What Are the Different Types of Portable Humidifiers?
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What Are the Different Types of Portable Humidifiers?

What Are the Different Types of Portable Humidifiers?

Recently we wrote about the benefits of whole house humidifiers. They make sense if your entire home is dry for several months of the year. They are easy to operate. Since they draw water from your plumbing system, there is no need to fill them with water. They are also quiet, cost only pennies a year to operate, and are usually less expensive than portable units.

However, if you feel you do not need a whole house humidifier, you may be able to get by with a room humidifier. Bearing in mind that a portable humidifier may be more expensive than a whole house humidifier and require some (but not a lot of) effort to operate, here are some tips. 

Types of Humidifiers

There are four types of room humidifiers.

  • Evaporative humidifiers use a motor-driven fan to evaporate water and send a cool mist into the room. An evaporative humidifier is quiet and relatively inexpensive but needs to be cleaned frequently to prevent growth of mold and bacteria.
  • Impeller humidifiers use a motor-driven rotating disc to push water onto a diffuser that distributes droplets into the air. These cool mist humidifiers are a bit noisier than other types.
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers use two ceramic plates that vibrate at ultrasonic frequency to produce a cool mist. An ultrasonic humidifier is effective but can send dust into the air that can affect people with allergies.
  • Steam vaporizers use electricity to turn water into steam vapor that is sent into the room. The moisture is clean, but the unit can get hot and burn children or pets.

Cool vs. Warm Mist

The more common cool mist humidifiers offer the following benefits:

  • They eliminate burn hazards.
  • They are more energy efficient than a warm mist humidifier.
  • They generate cooler air in hot weather.
  • They usually cover more space than warm mist counterparts.

Note that a cool mist humidifier will be more expensive.

Warm mist humidifiers offer the following benefits:

  • The heating will kill off mold spores and bacteria before the moisture enters the air, making the air clean and healthy.
  • Works better with medicated products.
  • Runs quieter.
  • Generates some heat.
  • Less expensive that cool mist humidifiers.

The main drawback to warm mist humidifiers is the units get hot and cause burns if touched.

Size and Capacity

Room humidifiers vary in size. There are tiny 1/4-liter models than plug in with a USB power connection. And then there are consoles that have so much size and capacity and cover such a wide area that they are effectively whole house humidifiers. Some tips:

  • Don’t buy a unit that is too big for the space, as this can cause condensation to appear on windows and allow bacteria and mildew to grow.
  • Measure the room to determine the correct size. For example, units for 700-square feet are OK for most bedrooms and living rooms.

Other Considerations

  • Consider a unit that can be set to turn on and off at a designated humidity level.
  • The larger the water reservoir, the longer the runtime, although runtime will decrease if the unit is operating on a high setting or if the air is very dry.
  • Note the larger units will usually weigh more, making them more difficult to move.
  • Check to see if the model will require filter changes, and if so, how frequently and how easy it is to change filters.
  • Check the noise level; you may want a quieter model if you are putting the unit in your bedroom.
  • Check the warranty. Most models have a one-year warranty, but there are some that have longer ones.

Contact Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric for Your Indoor Air Quality Needs

Ravinia Plumbing can help you with all your HVAC and indoor air quality needs. We’ve been in business since 1928, and we’ve made a name for ourselves as one of the most trusted and reliable plumbing, sewer, heating and air conditioning, and electrical companies in Chicagoland. Contact Ravinia Plumbing today to schedule an appointment.

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