Hot, dry summers and cold, dry winters can be brutal, even when you stay indoors. The dry air can keep your throat scratchy, eyes burning, and skin feeling like ash. Dry elbows are the worst because they are so easily cut and scraped open on seemingly benign surfaces.
The only way to combat these symptoms is a proper working humidifier. The benefits of a humidifier extend beyond personal comfort. Having one of these during the driest months makes your life easier and your home healthier.
According to the EPA, you should aim for about 30-50 percent humidity indoors. Anything more you will cause mold growth, anything less you’ll start to notice dry skin, throat, and etc. Extreme dryness can cause some furniture to suffer.
For more information on humidifier benefits, keep reading.
Benefits of a Humidifier
Humidity is a difficult thing to measure without a specialized device. Many humidifiers don’t have a built-in hygrometer, the instrument used to measure moisture in the air. We recommend using a standalone hygrometer or investing in a digital thermostat, like Nest, that has one.
Once you have a way to monitor your humidity levels you can expect to see these benefits of having a humidifier in your life.
Fewer Sinus Headaches/Irritation
As soon as that dry air hits, our sinuses usually let us know the season has officially started. Sinus headaches and irritation can control our moods for the entire day. The dry air keeps them from doing their job of keeping us healthy.
With a humidifier, you’ll notice a reduced dependence on OTC medicines.
Chapped lips, peeling, scabbing, inflammation, and chronic irritation all accompany dry skin. You can either keep lotioning and applying chapstick throughout the day or you can purchase a humidifier. The truth is, though, lotion and chapstick only cover up the symptoms of dry skin. They don’t treat it.
A humidifier is good for the overall health of your skin.
Less ‘Static Shock’
Dry air + dry skin = electricity. Dry conditions create more friction and can cause electrons to gather together, building up that charge. Once you touch any metal objects, you’ll receive that zap.
Many of us experience this while walking on carpet with our socks on. Getting out of a car while wearing a fuzzy sweater in the winter is another hot spot. If you had a humidifier, though, you would not experience these static shocks as often, if at all.
Stronger Immune System
When cold and flu season begins, you want your immune system to be as strong as possible. This includes healthy eating, plenty of sunshine, exercise, and hydration. When the air is too dry, however, your body’s first lines of defense are weakened.
This circles back to keeping sinuses moist, as well as the mouth, nose, and throat. These first points of contact, so to speak are designed to trap and capture foreign bodies. The humidity around you plays an important role in limiting airborne illness.
Another underrated humidifier benefit is how moisture levels contribute to the overall comfort of homes. Even if you’re sitting at a normal room temperature, you feel “heavier” when the air is too dry. A stark contrast to when it’s the middle of Spring and rains keep the air moist.
It’s easier to breathe and the temperature is easier to regulate with a humidifier. As long as your AC is working properly, you can have the perfect climate in your home with a humidifier.
Protect Furniture and Interior
While too much moisture can create mold and rot in your home, too little can do damage too. Dry air causes wood on furniture to become loose, and pianos can get out of tune. Cracks can appear over time, which can really become a pricey repair you never expected.
Dry air can directly influence how well you sleep. This is especially true for those who suffer from sleep apnea. When your mouth is dry and your uvula is flopping around back there, it can be really loud. This is bad for solo and partner situations.
Moist air is more relaxing and encourages a deeper, better quality of sleep.
Maintaining Humidifier Benefits
Owning a humidifier is a big responsibility. This goes for any appliance that moves large volumes of air around the home. Humidifiers contain the element of water, so they are naturally susceptible to bacteria invading and going airborne.
If you follow these tips, though, you can keep your benefits of a humidifier without putting your health at risk.
You can use a commercial cleaner or you can mix up your own cleaning solution. For homemade cleaning, mix about one-part vinegar to two-parts water to clean out the base of your humidifier. Then, take about one tablespoon of bleach, for a gallon reservoir, and shake it around for a minute. Rinse it out and do this every time you replace your filters as directed.
Also, make sure you clean your humidifier whenever you’re going to store it for a long period of time.
Get Easy-to-Clean Models
You will find humidifiers of varying sizes and shapes. Sometimes aesthetics get in the way of regular maintenance. You will also find that “cool mist” ultrasonic humidifiers can be difficult to keep clean. It is worth noting that these humidifiers don’t have a great track record on preventing bacteria and minerals from mixing within the mister.
That’s the trade-off for a quieter, easier to maintain, and hot climate-appropriate humidifier. Just be extra-careful in cleaning them, as airborne bacteria and pollutants can lead to lung infections and inflammation.
Keep Filters Fresh
You don’t want to wait until your filter looks visibly dirty on a humidifier. Consult your owner’s manual when figuring out how often you should change them. This estimation will vary based on how much you use your humidifier.
If it’s running all day and night, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the filter condition. Also, if your humidifier has an automatic shut-off function, either disable it or find another one. The reason this “safety feature” is actually bad lies in the filter’s vulnerability while it’s wet.
If your humidifier shuts off as soon as the water reservoir is empty, your filter will be damp and offer an environment for bacterial growth. It’s better to have your humidifier run until you’re able to refill it, blow-drying the filter in the meantime.
It’s good practice to keep a yearly supply of humidifier filters to keep maintenance on-schedule.
Descaling and Demineralization
Over time, even with regular cleaning and daily water replacement, you’ll notice a buildup of deposits. Minerals from your water find their way around the surface that the mist exits through. You just need some vinegar and a toothbrush to descale your humidifier.
Using distilled water over tap water is ideal. If you need an easier and cheaper solution, opt for a water filtration system. Either attach one to your faucet or keep a pitcher just for your humidifier.
It is also worth mentioning that minerals and foreign particles can show up on your furniture as white, filmy spots. This won’t technically ruin your furniture, but that’s more unnecessary cleaning you shouldn’t have to do.
Monitor Humidity Levels
We cannot stress how important it is to have a meter that you can easily glance at to monitor your moisture in your home. Preferably, have one of these in the room it is in and another on the opposite side of the house. You can find these hygrometers affordably on Amazon.
Making your home feel like a steam room may be appealing, but it’s probably not too good for your lungs. The EPA recommends keeping indoor levels of humidity below 50 percent. Levels higher than 50 percent can aid in the growth of bacteria in the appliance.
VapoSteam and Vaporizers
This last tip is a bit of a hidden perk to having a humidifier during the cold season. Vicks makes a humidifier-friendly formula of their popular decongestant, called VapoSteam. Now, we cannot emphasize enough that you should never try adding actual Vicks Vapor Rub into your water reservoir.
The petroleum jelly will ruin your humidifier if you do that, so look for VapoSteam instead. It’s basically an essential oil formula that is made to safely evaporate and release eucalyptus and camphor decongestants. Vicks makes their own vaporizers, too, but they’re not the best humidifiers.
Maintaining a Healthy, Safe Environment
Most people, depending on the region of the country, can see many benefits of a humidifier. Having the ability to control the environment in your home is what make us feel safe. As long as we keep everything clean, balanced, and have the proper filters in place, it will always be a safe haven from the harsh outside elements.
For more help reaping the benefits of a humidifier, stay logged into our blog. You can read about news on giveaways, consumer reports, and more!
At DiscountFilters.com, it’s easy to keep your air and water clean.