There are many reasons why your family needs humidity in your home. With people spending 90 percent of their time indoors, maintaining indoor air quality is a modern necessity. Dry air can cause damage to your home and your health; however, you can prevent this damage with a humidifier. But what exactly is a humidifier? How does it work? And what are the benefits? Let’s take a look at how humidifiers work and what the benefits are.
Types of Humidifiers
Humidifiers are often broken down into two categories:
- portable or central – which determines the size or coverage of the humidifier; and
- cool mist or warm mist – which describes the water temperature used.
The best humidifier for you depends on your preferences and what is right for your family. Regardless of which type you choose, only filtered water should be used to prevent mold or bacteria growth.
Portable humidifiers are best suited for single-room use because they are too small to effectively humidify an entire home. These models can be handy because they are inexpensive and can be moved from room to room depending on your needs. However, you will need to fill and clean them frequently to maintain the water quality. Also, they contain smaller motors made for shorter periods of continuous use, and can therefore have a more limited lifespan.
Central humidifiers are attached to your home’s furnace over a hole cut into the return air duct. A central model lets you humidify your entire home at once. It also allows you to monitor and control your home’s relative humidity.
This is done by using a small water line to bring water to moisten the pad. Water flow is regulated by a low-voltage electronic valve and a humidistat that measures and maintains the relative humidity according to your settings. A short air duct from the supply side (near the plenum) brings warmed air into the humidifier. The warmed air then flows through the pad and into the return duct, carrying the moisture throughout the home.
Central humidifiers should have yearly maintenance to keep them running efficiently. Before heating season begins in autumn, schedule a professional furnace maintenance visit with Enercare.
Cool mist humidifiers
Cool mist humidifiers distribute air throughout a room using room-temperature water. This is either done with an evaporative model that uses a fan to blow the air out, or with an ultrasonic model that uses ultrasonic vibration technology to push the out air. Cool mist models tend to use less energy because they don’t have to use up electricity to heat the water before it releases the air. If you have children in your home, it’s recommended that you choose a cool mist model because there is less risk of burn injuries.
Warm mist humidifiers
Warm mist humidifiers heat the water first before dispersing the air into a room. Although there is a higher burn danger, the warm mist models have the benefit of killing bacteria and mold. They can also make your room feel warmer, which could save you some heating costs in the winter. However, they use more electricity than the cool mist models because they need to first boil the water before releasing the air.
Benefits for Your Health
Use of a humidifier comes with many health benefits. If the air in your home is too dry, breathing passages in your nose and lungs can dry out, causing irritation that can lead to nosebleeds, sinus infections and dry eye. It can also cause or aggravate chapped, dry and itchy skin, particularly for those with psoriasis. Humidifiers put moisture in the air that can help prevent such irritations. . They are also particularly beneficial to use during sleep and when you are sick because they can alleviate cold and flu symptoms, break up congestion and reduce asthma and allergy symptoms.
You should keep in mind though that too much humidity can also cause problems. If moisture levels get above 55-60 percent, it can cause condensation problems and spread mold and mildew. Maintaining the humidity in your home at about 35 – 45% avoids these problems.
Benefits for Your Home
Too much dry air in your home doesn’t just affect you and your family, but the structure of your home itself. Without enough humidity, structural beams and posts can shrink, causing your floors to sag. Hardwood floors, molding and valuable antiques can be ruined by low indoor humidity. Also, static electricity builds up, which can damage sensitive electronic gadgets and computer components. Using a humidifier can prevent this damage to your home, while also offering the added benefit of keeping your houseplants alive by keeping them from drying out. It can also save you money by allowing you to turn down your thermostat an extra one or two degrees.
Although there are several factors to consider around the type of humidifier to choose, they can all improve the health of you and your family.
Get in touch with Enercare to learn how to create a healthy home environment and the kind of humidifier that is right for you.