Fall weather made an abrupt return recently, and I’ve broken out the heavy-duty moisturizer already—my hands dry up quite quickly in cold weather—and tuned up the humidifiers. Until trying a humidifier for the first time a few years ago, we spent winters with chronically dry skin, which under many layers of clothing was itchy and uncomfortable. The dry air also led to some nosebleeds here and there, and while we swear by our dehumidifiers in summer to prevent mold and other allergens from taking hold, we switch over in fall. So, in today’s post, I’ll talk about whether a humidifier might be right for your home during these colder months.
How Humidifiers Work
How many times have you heard people say, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity”? Too much humidity makes humans particularly uncomfortable since high humidity means water won’t evaporate as much, and we rely on evaporation to wick sweat away from our skin, leaving us feeling cooler. But too little humidity leads to dry skin, sore throats, more static electricity, and the feeling that your home or environment is colder. And even if the humidity outside your home is at a good level, your home could be drier since heating air removes its moisture. Finding the right balance is where humidifiers and dehumidifiers come in, depending on the season and climate.
In my post about dehumidifiers, we learned those contraptions take in air, cool and heat it quickly, and collect the resulting water vapor. So, what about a humidifier? The most common model you’ll find is called an evaporation humidifier. You fill a basin with cool water, which is then dispensed into a basin. A filter wicks that water up, and a fan distributes the moist air. This kind of model is self-regulating since, as I mentioned above, water can’t evaporate as much in areas of high humidity.
Types of Humidifiers
Types of Humidifiers
Humidifiers come in a variety of sizes, from units for a single room to systems integrated into your HVAC unit. In addition to evaporative humidifiers, you’ll see steam vaporizers, impeller humidifiers, and ultrasonic humidifiers.
• Steam Vaporizers: The simplest and therefore cheapest of the humidifiers, steam vaporizers boil water and release the steam into the room.
• Impeller Humidifiers: This humidifier uses a diffuser and rotating disc to break water into tiny droplets to be dispersed into the air.
• Ultrasonic Humidifiers: Using the same technology found in ultrasonic speakers, this humidifier essentially vibrates water into tiny droplets. The resulting moisture looks like fog.
Each of these humidifiers should be cleaned frequently so that stagnant water—potentially filled with bacteria—isn’t dispersed into your home. You should also probably avoid steam vaporizers if you have small children and pets since the boiling water poses danger.
Do You Need a Humidifier?
How dried out does cold weather make you? If you wake up every winter morning with a scratchy, sore throat and itchy skin, a humidifier can regulate your home’s humidity so you wake up feeling more refreshed and enjoy your home environment fully.