What to Know Before Buying a Humidifier
Cold weather means drier air, especially indoors once the thermostat is cranked up. That dry air can be blamed for spreading colds, cracked skin, itchy eyes, hacking coughs, and irritated sinuses.
iAllergy.com points out that a humidifier can remedy these symptoms by adding moisture into the air, but if not maintained properly, it can do more harm than good. Here are some important things to take into consideration before investing in one.
Monitor Humidity Levels:
A humidifier may help you breathe easier, but too much moisture isn't healthy either. Mold, dust mites, mildew and bacteria thrive in moist environments.
Consider purchasing a hygrometer, a device used to monitor humidity levels. According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, the proper levels should be between 30% and 50% humidity. Hygrometers are inexpensive and available at your local hardware store and some humidifiers even have them built-in.
Choosing a Humidifier:
The are several things to consider when it comes to finding the right unit for you. Home Depot suggests thinking about:
Location of the unit. Decide where the humidifier will be most effective. There are built-in central, floor, and even table-top units.
Unit type. There are several types of humidifiers on the market: warm and cool mist, vaporizers, ultrasonic, and impeller.
Number of rooms. Check to see how much mist a humidifier can create within a 24-hour period. This will tell you how many rooms it can humidify.
Caring For Your Humidifier:
Regardless of which type of humidifier you choose, the Mayo Clinic also stresses that if a humidifier is not properly maintained, it can make you sick. Water left unchanged can breed mold and bacteria, which is emitted into the air when using the device. To combat this, experts advise you to:
Clean your humidifier every three days. Empty the water, completely dry the humidifier, and then refill.
Use distilled or demineralized water, instead of tap water. Mist created from tap water leaves behind a white residue, because of its high mineral content.
Change the filters as your humidifier's instructions suggest, or more often if need be.
Clean humidifiers before and after storage. Don't give mold, dust and other bacteria a chance to grow.
While there are many brands of humidifiers to choose from, here are five models which received some of the best reviews on the web:
Essick Air 4D7-800 Whole House Digital Humidifier
Circulates air at up to 5000 CFM
Cools up to 1650 sq. ft. for whole-house cooling
Comes with a ¾ hp, 2 speed, 115V motor, pump, rigid media, pulley, purge system, and deluxe thermostat
Uses high performance 12 in. rigid media
Exterior surfaces electrostatically coated for weather and impact resistance
Unique perforated air inlet screen provides more air flow than the competition
Thermoplastic water reservoir prevents corrosion
Up to 75% energy savings over traditional air conditioning
Single inlet design for maximum cooling
Engineered for easy access and maintenance
UL Classified for safe operation
Ideal for dry, arid climates
Crane Crane Ee-5301W Drop Shape Cool Mist Humidifier
Cool mist humidifier features variable mist output control and a variable humidity control feature.
It has whisper-quiet operation and an auto-off function when water tank is empty.
The removable water tank holds 0.9 gallons, and the running time is 11 hours.
Suitable for room size measuring approximately 250 square feet.
AIR-O-SWISS Ultrasonic Humidifier
Ultrasonic technology uses high-frequency vibrations to generate a micro-fine mist
Fan blows mist into the room where it immediately evaporates adding to overall comfort
Comes with a Hydro Stick installed
For rooms up to 650 sq. ft.
Graco 4 Gallon Cool Mist Humidifier
Tank and tray are dishwasher safe
EasyFill tank for fast easy refills
Humidifier runs on three settings
Up to 24 hours of operation and covers 1200 square feet
Approximately 2.5 gallon tank with 4 gallon output per day
Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier with Auto Shut-Off
1-gallon capacity; operates up to 12 hours on a single filling
Quiet operation. Soft glowing nightlight.
2 Comfort settings
Medicine cup allows the use of Vicks Vaposteam or Kaz Inhalent to produce a medicated vapor that sooths