A humidifier is a device that emits steam or water vapor into the air to increase the moisture levels. When maintained properly they are a fantastic ally in the fight against dry air and airborne allergens.
You can find varying types of humidifiers such as:
- Impeller Humidifier – These use a rotating disk to produce a cool mist.
- Central Humidifiers – These come already built into HVAC systems.
- Ultrasonic Humidifiers – This type uses ultrasonic vibration to produce a cool mist.
- Evaporators – These have a fan that blows air through either a filter, belt, or wet wick.
- Steam Vaporizers – These create steam using electricity. The steam cools before it leaves the humidifier. Anyone with children should avoid these humidifiers due to the hot water inside. If spilled it can burn the skin badly.
Monitoring Humidity Levels
The amount of water vapor within the air of your room determines the level of humidity that exists in that room. This is always changing as the seasons and weather change. You usually experience a higher level of humidity during summer months and lower ones in the winter. You should try to keep the level somewhere between 30% and 50% to create the best conditions. Anytime your humidity levels become too high or too low problems can arise.
With low humidity your skin can become dry, as well as your throat and nasal passages. This can also cause your eyes to be itchy. With high humidity you may experience a stuffiness in your home and see condensation beginning to form on your windows or glass objects in your home. You carpet and drapes can become moist and floors and walls can bead up with moisture. The moisture itself can be an excellent place for mold, mildew, dust mites, and harmful bacteria to grow.
The Importance of Having a Hygrometer
Hygrometers can be found at most any local hardware or department store. They are the best method for testing the humidity levels within your home. They look pretty much like a thermometer. Some humidifiers come with these devices already built in but if you get one that doesn't have a hygrometer, make sure you purchase one and keep an eye on your humidity levels. Your health may depend on it.
Breathing Problems and Your Humidifier
Anyone with asthma or severe allergies needs to have a talk with their doctor prior to using a humidifier, guides, how to chose over there. When children or adults have trouble breathing, the humidity increase given by a good humidifier can be very beneficial. However, when the mist from a humidifier is dirty and full of mold and allergens, it can trigger both allergy and asthma attacks and only make the conditions worse.
Humidifiers must be properly maintained in order to avoid complications from allergies and asthma. The water should be distilled water and it needs to be changed on a daily basis. Regular tap water contains a lot of minerals that cause a buildup within your humidifier. Then the microorganisms from that buildup are emitted through the humidifier, out into the air in the room, where they are easily breathed into the lungs. This can lead to serious complications.