In winter, the air in your home becomes dry, which can lead to numerous issues. For one, it can aggravate respiratory ailments such as allergies and asthma. Dry air can also lead to bloody noses, cracked lips, itchy skin, and throat irritation. Finally, it can also cause damage to wood floors and furniture.
Generally, the best way to increase the humidity in the home is by installing a whole house humidifier, which distributes moisture throughout the house. But there are a few situations where a portable (or room) humidifier may make more sense:
- You are a renter
- You want to add extra moisture to a room to aid someone who is sick or suffering from allergies
- You want to temporarily boost the humidity in a room
Here are some thoughts on portable humidifiers.
Types of humidifiers
There are five main types of portable humidifiers
- Ultrasonic warm/cool mist humidifiers increase humidity by emitting mist into the air. The mist is created when the water is agitated at ultrasonic speed, turning small water particles into mist. These humidifiers allow you to emit warm or cool air. One specific advantage of warm mist is it will evaporate into the air quicker, thus increasing humidity faster. For that reason, this type of humidifier may make your home the most comfortable.
- Ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers emit only cool air. Both types of ultrasonic humidifiers are quieter than evaporative cool mist units and require less cleaning. But they are generally more expensive to maintain.
- Evaporative cool mist humidifiers use a fan to produce humidity by drawing in the air from the room, moistening it, and then blowing the moist air back into the room. These humidifiers are affordable, easy to operate and maintain, and will humidify a larger area than ultrasonic units. On the other hand, they require more cleaning and are noisier due to the fan noise.
- Air washers add humidity and also clean the air. Air washers only produce a cool mist. They are reliable and cover a wider area than other types of humidifiers. However, they must be rinsed frequently, and while they can remove larger allergen particles from the air, they do not remove sub-micron lung penetrating particles.
- Steam vaporizer warm air mist units have a heating element that heats the water before releasing it into the air. The main benefit of these units is the heat destroys bacteria and organic compound.
Portable humidifiers come in two sizes:
- Tabletop humidifiers are smaller, less expensive and best for a single room. They are also easy to travel with. However, they do require frequent refilling and generally only are available in ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers.
- Room humidifiers can humidify a space of 650 to 1,200 square feet. Room humidifiers are available in both types of ultrasonic humidifiers, evaporative cool mist humidifiers and air washers.
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