There are two main types of humidifiers: warm mist humidifiers, like the Vicks V70 Warm Mist Humidifier, and cool mist humidifiers, like the Luma Comfort HC12B Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier. Each has its own pros and cons. This week, we’ll be looking at the pros and cons of warm mist humidifiers.
Benefits of Warm Mist Humidifiers
Warm mist humidifiers relieve the downsides of dry air: chapped lips, cracked skin, sore throats, nosebleeds, and congestion. They also eliminate allergens and reduce the number of cold and flu viruses circulating in the air. Most warm mist humidifiers are vaporizers. They create moisture by boiling water and releasing steam. The steam not only raises relative humidity, it also weighs down dust and allergens, so they fall out of the air, and makes it more difficult for viruses to survive and infect you.
The heating element that boils the water also sterilizes it, killing mold and bacteria in the tank before they can get released into the atmosphere and trigger or aggravate asthma symptoms. Some, like the Vicks V70, can even be used to dispense steam medications that soothe colds and respiratory ailments.
The warm steam also raises the temperature of the room as well, making warm mist humidifiers extremely useful during winter. Warm mist humidifiers don’t need a fan to distribute moisture, so they’re not very noisy. Put them in a room, and you’d hardly notice them.
Because they boil water instead of evaporating it or breaking at apart with ultrasonic waves, warm mist humidifiers don’t release scale – white residue causes by hard water minerals in the water. Cool mist humidifiers sometimes release them and leave a white power residue over your furniture. Warm mist humidifiers leave them trapped inside without the need of a special filters or demineralization cartridge.
Downsides of Warm Mist Humidifiers
The biggest downside of a warm mist humidifier is the risk of burns or scalds. It’s not likely, but if a warm mist humidifier is tipped over, the hot water can cause accidental injuries. The risk is especially acute with children, so if you’re using a warm mist humidifier in a child’s room, make sure to keep it somewhere out of reach.
Because they have to power a heating element, warm mist humidifiers also use more electricity, and though they’re generally quiet, they gurgle and hiss as they heat the water, which is sometimes distracting.
Like all humidifiers, warm mist humidifiers still require regular cleaning to remove hard water buildup. Since it’s left behind when water evaporates, hard water residue is the biggest problem, and can become pretty tough if your humidifier’s cleaned less than once a week.
Cool & Warm Mist Humidifiers
Some humidifiers, like the Luma Comfort HCW10B Cool & Warm Mist Humidifier, generate cool mist and warm mist. They either have a separate boiling chamber or break the water up into vapor and then heat it before it’s released. These versatile units provide the all benefits of warm and cool mist – reducing allergens, preventing illness and asthma, soothing your nose and throat – but share some of their downsides. They have to be cleaned more often to prevent mold and normally require a demineralization cartridge to prevent scale.
Next week we’ll be looking at the pros and cons of cool mist humidifiers. If you have any questions about warm mist humidifiers, leave them in the comments.