Humidifiers are a vital part of any home. They not only make life more comfortable for everyone, but they also go a long way in ensuring that everyone inside your home is healthier. They also help protect your wooden furniture and unpolished wooden parts of your home from excessive dryness that could result in cracks.
A humidifier is the exact opposite of a dehumidifier. Instead of reducing excess moisture from the environment, a humidifier will add moisture in the air to reduce excessive dryness. Excessive dryness brings a number of health problems hence the need to humidify.
When shopping for a humidifier, it is important to understand how they work, the various options available, what you can do with them, and what to expect when it comes to maintenance. To help make you a more informed buyer, here is a list of the most common questions about humidifiers.
How do humidifiers work?
Humidifiers essentially perform two functions. First, they convert water into vapor, and after that, they discharge this vapor into the environment. Different types of humidifiers accomplish these two functions differently, but the primary mode of operation is the same. Some models will make work easier for you by incorporating a monitoring system that will turn the device on when humidity levels in the air reach a certain minimum and turn it off when a given maximum is reached.
What are the different types of humidifiers?
We have already mentioned that there are different types of humidifiers and each one adds moisture to the air in a different way. Here are the different types and how each one works:
Evaporative humidifiers – These humidifiers are also known as wick humidifiers, and they work by forcing dry air through a wick that is saturated with water. By passing through this wick, some moisture will be absorbed by the air before it is pushed back into the room. These humidifiers are generally more affordable, but you will need to clean them regularly and replace the wick filter every three months or so.
Steam vaporizers – Commonly known as warm mist humidifiers, these do a great job of keeping the room humid. They work by heating water till it boils so that it can vaporize and produce steam. This steam is then released into the air. They are great for winter because on top of increasing moisture content in the air; the warm steam also helps keep the house warm. They are however not recommended in homes with young children because the steam is hot enough to burn them if they come into contact with it as it is being released.
Impellers – Also known as cool mist humidifiers, these ones have a rotating disc that sends water through a diffuser. The diffuser is the main component because it breaks water droplets into small particles that are released into the air in the form of a cool mist. Unlike vaporizers, these ones will not burn any children playing around.
Ultrasonic Humidifiers – These are also cool mist humidifiers hence they can be used around kids. They contain a metal plate that is vibrated at an ultrasonic frequency to break down water particles into vapor. This vapor is then released as a cool mist into the air.
What is the ideal humidity level in a home?
A healthy humidity level should be between 30% and 50%. You don’t want air that is too dry to cause health concerns, and at the same time, you don’t want to create a conducive environment for mold, mildew and other bacteria to flourish. Some humidifiers come with a monitoring system for this, but if you pick one that doesn’t, you can invest in a cheap hygrometer that will arm you with the necessary information to adjust the humidity levels accordingly.
What is humidifier capacity?
The capacity of a humidifier is the maximum amount of moisture that it can push in a 24 hour period. Of course, you will most likely not need to run it at full capacity all day because you should turn it off or move it to another room once you achieve healthy humidity levels.
However, the capacity will tell you how quick the device will be able to get you to the required humidity level. Most people confuse humidifier capacity with the size of the water reservoir which is the amount of water that the reservoir can hold when filled completely.
What size do I need?
This will depend on the size of the rooms in your home. If you need to humidify larger areas, then go for a humidifier with a higher capacity. It’s good to also think about how low the humidity typically gets in your area. If low humidity is a common problem in most months in the year, you might want to consider getting a whole-house humidifier as opposed to small tabletop models.
How much energy does a humidifier use?
This will depend on the size and type of humidifier. Larger humidifiers generally consume more energy, but they also do more. Warm mist humidifiers will consume slightly more energy than cool mist humidifiers because of the energy used in heating the water.
How loud are humidifiers?
This again will depend on the type. The general rule of thumb is that the more moving parts there are, the louder it will be. Warm mist humidifiers are generally less noisy than evaporative humidifiers because of the lack of a fan. Ultrasonic humidifiers are the quietest because they produce sound waves at frequencies higher than what we can hear.
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