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HOW LONG SHOULD A HUMIDIFIER STAY ON?

If you are planning to run a humidifier anywhere in your home for the first time, you probably have a few questions about how to do it properly.

One of these questions might be how long you should run your humidifier for in order to get the best benefits…

Humidifiers work by dispelling water into the air and adding moisture to either the whole house or a single room. This added moisture combats the negative effects of dry air on your body. So, in order to get the most from your humidifier :

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There is no single answer but here are the factors to consider to find out what’s best for you:

WHEN THE HUMIDIFIER IS USED

Do you use the device mostly during the night or the day? Many people find that running a humidifier overnight is more than enough to help ease the dry air around them. This is usually the time period in which you will be staying still for the longest and it is also the time when proper breathing and comfort are most important to many people.

An average humidifier should be able to run for the entire night on a low to medium setting although some more advanced models can last on high for the entire night.

HOW DRY YOUR AIR IS

If you air is drier, you may need to humidify your home more consistently. During particularly cold and dry winters or in desert environments you will find that your home’s air is dry almost all the time. For this reason, you might consider running the device not just at night but also during the daytime for as long as possible.

This will help to eliminate your dry home air but you will need to make sure you are filling up the water basin or tank of the humidifier consistently if you want to enjoy the full benefits of the device.

THE LEVEL OF HUMIDITY VERSUS DESIRED HUMIDITY

Whether or not you live in a dry area, some homes experience variations in humidity levels compared to their neighbors. Homes that are well insulated might be able to retain a proper humidity level better than those homes which are not insulated properly.

If your levels of relative humidity are vastly lower than they should be, it’s possible you will have to not only run a humidifier but also keep it going for longer than others. Leaving your device on high for a few hours may dramatically increase your humidity levels. Maintaining the proper levels will require more consistent use at a lower setting or else sporadic use at high levels.

SIZE OF THE TANK 

One of the measures to determine how long you should be running your humidifier is how large a tank it has and how much water can actually fit in the device. This will affect how long it is capable of running at one time. If you think your home needs more constant humidification, you should get a device with a larger water basin. Otherwise, a small to medium device will be fine for most single rooms.

 WHOLE HOUSE VERSUS ROOM HUMIDIFIER

There are two different options about how to install a humidifier into your home. One is to install a whole house system which works through the ventilation system alongside heat or air conditioning. The other is to get a freestanding or tabletop device which will release humidity steadily from a set location.

Keep in mind that some humidifier types, such as evaporative humidifiers, have self-regulating characteristics that will help you to make sure that if you do run it too often you will not be causing any problems with excess moisture.

HUMIDIFIERS VS. CONGESTION

Many pediatricians and other doctors have been recommending humidifiers recently as a way to combat winter cold and flu symptoms.

Stuffy noses, sore throats, and congestion can all see improvement with the installation and use of a humidifier.

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Congestion in particular can be made significantly worse by dry air making it much more comfortable for you to use a humidifier if you are suffering from congestion from any source. It’s important to remember that even though you may feel a bit better you are still only treating the symptoms of the problem not the root problem itself.

WHAT IS CONGESTION?

Congestion simply refers to an excess of mucus and snot built up in your nasal passages and sinuses. Sometimes this is due to allergies or sickness. Other times it can be a direct result of dried-out and irritated sinuses.

When you are congested you will not usually experience a runny nose because your nasal passages tend to feel full and blocked up rather than loose. It can make people feel as if their head is a balloon that is too full.

DOES DRY AIR MAKE CONGESTION WORSE?

The issue with dry air is that it makes the water on your body evaporate more quickly than normal. This takes water and moisture away from other areas of the body and prevents the normal function of certain bodily systems. Often your nasal passages and sinuses will be some of the worst to suffer from dry air.

When these particular parts of the body start experiencing more dry air, the moisture that is usually present will disappear, causing mucus and snot to dry and stick to the nasal passageways. On top of the already blocked nose, you will now have itchiness and discomfort from dried mucus and snot. Dried snot is also less likely to come out easily which prolongs the discomfort in your nose.

HOW CAN A HUMIDIFIER HELP WITH YOUR CONGESTION?

Extra humidity in the air is exactly what you need to help get the proper levels of moisture back into your nose and sinuses. If dry air is what is causing so much discomfort, it’s easy to see why increased humidity levels would help to fix the imbalance and make you more comfortable again.

Humidifiers add more moisture to the air and make it easier to breathe and get away from the dry air that is hurting your body. They do this by breaking up water droplets into tiny parts that are blown around with the air in the home. There are 4 methods of humidifying: Evaporative, impelling, ultrasonic, and steam. All of these types of humidifiers will work towards eliminating and comforting your congestion in order to get your body back to feeling well again.

Adding moisture back into your nasal passages will promote the normal functions of your nose again and help you to remove the excess build-up (if possible) while keeping snot and mucus from drying onto the walls of the nose.

GETTING A HUMIDIFIER

HUMIDIFIERS VS. CONGESTION

Humidifiers are easy to come by. You have the choice between an electric freestanding/tabletop unit or a whole house unit. These are the main types of humidifiers you can choose from and each one works well for different people’s needs.

If you mainly want to experience the humidity benefits overnight or in a few specific rooms then a single room unit will work perfectly for you. Those with larger homes and anyone who wants every part of the house to have increased humidity levels should look into a whole house system.

Whatever you choose, there’s no denying that there is a link between humid air and nasal comfort!

SAVING ENERGY & LOWERING YOUR POWER BILL

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Having a well humidified home is a wonderful feeling in the dead of winter when everything is cold and the air is dry. There is a lot of discomfort associated with dry air that can be avoided by simply setting up a humidifying system in your home.

Despite the fact that humidifiers run off electrical power, they can actually be responsible for helping you to lower your energy usage during the winter. Whole house humidifiers are especially effective and can assist you in lowering your power bills by as much as 5% a year!

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There are two main types of humidifiers: single room units and whole house humidifiers. Many people use a single room humidifier while they sleep to help ease the discomfort of dry air. However, if you want to get the most benefit from a humidifying system including the full energy savings, for example, you want to work all day in your garage in winter because you have installed an electric garage heater, then you should invest in a system that will humidify your entire home.

A whole house humidifier usually connects directly to your ventilation system and your furnace. When the furnace turns on so does the humidifier. As hot air blows past the humidifier system, whichever type of system you choose to get, the air will pick up the moisture and blow out humid air rather than dry air.

WHY WHOLE HOUSE HUMIDIFIERS SAVE ENERGY

So, how does humid air help to save you money on your energy bill? Here are a few reasons why:

  1. They only operate when the furnace is running

Rather than running continuously, these systems turn on and off when the furnace does making their time very efficient and well-planned. You won’t be paying for too much as you don’t have to keep the system running 24/7 in order to keep your air pleasantly humid.

  1. Control of the unit is automatic and based on a humidistat

Most units are attached to a humidistat and programmed to operate around the readings given by the device. If your home is humid enough already, your humidifier will not turn on. If it needs humidity, the unit will turn on and function normally. Not only does this prevent you from having to run the unit all the time, it also helps to keep your relative humidity levels in the right range to avoid mold while helping you stay comfortable.

  1. Your home feels warmer when the air is humid

Humid air feels warmer than dry air. By adjusting the humidity levels up you may be able to turn your furnace down by a few degrees or more. A reduced energy bill from lower heat levels makes a gigantic impact on your annual power bill. The best part is that you won’t even notice the difference in heat levels and may even feel more comfortable than you did before!

It’s estimated that by increasing your relative humidity by 30% – a fairly normal amount during the winter, as the air is far too dry for comfort – you will feel as many as 3 degrees warmer at the same temperature. That means if you set your thermostat to 70, you may be able to lower it to 67 without being noticeably colder.

WHAT SIZE WHOLE HOUSE HUMIDIFER SHOULD I GET?

If you’re thinking about getting a whole house humidifier, a logical first question is

“What size humidifying unit do you need to get the job done right for your home?”

This is something that everyone should consider as you don’t want to get a unit that’s too small and won’t do the job. Nor do you want to overspend and get a huge unit that might add too much humidity to the air in your home.

You want something that is well-sized for your home to reap the best benefits from your new humidifier.

In order to get it right you should look at two factors concerning your home before you even check out any units:

SIZE OF THE HOME

How big your house is will have a significant impact on what size your humidifier should be. This is regularly measured in gallons per day (gpd). It translates to how many gallons will be used each day by the unit to maintain a good level of relative humidity. A measure like this can help you determine which unit is going to disperse enough humidity into the air to cover your whole house.

No matter how much you may want a more efficient unit, the gallons of water used by the unit is difficult to negotiate as this amount of water is what will turn into the humidity you are enjoying around your home. There are many energy-efficient models available yet water-efficient variants cannot be found as easily since there is no real way to compromise on the amount of water that is used.

INSULATION OF THE HOME

How well insulated your home is will also make your requirements change as far as a humidifier is concerned. Well insulated homes do not lose humid air as quickly as poorly insulated homes. Poor insulation increase air flow from the inside to the outside of your house and vice versa leading to the drier outside air coming into your home.

If you want to get a whole house humidifier you will have to account for the insulation levels of the home in order to keep your levels of relative humidity high enough to see the real benefits of your system. Well insulated homes don’t require as many gallons per day as poorly insulated homes.

ESTIMATED NEEDS FOR YOUR HUMIDIFIER

Below is a series of charts that give a good estimate of the size of unit you should purchase based on your home’s size and insulation quality.

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These charts are all estimated values based on typical circumstances. There may be something about your home in particular that would require a larger or smaller unit to get the same job done just as well. If you have any doubts about the size of the unit you want to get, it is better to go bigger than smaller just in case you aren’t exactly correct.

 

HOW HUMIDIFIERS HELP BABIES

KEEPING A HUMIDIFIER IN YOUR BABY’S ROOM

Humidifiers are meant to keep us more comfortable and healthier during colder months of the year when the air tends to be very dry. Since adults are recommended to place a humidifier in their home during the winter, many also wonder if it is good for you to have a humidifier in your baby’s room as well.

It is obvious you will want to make sure your child is well taken care of throughout every season of the year. To do this you may want to consider getting a humidifier for your their room, especially for use at night while they are sleeping. There are many sound reasons for getting your child a humidifier.

BENEFITS OF A HUMIDIFIER FOR YOUR BABY

Here are some of the advantages your child stands to gain from sleeping in a room with a humidifier:

Prevent symptoms of dry air

When the relative humidity levels in your home drop below a certain point, your body will start to react to the low moisture in the air. Having a dry and itchy nose, watering or dry eyes, coughing, excessive sneezing and more can all be signs of dry air in your house. Your baby is not as well developed as the older members of the household, making them more susceptible to these types of negative reactions. All of these can cause discomfort and make it more difficult for your baby to sleep well at night.

Avoid diseases more easily

When your child starts experiencing dried out nasal passages or a drier throat it may be easier for them to catch some of the common sicknesses that go around during colder months. A child’s immune system is already weaker than that of an adult but the dry air can cause your baby’s body to be at a reduced state of ability to fight off sickness creating pockets in the nasal cavity and throat which might become infected more quickly.

Improve health of the skin

Dry skin is arguably the number one most noticeable sign of dry air in a home. Babies have more sensitive of skin than do adults, making it easier for them to suffer worse from dry skin. Rashes, eczema, tender skin, chapped lips and more can all be the unfortunate results of overly dry skin. Besides, some parents use the normal diapers which cause rashes around the rims of the diapers. The rashes and dry skin make your baby feel uncomfortable at night. Placing a humidifier in your baby’s room is likely to reduce or eliminate all of the issues with dry skin that your child may experience. Moreover, you should use reusable diaper for your baby to prevent eczema and rashes.

Help with smooth breathing

Breathing well requires clear airways. Young babies do not breath well through their mouths so they rely mostly on their noses to do all of the breathing. If nasal passages get swollen or clogged due to excessively dry air than it can be more difficult for your child to breathe well at night. Adding a humidifier may help to improve your baby’s breathing at night.

Little baby playing with humidifier

Little baby playing with humidifier

CONSIDERATIONS TO MAKE WHEN CHOOSING A HUMIDIFIER

As you are getting this humidifier for your child’s room, you must consider some very particular features of the device that you end up purchasing to fill the need. Think about these factors before making a humidifier purchase:

  • Type of humidifier

Choosing a cool mist humidifier is recommended for your child’s safety. Whole house humidifiers can also be a great choice.

  • Size of humidifier

Do you want a tabletop device or a freestanding model?

  • Safety placement

Is there an area in the child’s room where it would be safe to place a humidifier? Active and adventurous children can cause problems if they are able to reach the device.

  • Maintenance needs

Check how often you need to clean the humidifier and perform basic maintenance in order to keep it free of potentially harmful bacterial growth.

  • Noise levels

Will the device be too loud for your child to sleep when it is on? Some children are soothed by a quiet, steady noise.