Choosing the Right Humidifier for Your Home
Most home heating systems can cause the air in your home to become too dry, and that can lead to a host of problems for your home. With winter weather here, now is a good time to think about the right humidifier or humidification system for your home.
Finding the right level of humidity in your home is tricky business. Too much and you run the risk of accumulated indoor condensation, which can lead to mold and mildew build-up; drywall, insulation and wood rot; or blistering, peeling paint and wallpaper. Too little humidity and you may find yourself contending with cracking hardwood floors, moldings and trim; aggravated allergies and asthma symptoms; dry sinuses; and itchy skin.
A home humidification system can provide the perfect amount of moisture to the air inside your home, improving your family’s overall health and comfort. There are three main options to choose from: portable units, console units and whole house systems.
Portable Humidification Units:
Portable humidifiers, commonly referred to as tabletop units, are an inexpensive, effective option to control moisture in a single room or a small space. These devices generally can be moved freely around your house. If you live in a small apartment or only want to humidify a single room in your home, a tabletop unit is a sensible solution.
Tabletop humidifiers can be relatively high maintenance, though. They must be filled manually, usually every 24 hours, and only control air quality in a small area—maybe a couple hundred square feet or so. Output settings are limited, if they can be adjusted at all. Perhaps the biggest drawback with portable humidifiers is that they pull water from a holding tank, which means that standing water is always part of the deal when you use one. Mold and bacteria can collect in the tank and are then forced into the air as the humidifier releases water vapor. These appliances require vigilant cleaning and sanitization to prevent harmful build-up.
For larger areas, console humidifiers are a good choice. Console units, like tabletop humidifiers, are fully portable and easy to use. Small consoles can cover about 2000 square feet, while larger units can easily handle an entire 3300 square foot home.
You’ll still have to fill a console unit manually, about every two days. As with tabletop units, standing water is a concern and console parts should be cleaned and disinfected regularly to prevent air contamination.
Whole Home Humidifiers:
The system is directly linked to the heat in your house, so there’s no need to fill water tanks, clean parts or move units from room to room as you need them. The water vapor is pumped into every room, creating a consistent moisture level that is both optimal and efficient. Because the humidifier is connected to the heating system, the moist air circulates only when the heat is turned on. This also increases efficiency, as the heating process is the main cause of overly dry air.
If your budget can afford it, the whole home humidification system is usually your best bet. The advantages of a whole home humidifier include:
- Effective humidity control and enhanced indoor air quality in every room of your home.
- Automatic Controls to keep humidity precisely where you need it.
- Maintains optimal comfort during heating seasons.
- A generally healthier home w/ lower likelihood of skin irritations, sore throats and respiratory problems.
- Protection of home, furnishings and furniture by reducing the risk of wood warping and cracking.
- Easier-to-operate and less intrusive than portable units —- no need to constantly fill and clean units.
- Built-in fan provides better circulation of humidified air through rooms and home.