When you crank up the heat in your home, the humidity levels drastically drop. The humidity levels in your home should never drop below 30%, but how do you maintain appropriate humidity while still keeping your home warm? Humidifiers help by adding moisture to the air keeping humidity levels in your home at appropriate levels.
Recommended Humidity Levels
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a home humidity level no less than 30% and not more than 60%. Maintaining humidity levels in this range will help reduce the chance of mold growth within the home. Alternately, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a humidity level between 30%-50%. Combining these recommendations, it’s important to keep humidity levels in the home above 30% at the bare minimum and a safe idea to ensure they stay under 50%. Low humidity causes discomfort such as dry skin, itchy eyes, and nose and throat irritation. High humidity can cause condensation to form on the walls encouraging harmful mold and bacteria growth.
Types of Humidifiers
There is a large variety of humidifiers on the market all with the same goal of adding moisture to the air. Knowing the different types of humidifiers and their limitations and functions will help you decide on the perfect humidifier to fit the needs of your home.
Cool Mist Humidifiers
Cool mist humidifiers have generally lower costs associated than other types of humidifiers because they don’t heat the water. The lack of heat also means they breed less bacteria and maintenance is less intense. Cool mist humidifiers can be farther broken down into three sub-types: impeller, evaporative, and ultrasonic.
Impeller: Impeller humidifiers use a rotating disk and diffuser to produce a cool mist.
Evaporative: Evaporative humidifiers have a fan that pulls warm air in from the room to evaporate the water held within the humidifier. The water naturally evaporates pushing more moisture into the air.
Ultrasonic: A very quiet option, ultrasonic humidifiers use high-frequency, ultrasonic vibrations to evaporate water instead of a fan.
Warm Mist Humidifiers
Also called steam vaporizers, warm mist humidifiers boil water to make steam that is subsequently sprayed into the room to increase the moisture in the air. Warm mist humidifiers are particularly helpful for households that are struggling with throat irritation and nasal congestion.
Central humidifiers, also known as whole house humidifiers, are built into the homes HVAC system. Like central heat and air, they are designed to service the entire home, adding moisture to the air throughout the house.
Maintaining appropriate humidity levels in the home is important for both the comfort and the safety of the home. While there are many different choices for humidifiers, choosing the right option will require weighing the needs of your home as well as the climate in which you live.