Humidifiers: Do I Need One? And What Type Should I Get?

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Humidifiers: Do I Need One? And What Type Should I Get?

With winter comes drier air, and this can wreak havoc on our sinuses, skin, and overall well-being. One way to combat this is by incorporating a humidifier into your bedroom or home. Humidifiers come with many benefits, but must also be well-maintained to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria. There are many types of humidifiers that range in type, style, and size. You could have a small humidifier just for your bedroom, or a large one that can add moisture for the whole house. We are going to first look into if humidifiers can be beneficial in homes, and also what type to get.

Are humidifiers beneficial? Should I get one?

Humidifiers add moisture to the air in a space, which increases the humidity level. In the midAtlantic, we generally don’t worry about humidity levels being low in the warmer months. However, in the winter, dry air can lead to a lot of issues – some minor, and some major.

  • Around the House – Humid air tends to feel warmer so you could save a few bucks on your heating bill because the humidifier would make it comfortable enough to turn the thermostat down a degree or two. Static electricity is definitely a nuisance in the winter months but moisture in the air can help reduce static. Wood generally lasts longer if it doesn’t dry out. A humidifier can help wood floors and wood furniture to look its best. Most house plants are happier with a little moisture in the air, and tend to thrive with a humidifier nearby. 
  • Coughs – If you are coughing a lot, but no mucus is coming up, this can be attributed to low humidity levels. As gross as it may be, a “productive” cough is one that removes irritants from your respiratory system. When you are sick, your body can make extra mucus, and this needs to be expelled.  Mucus and phlegm can build up and be trapped in your body, because the dry air prevents them from being coughed up.  A humidifier may be able to alleviate this problem.
  • Skin – The cold, dry air outside is not the only cause of skin and hair problems. Many heating systems pump hot, dry air into your home. So your body is losing moisture to dry air, no matter if you are indoors or out. The skin is actually the largest organ of your body and it protects you from outside threats, such as bacteria, extreme temperatures, and chemicals that you may encounter. Keeping your skin healthy is a major part of your overall health, and dry skin is not healthy skin.
  • Snoring – When your airway dries out, it can make snoring louder. If you or your spouse tend to snore, a humidifier can help reduce this. 
  • Flu – Some studies show that humidity levels above 40% deactivated flu particles that were expelled into the air. This greatly reduced the virus’s infectiousness. 

What type of humidifier should I get? 

  • Steam – uses electricity to create steam, which cools, before leaving the humidifier. This is a great option if you have a lot of woodwork in your home, or expensive wood furniture. It is also a great option if you need really accurate humidity controls, due to respiratory issues. The steam humidifier is usually the most effective option, especially if you are looking for something that can work for the whole house. Steam humidifiers are generally more costly and will need annual maintenance to replace worn out parts and clean out mineral deposits. Discussing if a steam humidifier is right for your home with a trained professional is key to making the right choice. 
  • Evaporative Pad – creates water vapor by blowing air past evaporating water. This can also be a good option if you want a humidifier that can help raise humidity within your whole house. There are 2 different types – power or bypass. Power setups install a fan that is attached to the supply ductwork, and it draws air across the evaporative pad, and then sends the humidified air back through the ductwork and into your home. A bypass setup has a bypass duct that moves air across the evaporative pad with the help of the furnace’s fan, and then back into the ductwork. Both of these are great options to consider. Talk to a trained HVAC specialist to see which one would be the best fit for your HVAC system. 

Adding a humidifier to your home – whether it is just for a single bedroom, or if it is for the whole house, can be very beneficial to your loved ones and your home itself. There are a lot of options out there to choose from. Talking to a trained professional about what would be the best fit for your home can help you to ensure that you are making the best choice. Give Weather Crafters a call today to talk about humidifier options, or any other HVAC questions you may have.