Humidity refers to the amount of air in the atmosphere. Dry indoor air can cause certain body irritations like dry sinuses, cracked lips, or even bloody noses. Humidifier adds moisture to the air to ease some of these symptoms and conditions. Humidifiers can bring relief to symptoms such as colds, flu, dry skin, dry throat/irritated vocal cords, dry cough, headache. Etc.
Humidifiers are classified into two sizes; portable or console. Portable, as the name suggests, are small and an excellent option when traveling. Sometimes they are referred to as personal. Console units are quite large and mostly for use to the whole house. They have wheels so they can be moved from one location to the other and can also serve a room at a time.
Types of Humidifiers
- Ultrasonic Humidifiers
With the help of ultrasonic vibrations, these humidifiers give out either a cool or warm mist. They are available at varying prices depending on the size suitable for your home. Cool-mist is the best version if you have kids.
- Central Humidifiers
These are the most expensive and are built into your home’s AC or heating unit to serve the whole house. While central humidifiers don’t emit steam, traditional ones do which increases the risk of burns.
- Impeller Humidifiers
Impeller humidifiers are also child-friendly as they produce cool mists with no risks of burns. They are less expensive and can only be used in one room at a time. They expel humidity through high-speed rotating disks.
Although they can only be used in one room, these are quite affordable. Evaporators work by blowing the moisture through a filter. The fans expel the humidity as they power the unit through a single-unit system. They provide high levels of humidity and can be bothersome to asthmatic people.
- Steam Vaporizers
Steam vaporizers are the most inexpensive humidifiers and are readily available at drug stores. They work by heating water and then cooling it and expelling it into the indoor air. This makes them least child-friendly because of high burn risks. They also operate on electricity.
Humidity Control Levels
Some humidifiers come with hygrometers to measure the amount of humidity in the air or your home. Consider a built-in hygrometer (humidistat) when buying a humidifier. It keeps moisture within a reasonable range. If not, you can purchase one easily at your local hardware stores or department stores. A 30-50 percent range is recommended. If someone in your household has respiratory problems, test the humidity daily. Low or high humidity will cause problems either way.
Possible Risks Associated with Humidifiers
Caution should be exercised as failure to maintain the humidifier or humidity levels properly can cause health problems.
There have been high incidences of humidifier-associated burn injuries especially around children. Warm-mist steamers and humidifiers should be kept away from the children’s bedroom.
- High Moisture Levels
Too much moisture can bring about condensation on the walls causing the growth of mold and mildew.
- Coughs and Colds
Bacterial growth from unclean humidifiers can promote or worsen coughs and colds. Some minerals and micro-organisms emitted from humidifiers can be a bother to people suffering from asthma.
It should be noted that this is a home remedy and not an alternative for medical treatment. Call your doctor and seek medical advice if symptoms persist. Humidifiers will make a significant difference to your airways and dry skin.
Another article on this topic can be found here.