It is not uncommon to experience some undesired body changes such as cracked lips, dry skin, dry throat and cracked skin; and other conditions such as nose irritation, bloody nose, dry cough and irritated vocal cords during unfavorable weather or in low humid areas. This can be greatly attributed to the kind of air surrounding the sufferer. More often than not, they are caused by lack of adequate moisture content in the environment very dry air - especially during winter or summer at its peak. It is therefore imperative to have moist air in the surroundings and this is why a humidifier is needed.
This article aims to satisfy your curiosity about humidifiers, highlight their advantages and possible concerns, help you to determine if it is necessary to invest in one and serve as a guide when choosing one.
What is a humidifier?
A humidifier is device that improves the moisture content of surrounding air in an enclosed area to tackle dryness or irritation of body parts such as the skin, throat, nose and lips. They come in various shapes, sizes, colours and capacities therefore it is necessary to choose one that is suitable for your needs.
The capacity of a humidifier needed for just a room in a house will be different from that needed for a supermarket or a church hall. It is not difficult to find such public places such as places of worship or indoor commercial activities employing the use of a humidifier but what really matters is know what type is suitable and how to make use of it effectively.
Why Would You Need a Humidifier?
In addition to the conditions listed above, dry air can lead to a variety of ailments such as sinus infections, flu and cold, respiratory passage congestion, sinus infection, asthma flare-ups and other allergy symptoms. These can negatively affect the productivity of a person as they can make one feel physically, mentally and even emotionally imbalanced and uncomfortable. With the help of a humidifier, you will be able to tackle these problems with ease.
It is also noteworthy to state that parched indoor air which can leading to peeling of wall paints and wooden furniture finishing can be tackled with a humidifier. This way you save money you might have spent repairing and repainting; and also save yourself the risk of static electricity shocks often caused by dry air.
Choosing the Perfect Humidifier for Your Home or Work
As much as all humidifiers aim to achieve the same goal of preventing dry, parched air, you should also be informed that not all humidifiers are the same. They are different in terms of size, shape, capacity, working principle and complexity. Below, I have highlighted the different types according to portability and working principle.
Types of Humidifiers according to portability
As the name sounds, they are usually part of another system. This is usually the heating or air conditioning system in a building. They are designed in such a way as to provide the required moisture for the whole house or office. Hence, they are large and immobile. A good number of them are directly linked to the water system of the house so refilling won’t be necessary.
2. Portable humidifiers
These are more common especially for travelers. They are usually small in size to allow for ease of movement and flexibility. They could also be used to serve a room or occasionally add moisture to the immediate environment of a needy person e.g. an asthma prone individual.
Types of Humidifiers according to working principle
1. Central humidifiers
They usually come as consoles and fitted into the air or heating conditioning system of a home. They are the best choice when it is intended to serve all the areas in a home or office. Another advantage is the absence of steam emission compared to the traditional types.
2. Steam vaporizing humidifiers
They are portable and work on the principle of heating up water, hence improving its cleanliness, cooling it and then giving it off as vapor into the air. They are more affordable but are not child-friendly as the can easy cause burns.
3. Ultrasonic humidifiers
They employ the use of vibrations to release air. They usually come in units that serve double purposes of releasing cool or warm mists. They are child -friendly, energy efficient and quite affordable. The downside to this is they could produce dust not healthy for people that struggle with breathing.
4. Impeller/motion humidifiers
They employ the use of a rotating disk to create cool mists in the surrounding air. They are the most child-friendly but are not recommended for people suffering from asthma as the risk of mold and mildew is high.
Basic Recommendation and Tips When Using Humidifiers
As much as there are lots of benefits when using humidifiers, caution should also be taken when employing their use. Below are some tips to help you use them effectively.
1. Maintain the humidity level using a hygrometer
Humidifiers aim at adding moisture to the environment but can also pose a risk when the level of humidity is high. They can create a breeding ground for molds, mildews and other Fungi which can be detrimental to the health. Hence it is advisable to use one with a hygrometer to help you measure the humidity level. It should be set between 30 - 50 percent.
2. Clean the Unit and Water Source Regularly
It is important to change the water in a humidifier as often as possible as stale water could breed organisms. It is necessary to take conscious effort in preventing the growth of molds and bacteria in the system.
For consoles where the water is gotten directly was a tank or water system, it is important to ensure that the reservoir is washed regularly and water changed as often as possible.
3. Make Use of Clean, Distilled Water
While it is not so easy getting 100 percent clean water, it is necessary to be mindful of the source of water being fed into a humidifier. It is more advisable to use distilled water and not tap water as tap water could be hard or soft and contain other elements such as calcium, iron or magnesium. Even though hard water could be used, it is important that you use them with humidifiers that have mineral cartridges.
4. Consider babies and children
It is important that kids, especially babies, whose immune systems may not be well developed yet are considered when deciding if to use a humidifier. It is best to talk to a medical personnel to ensure it is suitable for your young. It is also advisable to invite a professional to check the environment so as to ensure that it is free of molds and mildew before use.
5. Read the humidifier’s manual
This cannot be overemphasized. It is very necessary to ensure that the manual that comes with a humidifier is read and understood before use. No two humidifiers of different manufacturers many have the same effect when similar looking buttons are pressed. Reading the manual will also ensure longevity of the product.
Cost and maintenance of humidifiers
Humidifiers are low-maintenance devices that require your attention often. They are not expensive to maintain but only require regular cleaning and checking. There are wick filters attached to some humidifiers; these need to be replaced periodically.
The cost of humidifiers varies according to style, size and sophistication. The area where they will be used should be put into consideration so as not to spend below or above what is required. A visit to a local store, supermarket or online store can give you insights as to how much they would cost based on your preference.
Controversies and Concerns
One major concern when choosing humidifiers could be noise. Evaporative humidifiers generate more noise due to the rotatory motion of internal fans while ultrasonic humidifiers are usually very quiet. While they all produces noise at different frequencies, they eventually fade to become background noise.
Thoughts should be given to the humidity level of your home as health should be a priority. Remember the saying “health is wealth”? Therefore, you should consider investing in one today. Good luck!