagnant water or film accumulation every two to three days.
- Excess Moisture – If the humidifier is not self-regulated, it can potentially put too much moisture into the air. Overly moist air is just as bad, if not worse, than dry air. Fortunately, most air humidifiers in the market are self-regulating. There are models that feature humidistats or hygrometers that allow you to check the humidity inside your home. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that the humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent.
Things to Consider When Buying a Humidifier
Before you get your home an air humidifier, you will want to ask yourself these questions:
Do I Need a Humidifier?
If you are experiencing the following symptoms during cold temperatures, chances are you need a humidifier:
- Bloody noses
- Cracked lips
- Itchy skin
- Irritated throats
- Allergy symptoms
- Asthma flare-ups
- Static shocks
Should you find these symptoms to be extremely uncomfortable, you should think about installing a humidifier.
How Much Space Do I Need to Humidify?
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a humidifier is the space. Do you only want to focus on a single room or the entire house?
To humidify a small or medium-sized space like a bedroom or home office, a portable or lightweight model should be fine. Plus, you can easily move it easily from one room to another. There are many single-room humidifiers that come with features like multiple speeds, germ protection, built-in hygrometers, and more.
On the other hand, for humidifying the whole house or any other large space, a console humidifier and whole house humidifier are best suited for the job. There are units that are capable of delivering moisture as large as 3,000 square feet.
Which Type Do I Want?
There are many different types of air humidifiers with varying benefits and drawbacks. Here are some of the most common types of humidifiers in the market:
- Cool Mist – The humidity is produced by a fan that draws the air in from the room which is then blown over or through a moistened wick in water. Parts of the water will evaporate and the vapor is added to the air which increases the humidity.
- Warm Mist – This type uses a heat element for heating the water and releasing it into the living space as warm, comfortable moisture. This type tends to consume more electricity since the water is being heated to the boiling point. However, the moisture produced is also healthier.
- Ultrasonic – This type uses a metal diaphragm vibrating at an ultrasonic frequency which yields water droplets. This type of humidifier produces a cool fog and effectively adds moisture to the air. This is a great option if you want a humidifier that operates silently.
When choosing humidifier types, it’s also important that you consider the style that you want. There are tabletop units that are lightweight and compact which can be placed on a counter, desk, table, and more. Tabletops are appropriate for humidifying a single room.
Console humidifiers are more appropriate for larger spaces and are designed to be placed on the floor. There are also whole house in-duct humidifiers that are usually installed next to the furnace and connects to the house’s water supply.
An air humidifier is an appliance that can be a fine addition to any home.
If you are suffering from the discomforts that come with the colder weather, a humidifier is definitely a worthy investment. However, it does come with its own drawbacks and benefits. So take that into account and determine if a humidifier is right for your home.
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