If you’re looking to add extra comfort and coziness to your home, a humidifier is a great way to go. Humidifiers are useful health and wellness tools, and they help to ensure a space is comfortable and livable. You can add a humidifier to your home during the winter months when the heat is on high or in the summer to combat the air conditioning. The health benefits of a humidifier exist all year long, no matter what your humidification needs might be.
Here’s what you need to know about the best humidifiers – so you can improve indoor air quality, help reduce health problems, and even support your houseplants.
What is a humidifier?
The purpose of a humidifier is to increase humidity in air that is dry from heat or air conditioning. Humidifiers boost low humidity levels by releasing either water vapor or steam, gently replacing dryness with slight moisture, making it easier to breathe, sleep, and rest in your space every day.
There are many reasons to use a humidifier, but they’re especially useful in environments where air is drier and residents use a heating system in the winter and/or air conditioning in the summer. By increasing humidity levels in dry air, the humidifier soothes skin and relieves other irritations associated with dryness. Many people also use humidifiers in their homes during periods of extreme allergens or seasonal pollutants.
Types of Humidifiers
There are several types of humidifiers, and they vary in their methods of increasing indoor humidity; specifically, their mechanisms for releasing moisture to the air. These types include:
Evaporative humidifiers, which are cool mist humidifiers
Impeller humidifiers, which are cool mist humidifiers
Ultrasonic humidifiers, which use water droplets to create humidity
Steam vaporizer humidifiers, which disperse hot mist
Each of these types of humidifiers have unique purposes and benefits. Do your research before purchasing your humidifier to ensure it suits your specific needs.
What are the benefits of a humidifier in the home and bedroom?
Can a humidifier really make a difference? In fact, it can. There are numerous benefits to using humidifiers in the home.
1. They may help prevent illness.
Vaccines and proper hygiene help to ward off illness. So, too, does a humidifier, which can assist in reducing your risk of catching the flu; and if you do catch the flu, a humidifier can help to reduce recovery time and improve your comfort while healing.
One of the reasons that a humidifier is so useful in preventing the flu is that it creates an environmental condition that the flu virus doesn’t like. Flu viruses prefer dry conditions, which allow them to grow and spread faster and farther. The humidifier reduces dryness in its immediate environment, thus removing the condition in which the flu virus thrives. This is especially important in the winter months, when flu and other illnesses are more common. Humidifiers also help to reduce symptoms related to colds and flu – loosening congestion and making coughs more effective, for example – so you heal faster and are more comfortable while healing.
2. They can help reduce snoring.
There are many reasons that we snore. Among these are sleep apnea, excessive weight, chronic conditions, dry air, and congestion from colds or flu. If the latter two reasons apply to you, a humidifier might help. By boosting the moisture in excessively dry air, humidifiers make it easier to breathe during sleeping. While snoring should be checked out by a medical professional if chronic, a humidifier can be a useful way to manage the effects of snoring caused by the environment.
3. They can ease dry skin and hair.
Our bodies are sensitive to the environment that surrounds us. That’s why we experience dryness in the winter months, especially when it comes to our hair and skin. By adding moisture to the air, humidifiers help to improve overall indoor air quality, which in turn, helps your skin absorb and retain moisture more readily. (They’re also useful for reducing frizz.) You may even notice your lips smooth and your nails’ cuticles soften when you use a humidifier. Note: Keep your indoor air humidity levels between 40 to 60% when possible.
4. They may help with sniffles.
Humidifiers help prevent illnesses like the flu since they make conditions less ideal for the influenza virus to develop. They’re also helpful, however, when you have a stuffy nose or fever. That’s because the extra humidity helps to break up the mucus that builds up during a cold, which means you can expel it from the nose more easily. Humidifiers make coughs more productive, too, by helping your body get rid of waste in the lungs and esophagus. For a more serious respiratory problem, a humidifier can ease the intensity of symptoms and provide relief from side effects like dry noses, cracked lips, and irritated skin.
5. They may reduce the effect of allergies.
While humidifiers are often associated with winter, since they help to add indoor humidity when the heating system is cranked up, they’re also useful during allergy seasons. Dry air often contains allergens, like pollen and dust mites. The moisture a humidifier provides can help to reduce the presence of these allergens, thus reducing their ability to overwhelm the nose and throat. Warm mist humidifiers are typically recommended for managing allergy symptoms and asthma. These humidifiers are especially good at enhancing breathing capability.
6. They can reduce the occurrences of bloody noses.
When the air is extremely dry, we’re more likely to experience bloody noses. That’s because the dryness causes the tiny blood vessels in the nasal passages to break or become damaged, resulting in bleeding. Even picking your nose or blowing your nose very hard can cause bleeding.
Enter a humidifier. When the skin inside the nose dries out due to environmental conditions, nose bleeds happen. The moisture a humidifier supplies helps to protect the sensitive skin inside the nose and reduce the irritation and pain associated with nose damage, including bleeding.
7. They help mitigate the effects of headaches.
There are many types of headaches, and humidifiers may not be useful for all of them. But if you have the type of headache that’s brought on by sinus pressure or congestion, they can be very useful. Humidifiers work to break up the mucus that builds up behind the cheeks and puts pressure on the eyes, helping your body to expel it more easily. By reducing that pressure build-up, humidifiers provide relief from the irritation associated with sinus and congestion headeaches. They’re also useful for managing the effects of headaches related to dehydration.
Most of us could stand to drink more water throughout the day, and if you go long enough without drinking water, it can cause headaches. Humidifiers slow the rate at which you become dehydrated (because humid air pulls less moisture from your body). Of course, it’s important to make sure you drink enough water, in addition to having a humidifier in your space.
8. They support overall skin health.
As earlier mentioned, humidifiers can mitigate the effects of dry skin and hair. They can also, however, support in managing more severe and chronic skin conditions like eczema. Regularly applying lotion or moisturizer to fight environmentally-induced skin dryness can clog pores and cause breakouts, oiliness, and irritation over time. More moisture in the air helps reduce the discomfort associated with skin conditions and may mean leaning less on lotions and oils to repair itchy skin or quell pain from flare-ups.
If you’re looking for a single dry air solution that yields big improvements, a humidifier might be right for you. There are many types of humidifiers to choose from, including portable humidifiers; and there are many benefits to adding one to your house, whether you’re combating dry indoor air or summer air conditions, or you’re managing the effects of seasonal allergies and asthma symptoms.
Home humidifiers help to improve indoor air quality by adding a little extra moisture to the air. This makes it easier to prevent the development of viruses and illnesses and even to mitigate the symptoms if they do develop. Humidifiers can be useful for managing acute and chronic skin conditions, too, and for softening skin and hair. They’re even useful for managing nose bleeds, which often develop when air is excessively dry. If you decide to add a humidifier to your home, make sure to clean it regularly. A dirty humidifier can develop mildew and even mold, which you always want to avoid.