HOW DO HUMIDIFIERS WORK?
(Photo credits to Flickr User Dolapo Falola)
During colder months of the year, the air tends to get drier. This can cause a lot of issues for your comfort as well as for the longevity of your home.
Humidifiers are often said to help out with these issues, but have you ever wondered exactly how a humidifier actually helps during the winter? Here you can learn about what a humidifier does and how it accomplishes its purpose.
WHAT IS RELATIVE HUMIDITY?
When we talk about how humid the air is in a home, we are referring to the relative humidity levels. These levels are relative to the temperature of the air which can hold different amounts of vaporized water depending on its temperature.
Air that is warmer can hold a lot more water than air that is colder. Higher relative humidity levels lead the air to feel warmer while low levels make it feel colder and drier. This is because water evaporates off of your skin at a higher rate when the humidity is low than it does when the humidity is high. This causes you to feel either warmer or colder based on the humidity. 70 degrees Fahrenheit will feel hotter when the relative humidity is high and colder when the relative humidity is low.
WHY DO HUMIDIFIERS HELP?
The entire purpose of a humidifier is to increase the relative humidity levels in your home.
Low humidity means that your skin will dry out and become uncomfortable. You may experience more coughing and sneezing than usual, your eyes may water excessively and any wood in your house might start to creak due to drying out. Increasing the humidity levels in your home will assist in solving all of these problems and help you feel warmer while also allowing you to keep the energy bill down.
TYPES OF HUMIDIFIERS
How can you adjust the relative humidity in your home to make yourself more comfortable? Getting a whole house or individual room humidifier is a great solution!
These are the types of humidifiers and how they work:
As the most common type of humidifier, evaporative humidifiers have a water tank, a basin, a wick filter and a fan as part of their design. Water slowly fills the basin, soaks up into the wicking filter and is blown out into the air by the fan. When the fan blows air through the wet filter, the air picks up moisture and carries it out into the house. This method requires no heat at all.
Steam humidifiers operate by applying heat to a basin of water. The air will evaporate out as steam and spread around the room. One advantage to this type is that you will have no issues with bacterial growth or stagnant water. Unfortunately, it is not as safe as the others because it requires heat.
An impeller humidifier takes water from a smaller basin and uses a spinning disc to throw the water out into a diffuser. The larger water particles will hit the diffuser and be broken up into smaller particles that will spread out across the room in the air. Moisture comes out of this humidifier as a cold mist.
Using ultrasonic technology, some humidifiers work by placing an ultrasonic vibrating diaphragm into the water basin and creating droplets of water in this way. These types have the advantage of being nearly silent and also of producing a cold mist rather than hot steam.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT HUMIDIFIER
The smartest choice of humidifier for you to get is the one that best suits the needs of your particular home. If you have children, you may want to avoid steam humidifiers. If you want a low energy humidifier, choose something like the impeller or steam systems. Those looking for self-regulation should get an evaporative system.
These are just a few of the considerations you should make to find out what it best for you and for your family home in general.