Humidistat: Do You Need One?

Humidifiers are a smart addition to any wellness and comfort-conscious home. If you are a humidifier enthusiast—or have ever thought about getting one to ease irritating sinuses or dry skin problems—you can significantly improve the way you use your humidifier with the addition of a humidistat. 

Humidistats identify the exact humidity of your indoor air and help you determine when you should use a humidifier on a day-to-day basis. Below, we will cover everything you need to know about the usefulness and operation of humidistats.

What Is A Humidistat?

A humidistat is a small device that precisely indicates the current humidity of the air around the device. If you have central cooling and heating, you may be familiar with a thermostat. A humidistat functions similarly to a thermostat, but it acts as a humidity sensor instead of a heat sensor. Instead of reading the temperature of the environment, a humidistat alternatively determines the environment’s humidity level by measuring the amount of water present in the atmosphere.

Humidistats are also sometimes referred to as hygrostats or hygrometers. Some humidifiers, generally whole-house versions or HVAC systems, have programmable internal humidistats to monitor and adjust the humidity levels accordingly. Sometimes, these can even connect to wifi. 

However, an independent humidistat is the best way to get an accurate reading as you can move it around the room to see what the relative humidity of the entire space is—not just right next to the humidifier. These are especially useful if you have a portable humidifier. 

Humidistats are small and affordable battery-operated devices. You can easily purchase a humidistat online or at a local hardware store. 

Why Precise Monitoring Of The Humidity Level In Your Home Is Important

When it comes to using a humidifier, balance is key. You may think that leaving your humidifier on at all hours is a way to maximize its wellness benefits, but this is not actually the case. In fact, you can overuse your humidifier. 

Overusing your humidifier can actually increase the humidity to unsafe levels that make the environment a breeding ground for mold, dust mites, and bacteria—leaving your space unsafe and feeling very stuffy, not to mention the low air quality. 

Over humidifying can also damage wallpaper, cause wall paint to form bubbles, and create an undesirable mildew smell. If your humidity levels are too high without the use of a humidifier, you may even need a dehumidifier. 

On the contrary, having indoor humidity levels that are too low can be equally harmful to you and your family’s health. Having low humidity—or very dry air—can increase the likelihood of contracting airborne viruses, exacerbate allergies, and irritate skin conditions.  Dry air may also irritate your nasal passages, cause red and itchy eyes, and lead to dry, cracked lips.

Why is a humidistat considered so very helpful? A humidifier left on excessively is like leaving a firehose on long after the fire has been put out—an indiscriminate solution. Whereas if you can accurately determine your current humidity-level throughout the room it’s in, then you can better decide whether or not it is currently appropriate to operate your humidifier, and you may even be able to use it for humidity control.

Wellness Benefits Of Using A Humidifier

A humidifier can provide many wellness benefits when used properly. By also using a humidistat, you can ensure that you are getting the most health benefits from your humidifier by reaching and maintaining ideal humidity.

Especially during the winter months, the air can become quite dry, causing many uncomfortable side effects. Using a humidifier correctly can relieve some of these dry-weather symptoms such as dry skin, sinus congestion and headaches, dry throat, bloody noses, irritated vocal cords, coughs, and cracked lips. 

Raising the moisture level in the air with a humidifier can also soothe cold and flu symptoms, improve side effects of dry weather and even provide some relief from respiratory difficulties. However, if you are thinking about using a humidifier for medical reasons such as asthma or allergies, you should consult your doctor before using a humidifier. It is important to remember that a humidifier is a home remedy and not a cure-all.

A humidifier works by adding moisture into the air. This can be a wellness game changer for people living in dry climates or simply making it through the winter months. Still, humidifiers should be used with care to prevent over and under moisturization of the environment. That is why a humidistat is a smart addition to any humidifier.

How To Use A Humidistat

Using a humidistat is simple—just turn it on and place it in the area where you want to know the humidity levels. We recommend measuring the humidity level several feet away from your humidifier to get the most accurate reading. If you measure right next to your humidifier, then you will get a higher reading than what would be accurate for the majority of the room.

Your humidistat reading number quantifies the percentage of humidity in the air, which it does by measuring the water in the surrounding atmosphere. The ideal humidity levels for an indoor space are between 30 and 50 percent. 

If, when using your humidistat, you find that your humidity is below 30, then you should use your humidifier to increase the moisture in the room’s atmosphere. If you find that your humidity is above 50, then you should turn off your humidifier and turn on your air conditioner. A built-in humidistat controls humidity automatically most of the time, but you may have to do this manually. Both central and window air conditioning units will dry out the air in your room’s atmosphere—returning your humidity level to a healthy level.   

Bottom line, a humidistat is a great tool to help you maximize wellness benefits and increase your accuracy when using your humidifier, helping you to remain in a safe and ideal humidity level. 

How Your Humidistat Could Save You Money

Using a humidistat to determine the humidity of the space is not only a great way to see the results of your humidifier at work but also to determine when you need to use it. Only using your humidifier when necessary is an eco-conscious way to reduce your energy use while still benefiting from your humidifier.

By saving energy, you are also saving money. Using your appliances only when necessary saves energy and therefore money on monthly electric bill expenses. You are also extending the life of your humidifier by not running it constantly. Protecting the humidifier you have by caring for it properly with routine cleaning and by not over-running it saves you money over time and improves your quality of life.

Benefits Of Humidifiers For Plants

If you are a plant owner, being conscious about your humidity levels has many benefits for your greenery. Many plants are sensitive to humidity levels—even more so than humans. For plants, humidity levels can determine whether they flourish or slowly wither up and die. So, if you are notoriously bad at caring for plants, the humidity level in your home may actually be the culprit.

Many favorite houseplants come from subtropical or tropical climates, so they are not used to the extremely low humidity environments that we call home. The average home typically has a low humidity level of 20 percent—but most house plants need a high humidity level of 50 percent or greater.

All plants are unique, so you may have to do some research to determine what the appropriate humidity level is for your houseplants. However, generally speaking, raising your home humidity to 30- 50 percent—as is recommended for your own health—would certainly improve the health of most house plants.

If you find that some of your plants require higher humidity than is suitable for your entire house, you may want to try humidifying, to a greater percentage, in your bathroom. Your bathroom is equipped to handle spikes in humidity levels—as it does when you create steam in the shower. It is not recommended that you humidify above 50 percent humidity around your home, for the reasons mentioned earlier, such as mold and bacteria growth.

So, monitoring the levels of humidity in your space can optimize your indoor environments, improve the way you use your humidifier, and enhance the way you care for your indoor plants. Similar to using a humidistat to optimize your humidifier use, you can use a humidistat to significantly improve the way you care for your plants. By knowing the current level of humidity in your home, you are then empowered to better adjust to the proper humidity levels that both you and your plant’s needs.

Safety

The number one reason to begin using a humidistat, alongside your humidifier, is the health and safety of you and your family. Using a humidifier can have amazing wellness benefits for you, your family, pets, and plants. 

However, under or overusing your humidifier has an extremely opposite effect. It can be difficult to tell whether or not you are under or overusing your humidifier—but a humidistat takes the guessing work out of the equation. Making sure you have an accurate reading of the humidity levels in your space allows you to make an informed decision and take corrective action.

In Conclusion

Using a humidistat is the smart way to ensure that you are receiving all the benefits of your humidifier and not inadvertently causing more harm than good by over or under humidifying. It is a simple and easy to use solution for any humidifier owner.

Now that you have learned how to use, read, assess, and adjust your humidity levels, you are on your way to maximizing your family’s health and well-being by using your humidifier the smart and safe way. For more information on how to use your humidifier, in-depth articles, and recommendations on a good humidifier, check out the Everlasting Comfort website.

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/humidifiers/art-20048021

https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-a-humidistat-1907930

https://www.healthline.com/health/humidifiers-and-health#the-takeaway

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