Summer months bring balmy weather, which can be a relief after months of dry, parched winter air. Summer not only brings warmer weather--in most regions, you’ll experience a higher level of humidity, which can help you feel more comfortable.
If you suffer from dry skin or scaly chapped lips during the winter, for instance, you may get some relief in summer simply because the air around you has a higher level of water vapor than it does in the winter.
It can seem counterproductive to use a humidifier in summer months, but don’t be so quick to pack up that tiny appliance just yet. You may be surprised to learn that the summer months are some of the most important months to use a humidifier in your home.
When the temperatures get hotter, there are numerous factors that cause our air to become drier or give us cause to use a humidifier to get relief.
Reasons Why the Indoor Air is Dry in the Summer
While it might be easy to think that the air inside will be more humid because the air outside seems thicker, this is not the case. This is largely because of the use of our beloved air conditioning systems, and boy are we addicted to them. As the temperature rises outside, our thermostats lower indoors.
The problem with air-conditioning systems is that they can seriously dry out the air we breathe inside. This happens because the air that passes over the air conditioner coil is warmer than the temperature of the coil. This causes condensation on the coil, which is then removed from the system by means of a pipe that drains outside your home. Any moisture that would be pushed into the air in your home is removed and drained outside, creating cold, dry air in your home.
While you can definitely purchase an HVAC system that has a built in, centralized humidifier system, these systems are incredibly expensive, and unless your house is brand new, you would have to update your entire system to accommodate one of them.
Indoor Office Spaces in the Summer
More and more office spaces are pushing for “green” practices, which is a great move to help the environment and reduce our carbon footprint. The consequences of some of these green practices, however, are buildings that are so energy-efficient and air-tight that the air inside can become stale and full of harmful pollutants and/or allergens that can make us sick. There’s even an actual syndrome related to this feeling of illness when being indoors, called “sick office syndrome.”
Some of the causes of sick office syndrome can be:
- Energy efficient “green” buildings. These buildings are usually built to keep outside air outside, and they can be built so well that they’re unable to produce proper ventilation. Improper ventilation can result in the buildup of gasses and pollutants that can be harmful when breathed.
- Lack of humidity/dry air. Dry air can cause the moisture in your skin and mucous membranes to evaporate more quickly. When this happens, you can experience dry, chapped, flaky skin, discomfort in your nasal and respiratory passages, and congestion.
- Mold, mildew, and fungus that thrives in areas of a building that are not properly cleaned and do not receive proper air flow.
These conditions are unsafe for us to work in, but there are measures we can take to mitigate the side effects we experience from working and living in these types of conditions. While these conditions may exist in office spaces in the winter, they are exacerbated in the summer by the use of the building’s air conditioning system.
Both our homes and our offices are places of drier air in summer months, and we can combat that dryness by using a humidifier.
What Can a Humidifier Help With in Summer Months?
Summer not only means drier indoor air, it also means higher levels of allergens outdoors. In fact, beginning in March, pollen counts are higher than they are during any other month of the year.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, summer can be a really miserable time for you. Using a humidifier can help give you relief from your allergy symptoms by keeping the air you breathe inside humid enough to keep you comfortable. Ideally, you should attempt to keep the humidity inside around 45%.
Additionally, a humidifier can help you work more efficiently. Using a small space humidifier in your office or cubicle space can help keep the air in your space circulating, which can create better ventilation and help you feel better when you work. Also, if your office air is typically very dry, you can use a humidifier to help keep it comfortable in your workspace and avoid issues like dry, irritated upper respiratory issues.
A summer humidifier can also keep the air in your home conditioned properly when that summer air conditioning addiction kicks in. This can be crucial, especially when suffering from seasonal summer allergies, which can cause your nasal and respiratory passages to become irritated and inflamed. The use of a humidifier can help keep the air you breathe cool and moist which can help keep you comfortable, especially while you are lying on your stomach when you sleep.
Best Types of Humidifiers for Summer Use
The popularity of humidifier usage has made the mass production of humidifier appliances increase dramatically in recent years. In fact, you can purchase a humidifier from numerous places, including your drug store and local big box store. However, these humidifiers will likely not be the quality you expect and need from a humidifier.
Many humidifiers found in drug stores and big box stores operate as steam humidifiers. Steam humidifiers work by heating water from a reservoir and then cooling it prior to disbursing it into the air. These systems are notorious for causing steam burns and as such, should never be used in a nursery or child’s bedroom. Additionally, it can be difficult to ensure the proper amount of cool air mist is being distributed into a room, because there’s no real way to regulate it.
The same goes for filtration system humidifiers. These humidifiers pass air over a damp filter before releasing it into the air. These systems are difficult to calibrate in a manner that disallows too much water vapor from being released. As such, the humidity level in a room can rise to levels that are too high, and promote the growth of mold and mildew.
The best types of humidifiers offered today are ultrasonic humidifiers. Ultrasonic humidifiers work by creating an ultrasonic vibration which powers the system and removes the water from the reservoir to disperse it as cool mist. These humidifiers are:
- Child safe. Because these systems do not use steam, they are considered safe for children and children’s bedrooms. You can also look for the ETL safety certification on your humidifier, which can give you peace of mind in knowing that the product has been thoroughly inspected for safety and have safety features like automatic shutoff to make them as secure and protected as possible.
- Filterless. With a filtration humidifier system, you will need to replace a filter on a monthly basis. This can make the price of a filtration humidifier skyrocket. Additionally, it can be a hassle to have to remember to change the filter, but if you don’t, the machine will not work properly.
- Adjustable. If you want a humidifier that you can control, an ultrasonic humidifier is the way to go. These have adjustable mist intensity dials so you can dictate how much moisture you release into the air in your room.
- Quiet. Many humidifiers (especially larger models) make a lot of noise, which kind of defeats the purpose of using a humidifier overnight to help you get a good night’s rest. Ultrasonic humidifiers are whisper-quit because they use ultrasonic technology to power their cool mist distribution. You get the same level of humidification without all the noise and racket.
- Have large water tanks. Some small room humidifiers are able to hold up to six liters of water which can give you over fifty hours of humidifying power before the reservoir needs refilling. This means if you only use your humidifier overnight, you will likely only need to refill it once a week.
The use of a humidifier isn’t just for cold winter months. Even though summer may bring about warmer, heavier air, the things we do to combat the temps can leave our indoor air dry and arid.
It’s a great idea to use a humidifier indoors during the summer months not only to keep the air cool and properly dampened, but also to help alleviate symptoms from seasonal allergies, which can be devastating in the summer. Humidifiers can help keep skin, nasal and respiratory passages from experiencing dehydration which can lead to unpleasant conditions like dry, chapped skin and even nosebleeds.
Humidifiers can keep you comfortable while you work and rest and help you feel better in the summer.