Most of us suffer from the occasional cold, dry skin, and even snoring. For a long time, we’ve come to accept these as minor inconveniences in our daily life that are just a part of living.
But what if they didn’t have to be?
If you think that these things are always caused by random chance, you could be wrong. Sometimes a lot of our minor health issues are caused by dry air in our homes that leads to irritation of our upper respiratory systems, worsening of our allergies (thanks to dust mites), and even cracking of our leather and wood furniture.
The good news is that this common issue of dry air in the home can easily be avoided by the use of a humidifier. But what is a humidifier, and how does it work? Most importantly, what can it do for you, your home, and your health?
Let’s look into what these contraptions are and what they can do.
What Is a Humidifier?
First, we need to answer that most basic, important question: just what is a humidifier?
A humidifier is a machine that works through some method to disperse water droplets into the air around it. They work in different ways, some using heat, some using cool mist. They all have one goal in common, however: to increase the humidity level, or moisture, in the air.
They're great for increasing indoor humidity, but you also need to watch out for over-humidifying. When there's a little too much mist output, it can lead to the growth of mold, mildew, and more. You can monitor this by using a humidistat.
This combats dry air and can provide users with multiple benefits, which we’ll get into in just a bit.
Sizes of Humidifiers
The first thing you need to determine when choosing the best humidifier for you is what size of humidifier you need. Different devices will have varying water tank sizes, and they'll be able to provide moisture to different amounts of square feet.
There are three basic sizes that can hold a different number of gallons, each of them appropriate for different sizes of space.
If you experience the effects of dry air at your desk at work, you probably don’t need to disperse this moisture throughout the entire office, right?
A small portable humidifier works to add moisture into the air immediately around it. This size is perfect for use in the office or at your dorm desk in college for a little added comfort. Just be aware that you're going to have to refill this frequently.
A room humidifier provides a further reach of mist. This type of humidifier is best for medium-sized rooms like your home office, bedroom, a guest room, or even your baby's nursery. You'll still have to keep an eye on your water levels with this kind.
Whole House Humidifier
The largest of all of the humidifiers are the ones that will disperse humidity throughout your whole house. Yes, these ones do exist, and they can be easily adjusted using a remote control. They're generally built into a heating or HVAC system, and they're sometimes referred to as furnace humidifiers.
They work best when all of the doors are open as per their instructions, but they work to disperse moisture throughout your entire home. Pretty impressive, right?
Types of Humidifier
After you've decided what size of humidifier you need, it's time to decide what type you want to deliver that moist air into your home. Evaporative humidifiers are simple in terms of mechanics and don't spread white dust from minerals around your home. However, you frequently have to replace the wicks in evaporative models, so you'll have to factor paying for a new wicking filter each time into the overall cost.
Ultrasonic humidifiers, on the other hand, are quiet, since they don't make use of loud, powerful fans to get the job done. Ultrasonic models can sometimes be used as an essential oil diffuser, too, so you can incorporate aromatherapy into the water reservoir or a separate tray.
Benefits of a Humidifier
So what exactly does adding moisture or humidity do for your health?
These are some of the surprising benefits that a humidifier can offer your health and home.
Improved Skin and Hair
If you suffer from chapped lips or flaky, scaly, dry skin, a humidifier can really change the game for you.
By adding back that moisture into the air, your skin and hair are able to absorb and retain more moisture. That dryness that comes from your arid climate sucking the moisture out of your skin will no longer be a concern.
Frizzy, dry hair? No more. Parched, dry skin on your hands? Gone. A humidifier can work wonders on your skin, hair, and nails.
Longer-Lasting Wood Furniture and Floors
This one may come as a surprise to you, but dry air can really take a toll on your wood floors.
This is because it’s so easy for wood to dry out. When your wooden furniture and floors don’t have any moisture nourishing them, it’s easy for them to dry out and crack.
If you’ve noticed your floors have been looking a little worse for the wear or shown more distress than normal, it could be due to dry air in your home.
And guess what? A large humidifier that covers a lot of area can keep those floors and wooden coffee tables hydrated and looking great.
One of the more surprising effects that a humidifier can offer your health and your home is reduced allergens.
Warm mist humidifiers produce hot water vapor that disperses throughout your house. Sometimes, this steam can get hot enough that it actually kills some of the bacteria and dust.
Surprisingly, even mold can be reduced and lightened by the right kind of humidifier. If your allergies are bothered by things like mold, algae, and different bacteria, a humidifier could be the answer to your sniffly prayers.
Supports the Immune System
Remember how we mentioned a steam humidifier reduces the presence of bacteria? Yep, the right humidifier aims to stop germs dead in their tracks, too.
Germs can lurk around on surfaces, waiting for the right time to attack you and your family. A steam humidifier will reduce this virus, keeping you safe and healthy.
Since a humidifier can reduce bacteria, allergens, and the flu, it’s perfect for families with small children who are prone to illness.
Do you or your loved one have a bit of a snoring problem? Not only is it loud and obnoxious, but it also causes sleep disturbances. With a humidifier, that will no longer be a concern.
Some snoring is caused by a dry mouth or throat. When a humidifier adds moisture and humidity into the air, your nasal passages and throat get the moisture they need to keep you sleeping quietly and restfully.
See What a Large Humidifier Can Do for You and Your Family
If you’ve been experiencing dry air in your home, try out a large humidifier for you and your family to enjoy. It promotes overall health, better sleep, and better, longer-lasting wood furniture and floors. Just follow your manufacturer's instructions, and you should be good to go.
5 humidifier uses: Benefits and risks | Medical News Today
Dry skin - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic
How Humidifiers Can Help Allergies | Healthline