Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are almost synonymous, and people often confuse the two. They are both crucial HVAC components that help to control humidity in your home. Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Humidifiers add more moisture when the air is dry while a dehumidifier removes excess moisture from a humid environment. They both help to maintain good health and indoor comfort.
Humidifiers and Their Benefits
During the winter, your indoor air is usually dry, which may cause eye and nose irritation, among other issues. Installing a humidifier can help you add moisture to the air, which can be beneficial in various ways.
Humidifiers can help you to sleep better at night by relieving dry airways that cause you to snore. When your mouth is dry, the respiratory airways produce more mucus, which constricts them and leads to snoring. By allowing you to breathe easier, a humidifier can facilitate good sleep and ensure that you are rested come morning.
Prevent Common Cold and Flu
Flu and the common cold can be more prevalent when the air is dry. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, which helps to decrease the activity of the viruses that cause these issues. According to research, humidity levels above 40% help deactivate the influenza virus, making it less infectious.
Thus, if you use a humidifier in your home, you are less likely to suffer from cold and flu symptoms. Moisture also helps to lubricate your airway, which can give you a more productive cough when you are feeling under the weather.
Prevent Dry Skin and Promote Hair Growth
Dry skin can be caused by dry air, which may lead to cracks and more wrinkles. Adding moisture to your indoor air can help you rehydrate your skin and prevent itchy skin. Dry air can also irritate your scalp and worsen dandruff. Your hair can also become brittle since it needs moisture to be healthy. A humidifier will help protect sensitive skin and keep your scalp and hair in good shape.
Humidifiers have other home benefits beyond your health and well-being. They can benefit your houseplants by adding moisture to the air. The plants will absorb the water they need to survive and avoid wilting.
During the winter, increasing humidity in your indoor air can help you save money on energy bills. When your indoor air is humid, it feels warmer. This means that your furnace will use less energy to keep your house warm. Humid air can also help to reduce static electricity.
Dry air can affect items made of wood in your home, causing them to shrink, crack or split. Humidifiers can help protect your furniture as well.
Types of Humidifiers
There are various types of humidifiers that work in different ways to add moisture to the air. The type you choose will depend on your budget and preferences and the size of your home. There are five main types of humidifiers:
- Central humidifiers
- Impeller humidifiers
- Ultrasonic humidifiers
- Steam vaporizers
Central humidifiers are installed into your home’s central heating and air conditioning unit. They are more expensive than other units, but they can add moisture throughout your home.
Evaporators use a fan to blow air through a moistened filter to moisturize it. They are very affordable and are self-regulating.
Impeller humidifiers use rotating discs at high speeds to send moisture into the air as a cool mist. They are usually cheap and very child-friendly since they form a cool mist and cause no risk of burns. However, you can only use them in one room at a time. Additionally, they require regular cleaning to prevent microbial growth.
Ultrasonic humidifiers are very versatile and can produce either a warm mist or cool mist. They work by producing ultrasonic vibrations to vaporize water. They can vary in price depending on the size. If you have children, you may opt for the cool-mist version.
Steam vaporizers are portable and are very affordable. They work by heating water and then cooling it down before releasing it. They are not suitable for homes with small children since they can cause burns.
Risk Associated With Humidifiers
A humidifier can help to improve your indoor comfort, but there are risks. Using dirty water in your humidifier can spread dirt and germs throughout your indoor air. To avoid this issue, ensure that you use clean water in your humidifier and clean the tank regularly.
Adding moisture to the air is healthy, but adding too much water can lead to problems such as mold growth. The ideal humidity level in your home is about 30% to 50%, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Humidity above these levels can affect you negatively, and you may need a dehumidifier to remove the excess moisture.
A dehumidifier removes excess moisture from the air. Dehumidifiers offer a lot of benefits in your home, such as relieving allergies and asthma symptoms and helping you to breathe easier. High humidity can encourage the growth of mold. Running a dehumidifier can help to remove the excess moisture and eliminate mold in your home. They also help to prevent the presence of excess dust in your home.
Dehumidifiers have a meter that ensures they bring the humidity down to 30% to 50%. The two main types of dehumidifiers are compressor and desiccant dehumidifiers.
Compressor dehumidifiers use a fan to draw in warm air and run it through its refrigerated coils. The warm air then contracts, and the condensation collects inside the dehumidifier in a storage tank. They are best suited for warm climates and can help to regulate temperature.
Desiccant dehumidifiers contain a chemical drying agent such as silica gel that is placed on a heat exchange wheel to absorb moisture from the air. They are suitable in cold environments but are not common in residential homes.
When it comes to the size of humidifiers, there are portable dehumidifiers and whole-house dehumidifiers. Portable dehumidifiers are lightweight and affordable. They are usually framed in plastic, and you can carry them from one room to another. Whole-house dehumidifiers are centralized units and are usually installed in the air ducts. They are more expensive and require professional installation.
Signs that you need a dehumidifier in your home include the presence of mold or mildew, condensation around windows, wet walls or ceilings, and a musty smell. You may also notice rotting or weak wood and blistering paint and wallpaper. Ignoring these signs can lead to property damage and health problems in your home. Installing a dehumidifier can help maintain relative humidity in your home and improve your indoor air quality.
Typically, you will not need a dehumidifier in the winter because the air is naturally drier in cooler weather. However, you may still experience issues with high humidity in the basement. If this is the case, using a dehumidifier in the basement during the winter months can help you avoid the problems associated with excess moisture.
Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical offers indoor air quality, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning services. Our Phoenix, AZ, technicians are focused and passionate about customer service and work around your schedule. We offer up-front pricing options and guarantee your complete satisfaction. Contact Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical today for more information!