The ABC of humidifiers
What is a humidifier? A humidifier is a machine that adds moisture to the air in your home. The aim is to mitigate the negative effects of dry air on our health and on our home furnishings.
American Residential Services infographic
Can there be too much moisture in the house? Yes, that is why the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends not to exceed 50% humidity. Higher values encourage the growth of organisms that aggravate allergies and asthma.
What are the advantages of humidifiers? A humidity of 30 to 50% improves the health of your family, protects your furniture and floors and can lower your heating bills. The enclosed resource lists and explains these benefits.
What types of humidifiers are there? Humidifiers include steam vaporizers, vaporizers, ultrasonic humidifiers, impeller humidifiers, and whole home humidifiers. Only the entire residential unit humidifies the entire house; the other four are portable models suitable for single rooms. Read our resource to learn more about the different types of humidifiers.
Choosing a humidifier
How do you decide which humidifier is best for you? When it comes to adding moisture to a single room, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Are you planning to set up a humidifier in a child’s room? A cold fogger is safer than one that heats or boils water.
- Some models have settings to adjust the humidity, others do not. Decide if this is important to you.
- What size room do you want to humidify? Read the specifications to make sure you are buying the right machine for your place.
To humidify your entire home, please contact an air quality specialist. Only a professional can help you choose the right (central) home humidifier for your needs and install it correctly.
Humidifier tips and tricks
Pay attention to the correct humidity. Make sure you add the right amount of humidity to a room or your home. Buy a hygrometer to measure humidity – make sure the humidity is between 30 and 50%.
Use distilled water. Tap water can release minerals and other particles into the air that cause bacteria to grow. Always use distilled, demineralized, or purified water in your portable humidifier.
Keep your portable machine clean. Empty the water tank and clean the humidifier after each use. Standing water can contain mold or fungus. Limescale, which can cause lung problems, should be removed by cleaning with water and vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or a detergent recommended by the manufacturer.
Regularly maintain your entire (central) humidifier. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacing filters. Call a professional for regular maintenance according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.
Replace the humidifier as needed. Hard-to-clean debris can build up over time and encourage the growth of harmful bacteria. No machine lasts forever!
Scott Swisher is vice president of risk management and security for American Residential Services / Rescue Rooter. Swisher has over 29 years of experience with home service companies, including HVAC emergency services; Plumbing, sewer and sewer service; electrical; and attic insulation.