Humidifiers are an excellent way to restore moisture and to help increase humidity within your room. You probably know what I mean especially if you live in a dry climate, are susceptible to allergies, or are suffering cold symptoms. If you’re like me, nothing is more frustrating than having dry sinuses or even a dry throat while trying to relax at home.
To be honest, it wasn’t until recently that I realized how effective it is to use a humidifier, especially at night. I was always the type of person to ignore purchasing them because we never really used a humidifier as a child growing up. Turning up the heater always seemed to work fine in the past so I never really bothered. Since moving closer to the mountains, the winters have been much drier than I’m used to and waking up almost every morning with dry sinuses wasn’t very pleasing. I decided to give one a try and for the past four years I’ve been an avid user.
A humidifier isn’t just for dry sinuses, allergies or colds. It also does a really good job of treating itchy eyes, dry skin, chapped lips, breathing problems (such as asthma) and even reduces the amount of static electricity within your room. Besides a dry nose, unnecessary static electricity is also kind of frustrating in my opinion. If you have a lot of computer equipment or electronics this could be a small risk and could even cause damage if you’re not careful.
Now before you go out and purchase a humidifier for your home, you need to understand the many different types that are available. Some use steam, while others are ultrasonic. Some emit warm mist, while others emit cool mist. In this article we are going to break down these types so you can understand which machine will work best for your needs as well as your home.
Cool mist humidifiers emit room temperature moisture into the air. These types usually use less electricity than warm mist machines and are also safer for your children. Since there is no heat added while using this type, you can leave this in your child’s (or baby’s) room without being too concerned with their safety. Cool mist units are also said to be able to work in larger amounts of space than warm mist units, which as a result makes them more efficient.
Warm mist humidifiers are pretty much the opposite. They heat the water in the tank and emit a warm mist into your room. This water is usually heated to a boiling point which turns into steam and is emitted out of your humidifier free of bacteria and any other impurities. Warm mist humidifier’s are known to be fairly quiet since they don’t require a fan. They do use more electricity though since heating is required.
In my opinion, these are the best humidifiers to go with if you’re suffering from cold or flu like symptoms during the winter season. Most people I know prefer to use a warm mist machine in the fall/winter and a cool mist for the spring/summer. Although, in the end there are really no rules and it all comes down to preference.
TABLETOP VS. CONSOLE VS. WHOLE HOUSE
There are generally three different sizes of humidifiers that you can purchase. Whole house humidifiers are installed physically into your homes water supply and air ducts to help naturally disperse humidity and mist throughout your home. If you’re looking to humidify your whole house and I mean like every single room then this is the best option to go with.
If you’re looking to humidify area that’s not as big house but still bigger a room, then you probably want to go with a Console unit. These units are able to move from room to room and are capable of humidifying anywhere between 600 and 3,000 ft.². This is a great option if you’re looking to use this for a single floor or to humidify more than one room. These units are generally a bit heavier and can sometimes be difficult to fill up.
Lastly, we have Tabletop units. These are much more suited for use in a single room up to 650 ft.². As a result they are usually cheaper in price when compared to console or whole house units. The benefit of tabletop units is they are easy to carry around so you can use them in different rooms depending on the time of day.
These humidifiers work by passing water through high-frequency sound waves that create vibrations via a metal diaphragm which then causes evaporation and creates mist. If you were to stare at the diaphragm you would notice just how fast this thing can vibrate. Ultrasonic styles can emit a warm or cool mist and are known to be fairly quiet.
Many ultrasonic styles use a demineralization cartridge to help keep your machine and water clean before it’s released into your room. This cartridge also helps to reduce any signs of white dust or calcium build up on your machine or on surfaces in your room. The great thing about ultrasonic humidifiers is that you don’t have to regularly replace filters. Some require you to purchase the demineralization cartridges as I stated earlier, but not all require you to do this.
Ultrasonic are some of the best machines available in my opinion. They are on the more expensive side, but because of how they produce mist, it enables them to be one of the quietest styles on the market.
Wick / Evaporative
Wick/evaporative machines use a filter, wick or a cloth to draw and absorb the water into it. A fan is then used to evaporate the water and help push it up out of the machine. This type of unit adjusts its moisture output based on the humidity of your room. If your room is already very humid, then this machine will emit less moisture. Although, if the opposite is true then it will produce more.
A lot of people consider this to be a more natural way of humidifying your room. As a result, this machine uses less power than its competitors. The biggest downfall to this type of unit in my opinion is the regular need to replace filters in order to keep it clean. Also, because it requires a fan it’s a little noisier to operate as well.
UV Germ Free
This is a very interesting type of machine. I’ve only seen these available from Vick’s, but what they do is provide light from an ultraviolet source which supposed to kill up to 99.9% of bacteria and impurities that may be found in your water. They are available in both warm and cool mist styles and are a very interesting idea for anyone looking at an alternative to the traditional units available.
Warm Mist Vaporizers
Some people might consider these to be a smaller version of a warm mist humidifier. You may also hear people refer to this as a steam humidifier as well. Like a warm mist this unit boils water and pushes the warm steam up into your room. It also doesn’t require the use of filters on a regular basis.
Warm mist vaporizers are usually very basic in function and are also smaller in size. Lastly, since vaporizers use heat. You can be assured that the moisture entering your room is free of any bacteria or impurities from inside its water tank.
Top Fill / Direct Pour-In
This type of machine is exactly what it sounds like. They are special models which allow you to fill them from the top with out having to carry a jug to your sink. They are great for anybody suffering from any type of RSI or arthritis pain, where carrying heavy objects is a struggle. If you wanted to you could even fill up a glass and pour it into the top of your machine instead of lifting it.
These units use very low power consumption and are very easy to clean.
Cool Mist Impeller
An Impeller type of humidifier is kind of like a less efficient, older version of the ultrasonic style. Rather than a vibrating diaphragm this device uses a rotating disc that spreads water onto a diffuser. Then it breaks the water down into very tiny water drops which are then dispersed through the machine and emitted into your room.
This type of machine however is not the most clean or efficient when compared to the other types we’ve mentioned above. Like ultrasonic humidifiers this machine is acceptable to create a white chlorine like dust on surfaces and is recommended that you use distilled water over tap. Unlike the ultrasonic styles the Impeller doesn’t to work too well in large rooms and is only available in cool mist styles. The good thing though, is that there are no filters to replace. So you can save some money if your space isn’t too big.
There you have it. After reading this article, you should be much more informed about the different types of humidifiers that are available. You should also have a good idea of which type will work best for you and your family this coming winter and beyond.
Before making your choice it’s very important to evaluate not only your needs but also the needs of your room. Some units work better and more efficient in smaller rooms while others work better for medium to large sized rooms. Some units are even recommended by physicians for certain problems such as dry skin and breathing trouble such as asthma. Make sure you know which one is the best before you go out and spend your money.
Click here to see a review of the Crane EE-865-FFP Adorable 1 Gallon Cool Mist Humidifier.