Do you wake up feeling like you have a mouth full of cotton balls every morning? Are your nasal passages constantly dry and irritated? Do you or your special someone snore, keeping each other awake at night? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you may be one of the many people who suffer from the dry winter air. Don’t fret; there’s an accessible solution to these problems: getting a humidifier.
What does a humidifier do? Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which can help improve your quality of life during the winter months. If you rely on air conditioners throughout the warm summer days, humidifiers can help in this case, too.
In this article, we’ll discuss what humidifiers do in detail, the benefits of using one, and the types available to help you choose the right humidifier for your home.
What Is a Humidifier?
A humidifier is a device that emits water vapour or steam into the air. This is to increase the humidity or the amount of water vapour present in the air.
There are many reasons the air in your home could be dry. The most common one is the weather. Low temperatures and humidity levels outside often cause cold, dry air inside our homes.
Another reason could be that you live in an area with hard water. This type of water contains a high concentration of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. When the water evaporates, these minerals are left behind and can cause the air to feel dry.
Additionally, the air in your home could be dry if the house is poorly insulated. This is due to cracks through which dry air from the outside can get into your home and cause the humidity levels to drop.
Finally, forced-air heating or cooling systems can also contribute to dry air. When the heating is on, it causes the water in the air to evaporate quickly, leaving the air dry and capable of causing numerous health issues you can prevent simply by installing a humidifier in your home.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Humidifier?
Some humidifier benefits include:
- Relieving dry skin
- Soothing a sore throat
- Preventing nosebleeds
- Alleviating congestion
- Improving sleep quality
In addition to all this, a humidifier might help with snoring and help stop airborne viruses.
But humidifiers aren’t just beneficial to your health – they are good for your home as well. They can help protect your furniture from cracking or splitting and with static in your house, which can damage your house appliances.
Types of Humidifiers
Now that we know the benefits of using a humidifier, let’s look at the different types available. The three most common types are ultrasonic, evaporative humidifier, and steam vaporizers.
Ultrasonic humidifiers use high-frequency sound vibrations to create water droplets that are released into the air. These are the quietest type of humidifiers and are often used in bedrooms.
Evaporative humidifiers work by pulling in dry air and passing it over a wet wick filter. The water is then evaporated into the air and released. These types of humidifiers are less expensive than ultrasonic humidifiers.
Steam vaporizers heat water to create steam, which is then released into the air. These are the most expensive type of humidifiers, but they also emit the most moisture.
Risks of Using a Humidifier
While there are many benefits to using a humidifier, there are also some potential risks if they are not used properly. One of the most common problems is that humidifiers can breed bacteria and mould if they’re not cleaned regularly.
Another potential problem is that high indoor humidity levels can be harmful. They can lead to dust mites, which thrive in moist environments and can cause respiratory problems. Excessive moisture can also cause condensation on windows, which can lead to mould.
If you have asthma or allergies, it’s important to talk to your doctor before using a humidifier, as it may trigger these health issues or make your symptoms worse. Even though a vaporizer can help with dry cough and other symptoms caused by the dryness in the air, you should make sure you’re not overdoing it with your humidifier.
These days, most humidifiers come with an integrated hygrometer, which can give you information on the current home humidity level, so it’s easier to control. If the device of your choice doesn’t come with a hygrometer, you should purchase a separate one. Keep the humidifier at 40%-50% to avoid any potential problems.
Lastly, if you have kids or pets in your household, you should know that warm-mist humidifiers cause burns for younglings if they get too close, so in this case, it’s best to choose a cold-mist humidifier instead.
Cleaning Your Humidifier
To minimize the potential risks of using a humidifier, it is essential to clean it regularly. Most manufacturers recommend that you clean your humidifier weekly.
To clean your humidifier, you should:
- Unplug the humidifier and empty the water tank.
- Remove any mineral deposits from the tank with vinegar or a descaling solution.
- Clean all other parts of the air humidifier with soap and water.
- Rinse everything well and dry completely before reassembling.
- Fill the tank with fresh water and add a new filter (if applicable).
To prevent mineral buildup, you should also descale your humidifier every three to six months.
Cost of a Humidifier
Now that you know all about humidifiers, you may be wondering how much one will cost you. The price of a humidifier depends on the type and features you choose.
The most basic single-room ultrasonic humidifiers start at around $30, while the more advanced models can cost up to $200.
Evaporative humidifiers are typically less expensive than ultrasonic humidifiers, with the most basic models starting at around $20.
Steam vaporizers, or their most popular sort, cool-mist humidifier, are the most expensive type of humidifier, with the most basic models starting at around $60.
Tips for Using a Humidifier
- Place the humidifier in an area where it can’t be easily toppled.
- Check the water level often and refill as needed.
- Clean the humidifier regularly to prevent bacteria and mould growth.
- Don’t use regular tap water in your humidifier, as this can lead to mineral buildup. Opt for demineralized water instead.
- Use a humidistat/hygrometer to monitor and regulate the amount of moisture in the air.
If you live in a dry climate or have asthma or allergies, a humidifier can be a great way to improve your indoor air quality and create an ideal humidity for your house. Just be sure to follow these tips to prevent any side effects or potential problems.
Can I use tap water in my humidifier?
Yes, you can use tap water in your humidifier. However, distilled water might be a better solution because tap water causes mineral buildup.
Can you put essential oils in a humidifier?
While it may seem initially like a good idea as this could make your home smell pleasant on top of providing a good humidity level in the air, it’s not recommended to use essential oils in your humidifier. This is because essential oils can damage the humidifier, especially if it’s an evaporative one.
However, some humidifiers allow the use of essential oils. Check the manual that came with your humidifier to be sure.
Why does my humidifier make my room foggy?
Excessive house humidity is often the result when the humidifier is not set up correctly. If you notice that your humidifier is making your room foggy, try moving it to a different location. You might also want to make sure that the humidifier is not set too high.
What does sleeping with a humidifier do?
Sleeping with a humidifier can help you breathe better at night. If you have sinus problems or allergies, the humidifier will moisten the air and make it easier to breathe. It can also help to prevent snoring.
Do I have to empty my humidifier every day?
No, you don’t have to empty your humidifier every day. However, it’s important to check the water level often and refill as needed. You should also clean the humidifier regularly to prevent bacteria and mould growth.