Temperatures outside continue to drop, and as we bundle ourselves up for the frigid climate, now is the perfect time to prepare for the colder months. Fall and winter don’t only bring along chilly weather. When it gets colder, air gets drier. Air can only hold a certain amount of water. In colder weather, air holds less water before it condenses. When dry air enters your home during the colder months, it can suck the moisture from your skin, leading to chapped lips, nosebleeds, and other uncomfortable living conditions. Protect your home this season by using a humidifier in your home.
A humidifier is a device that reintroduces moisture into indoor environments by emitting water vapor or steam into the air. This increases the humidity of an indoor living space. This can help alleviate dry skin, chapped lips, nose bleeds, and even reduce snoring! There are several different types of humidifiers:
- Central humidifiers – built into air conditioning and home heating systems to humidify entire houses.
- Evaporators – uses a fan to blow air through a belt, filter, or wet wick.
- Impeller humidifiers – produce mist by using a rotating disk
- Steam vaporizers – electrically create steam that cools before exiting the machine. NOTE: hot water inside this type of humidifier can cause burns if spilled.
- Ultrasonic humidifiers – produce a cool mist by using ultrasonic vibration
Humidity in Your Home
Achieving the proper humidity for your home can prevent a number of issues from occurring. Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. If the humidity is too low, the air can cause dry skin, itchy eyes, and sore throats. If the humidity level is too high, your home can begin to feel stuffy and can create the perfect environment for the growth of harmful bacteria and mold. These allergens can also cause respiratory problems and asthma symptoms. The best way to measure your home’s humidity is with a hygrometer, which measures the amount of moisture in the air. The humidity in your home should be between 30 and 50 percent.
Using a humidifier can benefit your health and home as long as you clean them regularly and properly. When a humidifier goes without regular upkeep, it can help promote bacteria and mold growth. Bacteria and mold quickly breed in dirty water reservoirs and humidifier filters. These bacteria have the potential to trigger flu-like symptoms and even lung infections when contaminated mist is released into the air. You can clean your humidifier by using white vinegar, tea tree oil, or distilled water. The important thing is to clean it regularly and often.
Tips for keeping your humidifier clean
- Always rinse the tank after cleaning – this will prevent harmful chemicals from becoming airborne and inhaled.
- Change humidifier filters regularly – change the filter at least as often as the manufacturer recommends — and more often if it’s visibly dirty.
- Change humidifier water often – Changing the water regularly prevents film and deposits from developing inside your humidifier. Empty the tank, dry the inside, and refill with clean water every day if possible. Unplug the unit first.
- Keep the area around humidifiers dry – If the area around a humidifier becomes damp or wet, turn the humidifier down or reduce how frequently you use it.
- Prepare humidifiers for storage – Drain and clean humidifiers before storing them. Clean them again when you take them out of storage for use. Be sure to discard all used cartridges or filters.
- Use distilled or demineralized water – Tap water contains minerals that can create deposits inside your humidifier that promote bacterial growth. These minerals often appear as white dust on your furniture when released into the air. Distilled or demineralized water has a much lower mineral content compared with tap water.