Humidifiers have a huge role to play in maintaining humidity levels and keeping the indoor environment more comfortable. When the cold season sets in, it often means drier air. Dry air can be blamed for spreading flu and colds, itchy eyes, asthma flare ups, bloody noses, cracked skin, irritated sinuses and dry coughs. In addition to improving your comfort, boosting humidity in your home safeguards your family’s health and protects your wood furnishings and fittings as well as the structure of your home from the adverse effects of dry air.
How do humidifiers work?
There are different types of humidifiers in the market but they work by simply emitting water vapor to increase humidity levels. Humidity acts as a natural moisturizer to relieve dryness. Research has established that humidifiers can do more good than harm in remedying the symptoms of dryness, but only if well maintained.
Factors to bear in mind before buying a humidifier:
Monitor humidity levels
Humidifiers help to make breathing easier but too much humidity isn’t healthy. Excess humidity creates a moist environment which is conducive for mold, mildew, bacteria and dust mites to thrive. Consider investing in a hygrometer (a device used to measure humidity levels). Some humidifiers have built in hygrometers but should you need to buy one, they’re inexpensive and readily available at local hardware stores.
Think about location
Decide where the unit you’re planning to buy will be most effective. This will often depend on factors such as the amount of space you need to humidify. An expert can help you assess your space and choose the best type and location of unit for your space. There are built in central, console, tabletop and even floor units.
Humidifiers work in different ways and are available in several types with different benefits and drawbacks. The most common types of humidifiers in the market include vaporizers, warm mist, cool mist, impeller and ultrasonic. When choosing the type of humidifier, you’ll also want to consider the style. For instance, large capacity console humidifiers are designed to sit on the floor whereas compact tabletop versions can be placed on a counter desk, table or dresser. Be sure to check the amount of mist a humidifier can produce in a 24-hour period as it is often an indicator of how many rooms it can humidify.
In addition to the different types of humidifiers in the market, buyers should consider a few design features before making the purchase. Consider a humidifier with a humidistat, which is a built-in meter that measures the humidity levels. An automatic shut off feature can save energy by switching off the unit once there’s no water in the machine. Humidifiers wit anti-microbial technology need less cleaning as compared to those that use UV light and silver ion to kill germs and prevent mold and mildew from growing or accumulating in the unit.
Cleaning and maintenance
Humidifiers will function optimally with very little maintenance. Regular maintenance will typically involve cleaning the water tank to ensure there’s no mold, mildew or bacteria in the system or circulating through out your home. Experts advise cleaning your humidifier at least every three days by emptying the water and completely drying the unit before refilling it with distilled or demineralized water. Tap water has a huge mineral content which creates mist that leaves behind a white residue.
If you have a baby in the house, take a few precautions by ensuring the humidifier is out of reach and unplugged from power sources. Babies are very curious and the last thing you want is to have your unit accidentally toppled, leading to breakages. Humidifiers are also commonly associated with burns. Take special care of children and never let them handle humidifiers.
Also, spare some time to check misting outlets to ensure the moisture can flow easily. Most humidifiers use an internal wick filter that needs to be periodically replaced. Make use of your owner’s manual to earn more about your unit’s maintenance requirements.
Debunking myths about humidifiers
There are plenty of myths surrounding the use of humidifiers. Knowing the truth and debunking the false assertions is helpful for both first time buyers and people who are already using dehumidifiers.
Dehumidifiers cure allergies forever
Humidifiers don’t cure allergies; rather they help in soothing the symptoms. Using a humidifier is therefore just part of allergy relief. People who suffer from allergies can benefit most from cool mist humidifiers.
Humidifiers are not ideal for newborn babies
Newborns have very sensitive skin and even more sensitive respiratory systems. During the cold months, when indoor humidity levels significantly drop and central heaters are turned on, the resultant dry air can irritate a baby’s skin, lungs and nose. The cold air also helps viruses to grow. Experts actually recommend adding a humidifier to your baby’s room as they play a crucial role in the health of babies. They help to ease cold symptoms in babies by adding moisture in the air. Proper humidity levels also increase comfort levels to ensure your newborn sleeps without any problems. Humidifiers can also protect babies from dry eyes, chapped lips and itchy skin.
Humidifiers make wrinkles disappear
Well, humidifiers work wonders for your skin but they cannot get rid of wrinkles. Air can dry out your skin thus contributing to the formation of wrinkles. Humidifiers help to prevent wrinkles by keeping your skin moist and nourished.
A humidifier will damage your wooden furniture
Contrary to popular belief, a humidifier will make your wooden furniture and fittings look and feel in their best condition. Too much moisture or too dry air can damage your wood furnishings but if the humidity levels are just right, your wooden items will stay beautiful and remain preserved all year round. When it’s too dry, your furniture loses its natural luster whereas excess moisture will lead to mildew.
A well-maintained humidifier provides numerous health benefits for both adults and children. Nonetheless, a humidifier is just a home remedy and should never be considered as treatment for a medical problem. If your symptoms don’t improve or seem to be worsening because of a humidifier, stop using the humidifier and call your doctor.