During winter, using a heater can strip your space of much-needed humidity. When you spend all day working in an office or staying at home, dry air can be a nightmare, as it can make it uncomfortable for you to do what you need to do. Dry air can cause cracked lips irritated throats, itchy skin, bloody noses and other uncomfortable symptoms. It can also lead to exacerbating allergy symptoms, colds, sinus infections, asthma flare-ups, and more. Also, a too dry environment can lead to peeling wallpaper or cause furniture to crack, warp or separate.
By increasing your indoor humidity level using a humidifier, you can keep your health at bay, protect your home or office structure from the damaging effects of dry air, and improve your overall comfort.
When buying a dehumidifier, there are factors to consider. You don’t just go into a store, buy one, and expect it to cater to your needs. Do your research and consider these factors so you can choose the best humidifier for your needs.
Space needed to humidify
The first thing you need to consider when buying a humidifier is to check how much space do you need to humidify. Do you prefer to focus humidification in a single room or for the whole house or office floor?
For small to medium-sized spaces, a room or a tabletop humidifier is enough. Maybe you only need humidification in your bedroom or personal office if your housemates, family or colleagues aren’t having the same issues with the air that you have. A tabletop or room humidifier is compact and is designed to be placed on top of a desk, dresser, counter, or a table. It’s easy to move to other areas of the house or office if needed. Many models can be easily moved from other areas of the house as necessary.
Other compact humidifiers also have features that are easy to set and manipulate, and may be suitable for your humidifying needs such as germ protection, multiple speeds, warm or cool mist outputs, built-in hygrometers, and low water indicators.
If you need to increase moisture to multiple parts of your house or in the whole office, whole house and console humidifiers are best for the job. These types of humidifiers can deliver moisture to larger spaces than a single humidifier. A console humidifier can deliver moisture to spaces as large as 3,000 square feet. These humidifiers are placed on the floor in a central location where they can emit a fine mist to cover the entire space.
If your home or office has a significant need for moisture, an HVAC/ducted humidifier is the best choice. These humidifiers work with a central air system and it needs to be installed onto your HVAC unit to directly connect to the water line. It can also continually disperse moisture into your environment.
Type of humidifier to pick
There isn’t one type of humidifier than can be used to suit everyone’s needs. Each type has its drawbacks when used a certain environment, so you need to be informed which type suits your needs best. Here are the different types of humidifiers:
1. Cool mist humidifiers
Cool mist humidifiers disperse a room-temperature mist, covering large areas and using less electricity than other types of humidifiers. It disperses a cool mist, making it ideal for warmer climates since it can help cool the room down a little. It uses a wick filter to draw out water, and a fan blows over the wick, so the air can absorb the water.
- Filtered – This type of humidifier is filtered, which is an important factor if you use hard water in a humidifier. Hard water contains minerals that might not be great for your lungs if emitted into the room. It can create white dust that gets all over the room. An evaporative filter can catch these minerals before it goes into the air.
- Self-regulating – This means these type of humidifiers cannot over-humidify the room since the air will simply stop absorbing moisture when it has enough humidity. This feature is great, especially for offices, because too much humidity can damage computers, printers, and important documents.
- Noisy – Cool mist humidifiers are the noisiest type of humidifier, so if noise is an issue to you, you might opt for a quieter type of humidifier.
- Filters need constant replacing – Most cool mist humidifiers have filters that need to be replaced every month, so there will be a constant maintenance and extra cost when you use this.
2. Warm mist humidifiers
Warm mist humidifiers heats water using a heating element, and releases it into the room as a warm, comfortable moisture. It works by boiling the water until the steam is released into the air, humidifying the room. It works great for cold areas and for use during dry winters. And like cool mist humidifiers, these machines don’t emit much white dust.
- Quiet – Warm mist humidifiers are not as quiet as ultrasonic humidifiers, but they are still less noisy compared to a cool mist one.
- No need for filter replacements – Unlike a cool mist humidifier, there are no filters needed to replace with this type of humidifier. The only cost you need to cover to keep it running is electricity.
- A bit more expensive – Warm mist humidifiers are a little more expensive to run as it consumes more electricity.
- Needs more frequent cleaning – The boiling process to make warm moisture makes the humidifier require frequent cleaning to remove mineral leftovers that can accumulate in the machine.
3. Ultrasonic humidifiers
Ultrasonic humidifiers, also known as filter-less humidifiers, have some models available in both cool and warm mist types. These type is known as the quietest humidifier on the market and it works by a ceramic diaphragm vibrating at ultrasonic seeds to create tiny water droplets released by the humidifier. It’s a great choice if your office is a very quiet environment, and if you prefer quiet in your bedroom.
- Very quiet – Since the diaphragm in the humidifier vibrates at ultrasonic sounds, we can’t hear them and it operates almost silently.
- No filters to replace – Like warm mist humidifiers, ultrasonic humidifiers do not use filters, so you don’t need any replacements to spend on.
- Lower running costs – The electricity needed to run ultrasonic filters are lower than with cool mist humidifiers, so there is lower running costs in the long run.
- Creates white dust – The main disadvantage of using ultrasonic humidifiers is that they create white dust. Since there’s no filter and the water isn’t boiled before being dispersed, the minerals in the water are spread into the air. If you want to use an ultrasonic humidifier, it’s best if you use a distiller or a demineralization cartridge with it.
Sound produced by humidifier
You can expect each humidifier to make a little noise, but some makes more noise than others. For bedrooms and offices that need a quiet environment, having an ultrasonic humidifier is the best choice. These machines use high-frequency sound waves that creates an elegant and soothing mist.
Generally, humidifiers are low-maintenance appliances. The only maintenance activities that you need are cleaning inside the water tank to make sure that mold, mildew and bacteria won’t grow inside, and checking misting outlets to keep moisture flowing easily.
For cool mist humidifiers that use an internal wick filter, the wick filters must be regularly replaced. These things will add to the operating cost of your machine, so take note of this before buying.