Winter provides a variety of fun activities to enjoy with your family and friends. However, winter also causes some challenges. One of them may be dryness in your home. Because there’s less moisture in the air, your family may experience some discomforts such as chapped lips, dry skin, scratchy throats, and nose irritation. If you have pets, they may experience static electricity when you pet them. If this is the case, you may benefit from running a humidifier in your home during the winter months.
Types of humidifiers
There are a variety of humidifiers that may work for your home. The list below identifies options from most to least expensive.
- Central humidifiers. While this is the most expensive type, the benefit is it provides moisture in your entire home. Central humidifiers hook up to your air conditioning or heating system. The remaining humidifiers only work for one room in your home.
- Evaporators. These larger, free-standing units can resemble an oscillating fan or portable heater.
- Steam vaporizers. This is what my mom used when we were sick. I can still picture it and hear the sound it made. Since the vaporizer creates steam by heating the water, it can cause burns if it spills, so be especially careful if you have small children.
- Ultrasonic humidifiers. These use an ultrasonic vibration to create a cool or warm mist.
Proper humidity level
Now that you understand the different types of humidifiers available, it’s important to know the ideal humidity level for your home. A level too high or low could cause problems. Experts recommend a relative humidity level between 30 – 50 percent. To keep your home at the proper level you’ll need to buy a hygrometer, which measures temperature and relative humidity. I recently bought one for $10.00 and I’m happy with its performance. When my humidity level is perfect it shows a smiley face.
1. Keeps your family healthy. Airborne viruses thrive during the winter because our homes are dry. By adding a humidifier and increasing the humidity level in your home, germs may be reduced.
2. Improves sleep. Increasing the moisture in your home can soothe your nose and throat tissues. This can help reduce snoring.
3. Prevents dry skin. A dry home can work against us by withdrawing moisture from our skin. Increasing moisture can prevent this and help our bodies perform at their best.
4. Prevents damage to your home. I see changes in our home every winter. If your home is too dry, changes you may experience may include:
- Difficulty opening and closing doors
- Spaces or cracks in your hardwood floor
- Contracting drywall
- Cracks in your furniture
- Peeling paint or wallpaper
5. Prevents static electricity. Static electricity can cause frizzy hair and discomfort for your pets. If static electricity builds up, it can even cause damage to electronic devices.
6. Could save money on your heating bills. Increased moisture in the air could improve the warmth in your home. This could lead to lower thermostat settings. Common heating mistakes to avoid this winter.
7. Can relieve allergy symptoms. If you’re an allergy sufferer, increased humidity can help reduce dust mites and other allergens. This too, can help sooth your tissues in nose and throat.
Tips for keeping your humidifier clean.
1. Don’t use tap water. Tap water consists of minerals which can cause deposits in your humidifier contributing to mold growth. Use distilled water instead. If your unit contains a cartridge or filter, the type of water used may not matter. Refer to your owner’s manual for additional guidance.
2. Change the water often. Like a dehumidifier, stagnant water can lead to unwanted film or deposits.
3. Clean it weekly. Check your owner’s manual to see what’s recommended for weekly cleaning. Bleach or other disinfectants may work well.
4. Take the necessary steps for storage. Prior to storing it, make sure all water is discarded and give it a thorough cleaning. Don’t forget to discard used cartridges or filters. This will assure your humidifier is ready for next winter.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts; please share them in the box below.