Shopping for the Perfect Humidifier
When you’re discussing air quality, the focus is often on toxins and air pollutants, and it can be easy to overlook the moisture content of the air you breathe. Humidity, or how much moisture is in the air, is actually a vital part of pure, healthy air – the kind your body needs!
Dry Air Affects the Way You Feel
According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers the perfect indoor humidity level is between 30 and 60%. The best way to consistently achieve this percentage is with a humidifier that either self-regulates (like an evaporative humidifier) or with a humidifier that allows you to monitor and maintain the humidity level you set (like an Air Innovations Cool Mist Digital Humidifier).
When the air is dry – due to weather patterns, seasonal changes, extreme climates or some air-conditioning systems – you’ll often experience some of the following (really irritating!) symptoms.
- Congestion – Your nasal passages and throat (mucous membranes) can become dry, irritated, and swollen when the air is dry. This leads to an increase in congestion, difficulty breathing, and a greater risk of infection, especially in children or adults with compromised immunity.
- Dry Skin – Similarly, dry air depletes your skin of moisture which can lead to flaky, peeling and cracked skin, prone to fine lines and wrinkles and requiring bucket loads of lotion! You can even end up with nosebleeds when you spend too much time in overly dry air.
- Allergies – The drier the air, the more irritation you’ll experience and those pesky allergies will be back with a vengeance! Whether you’ve suffered for years or experienced them for the first time; hay fever, asthma, dry coughs and itchy eyes can drive you nuts, rob you of sleep, and make you miserable
The good news is that there is a simple solution and an easy way to infuse the air around you with water. From ultrasonic, impeller and evaporative humidifiers to steam vaporizers – there are many ways to increase the humidity level at home, in a dorm room or while traveling and staying at hotels.
It sounds quite high-tech and complicated, doesn’t it? In reality, though, there are just a few key items you need to understand before you decide which vaporizer or Air Innovations humidifier will work for you, catering for your particular needs and environment.
We’ve broken it down for you so that when it comes time to invest in the quality of air around you, you’ll know exactly which humidifier you prefer and why.
Steam vaporizers work by the simplest of technologies – vaporization! They use electricity to heat the water. The resulting warm steam/vapor enters the surrounding air and - voila! Up goes the humidity!
Things to Note When Using Steam Vaporizers
- Due to its simple design, it is the most affordable technology to buy, but it does have high energy costs when in use.
- Steam vaporizers work well for adding essential oils (like eucalyptus) to the air to ease coughs or cold and flu symptoms.
- There is less concern of bacteria or mineral traces entering the air when using heated steam – bonus!
- Steam vaporizer units aren't the quietest available, so if you're a light sleeper, it’s something to consider.
- Using steam comes with a risk. Special care needs to be taken when using hot water/steam in your home. The heating element can pose a burn risk so keep these units out of reach of small children.
In the same way that a candle wick draws up melted candle wax to be burnt by the flame – an evaporative humidifier uses a wick to draw up water from a reservoir beneath it. A fan passes air over the saturated wick, and the moisturized air is dispersed throughout the room.
Things to Note When Using Evaporative Humidifiers
- This simple, yet effective technology is popular and more affordable than more advanced humidifiers.
- One of their best features is that evaporative humidifiers are self-regulating. The amount of moisture that enters the air depends on the initial humidity of the room.
- There is no heat involved, so it is safe to use around babies and children.
- One of the downsides to this type of humidifier is the noise generated by the fans.
- Take care to monitor the wick which needs regular cleaning or replacement due to bacterial or mold growth.
Bonus Tip: As with any humidifier, hard water or mineral deposits from the water can hinder its effectiveness. Always used bottled or filtered water and not tap water when filing a humidifier.
Impeller humidifiers use a rotating disc to “fling” water onto a diffuser that then breaks the water down into tiny droplets that enter the air.
Things to Note When Using Impeller Humidifiers
- This technology is simple and not as expensive as other humidifiers and a popular choice.
- With all the rotating parts, there is some mechanical noise so, if you like things quiet, this isn’t the one for you.
- Take special care to clean the humidifier regularly, replace the filters and use demineralized water to prevent any bacteria or minerals from being “spun” into the air and inhaled.
Ultrasonic humidifiers work differently than the others reviewed so far. They use a vibrating metal plate moving at an ultrasonic frequency (similar to speakers) to create water droplets that are then expelled into the air via a little fan in the unit. The result is a refreshing cool mist/fog that boosts the moisture levels in the air.
Things to Note When Using Ultrasonic Humidifiers
- This humidifier is silent – as in, you cannot hear it working at all! Hands up all the light sleepers!
- Cool mist humidifier units are easy to clean and care for – bonus!
- Be sure to invest in one that is antimicrobial and has a filter to demineralize the water. Air Innovations humidifiers are made of antimicrobial plastic (to lessen the chance of bacteria, mold and mildew growth) and include a permanent ceramic filter to trap any impurities in your water.
- Ultrasonic humidifiers don’t use heat, in fact most/all ultrasonic humidifiers use cool mist technology. This makes them a safe choice for using around babies, children or the elderly
- Some units require regular cleaning to prevent bacterial and mold growth, while others use a permanent ceramic filter that never needs replacing!
Air Innovations published a terrific guide on how to clean ultrasonic humidifiers if you have questions on how to properly maintain your unit.
Look better, feel better, and sleep better with some extra moisture in the air. Happy humidifying!