It’s true, sadly. There’s nothing sexy about humidifiers. You’re not likely to boast about your streamlined ultrasonic humidifier like it’s a BMW or a new iPhone 5, but it’s probably a more important purchase than either of those. So when you think of the great conversations of your life, more than likely it won’t be the debate between a warm air and a cool air humidifier, you should spend some time on it. Without knowing the differences between the various models and options, you might as well toss money down the metaphorical drain. You may end up choosing the option that absolutely doesn’t meet your needs, wasting money and time and definitely creating a frustrating situation.
Instead of allowing you to make that mistake, we’ll help you discover which option best suits your needs so that you can invest wisely.
Do You Need a Humidifier?
How do you know if you even need a humidifier? Most people wait until cold or flu symptoms have them coughing to consider a humidifier, but other scenarios may make the regular use of a humidifier a positive change for your home. Think about whether or not the following scenarios fit your home or family:
- You are frequently “shocked” by static electricity when you touch surfaces.
- The rooms you are in seem colder than they should, based on your thermostat setting.
- Your nasal passages and throat seem oddly dry.
- You or your family members suffer from cracked lips, bloody noses, or excessively dry skin.
- You’d like to keep cold and flu viruses from spreading as quickly.
- Someone is coughing at night, leading to less sleep and more illness.
- You’re frequently running the heater during the winter or air conditioner during the summer.
If you’ve found yourself nodding to one or more of these, then a humidifier may be an inexpensive solution so some pretty obnoxious problems.
Which Humidifier Is Best for You?
A humidifier is a humidifier is a humidifier, right? Well, yes and no. They all work basically the same way—a reservoir of water is turned into a fine mist to compensate for a lack of humidity in the room. Depending on your circumstances and the purpose for the purchase, one type of model may be better than another.
Types of Humidifiers
Standard, Ultrasonic, Impeller, UV Germ Free—Oh My!
With a sea of options before you, how do you choose the “right” humidifier? Ultimately, you’ll choose the one that works best for you.
A standard humidifier uses a fan to blow water through a wicking filter, which propels a fine mist into the room. These are the cheapest options, though they may not be the easiest to use (you may need to take them apart to refill, etc.). You’ll likely find a wide variety of designs, including some that are adorably animal shaped, to suit your décor.
If you’re looking for quiet above all, an ultrasonic humidifier may be the best bet. It’s quieter than most any other model, almost so quiet that you may not even realize that it’s on. Rather than using a fan, this type of humidifier uses ultrasonic sound waves to vibrate a metal diaphragm, which breaks the water down into a fine mist.
Impeller humidifiers use a spinning disk to spin water toward a diffuser, which breaks the water down into the fine droplets that are dispersed as a fine mist. These types do not require any filter replacement but can, as a result, be more prone to leave a mineral deposit residue on furniture (which usually looks like a white film) if the water contains any mineral properties at all.
UV Germ Free humidifiers use an ultraviolet light to kill 99% of germs and bacteria present in the water, something that may be attractive to people with compromised immune systems or the parents of young children. This technology is available on many warm mist humidifiers and, only recently, some cool mist models as well.
Cool or Warm Mist Humidifier?
Warm mist humidifiers may be very attractive for those who suffer with winter issues, like dry skin and nasal passages, simply because it will more quickly warm up a room rather than contribute to the chill. As an added bonus, these models are often quieter than the fans of the cool mist humidifiers.
However, because the warm mist humidifier boils the water inside the unit and emits the steam, they can be dangerous. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend their use for children, simply because if children accidentally touch the steam or the unit is tipped, they can be burned by the water. The machine itself, with the heating element inside, also gets quite warm. For adults who know to be cautious, the warm mist humidifier can be a much better and more comfortable solution for winter usage.
Cool mist humidifiers are recommended for homes with small children or pets.
The cool mist humidifier is probably the most popular and safest of the models, simply because it does not pose any risk other than a minor water spill if knocked over and the mist is harmless to children and pets. It can be used regardless of season (nobody wants boiling water during the spring and summer, when allergies may require the use of a humidifier) and can double as a white noise machine for those who need them (perfect for babies and young children).
A Word of Caution: Using Humidifiers Properly
No solution is a good solution if it is not maintained properly. Humidifiers, especially, need more careful attention because of its use of standing water. Warm, moist environments can become a danger rather than a help, but only if you do not pay attention to and follow manufacturer’s recommendations.
These recommendations usually involve using distilled or demineralized water rather than tap water, frequently replacing the water in the reservoir, wiping down the interior parts, and cleaning regularly with a hydrogen peroxide solution. These steps are simple and straightforward, ensuring that the positive benefits that you receive from your humidifier are the only things you get from them.
If you’re concerned about oversaturating the air, look for a model with a humidistat, or a built-in sensor that measures the humidity of a room. These models will turn off when they reach a set humidity level, ensuring that you do not develop condensation on windows, furniture, and fabrics (or create a mold-loving environment.)
The Luma HCW10B is perfect for the bedroom or office in your house. It offers both cool and warm mist modes, so you don’t have to choose and you can adjust the settings depending on the season. It’s built in hygrometer also offers custom humidity control.
The Luma HC12W is a fashion statement for any large room. Designed to look like a tall vase, it is unobtrusive and can blend seamlessly with your existing decor. It is an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier. The HC12W humidifier also has several different attachments so you can adjust the height of the unit. This means that not only can you put it anywhere, but you can also determine the coverage by adjusting the stem’s height. This unit will never get your couch or floor wet, just add more tubing to the top so that the mist is released higher up. With a handy remote control included, what more could you want?
Whatever model you choose, using your humidifier properly and safely can alleviate many problems that you may have thought you just had to live with. Make springtime allergies, wintertime colds, and seasonal dry skin easier with a humidifier!