There are a couple of differences between cold air and warm air humidifiers. If you are having trouble deciding which kind to buy, this article will offer you a few pointers. If you are purchasing a humidifier for health reasons, you should ask for a physician's recommendation.
Cold air humidifiers work a couple of different ways—either by pumping a non-filtered mist into the air or by passing water over a wick, which then expels the vapor. As a result, the room temperature cools down, making it a little easier for cold and allergy sufferers to breathe.
Cold mist models come in a number of shapes and sizes. You can get models that connect directly to your home's heating ducts. These humidifiers pump mist throughout your home while your furnace is in use. Smaller models are also a popular option. They do not require professional installation, and they are more affordable than furnace systems. Humidifiers like the Holmes Cool Mist Tower Humidifier are helpful for humidity control in medium sized rooms.
Warm air humidifiers, such as the Holmes Filter-Free Warm Mist Humidifier on the other hand, operate by heating the water until steam is pumped into the room. So instead of cool water vapor, a warm steam is pumped into the air. Doctors may recommend these humidifiers when medications are added to the mist.
Before You Buy
There are a few things you should consider before you buy a cold air or warm air humidifier.
- Cleaning and Maintenance: Warm water is more suitable for bacteria growth; so warm mist humidifiers need to be cleaned more frequently and thoroughly.
- Safety: In order to heat the water, warm air humidifiers contain heating elements and hot water. While risk of injury is minimal, it is still something to keep in mind if you are concerned about the safety of children or pets.
- Humidity Levels: The best humidity levels are anywhere from 35 to 50 percent. At lower humidity levels where air is too dry, you may notice dry, itchy skin and chapped lips. At humidity levels above 50%, you may see increased bacterial growth, mold spores, and dust mites in your home. To test the humidity, you can purchase a hygrometer at most home improvement stores.
- Evaporative vs. Ultrasonic: Evaporative humidifiers are more popular because they are less expensive. They work by heating the water and producing steam. Ultrasonic models, however, do not use heat. Instead they produce a fine vapor mist.
- Capacity: Make sure the humidifier you purchase is designed for the room you have in mind. If your humidifier is too big, the excess moisture could stimulate bacteria and mold growth. If it is too small, it won't be as effective.
- Moisture Output: Moisture can be controlled via a model with a built-in hygrometer. This means the humidifier will automatically shut off when it reaches a certain humidity level. Without this feature, you will need to monitor humidity and adjust settings manually.