Now is the perfect time to get a humidifier – while they’re great to have anytime of the year, during the typically drier winter months, they’re especially beneficial. When the air is dry, your respiratory system isn’t happy. Even if you don’t have any medical issues whatsoever, you can suffer as your skin and nasal passages get dry, which means you’ll probably wake up with a dry mouth and start coughing frequently…not the best way to start out your day.
From newborns to adults, humidifiers are an ideal way to help maintain a healthy humidity level in your home. By boosting humidity in your environment, you can protect your family’s health, the structure of your home from the effects of dry air, and improve overall indoor comfort.
A humidifier increases the humidity level in an indoor area by dispersing an invisible, delicate mist into a room or living area. Without that, excessively dry air can cause numerous problems, from allergy symptoms and asthma flare-ups to a bloody nose, cracked lips, irritated throat to itchy skin. It can even lead to ailments like sinus infections, aggravated respiratory airways and colds. Dry indoor air can also cause problems in your home, such as cracked wood furnishings or flooring.
How To Measure Humidity
Simple! Invest in a very handy, very affordable humidity monitor that tells you when the humidity is high, low or ideal – as well as giving a specific reading. This AcuRite Indoor Humidiy Monitor is the perfect addition to your home.
7 Reasons You Should Get A Humidifier
1. Preventing the flu
A 2013 study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that higher humidity levels can dramatically reduce the infectivity of flu virus particles that are released by coughing. The researchers tested the effects of relative humidity on the capacity of a flu virus that was released in a simulated cough to re-infect cells and discovered that after an hour of being released in a room with a relative humidity level of under 24%, approximately three-quarters of the viral particles retained their infectious capacity. When the humidity level was increased to about 43%, just 14% of the virus particles were still capable of infecting cells.
The experts noted that most of the inactivation occurred within the first 15 minutes of the viral particles being released, leading them to conclude that maintaining indoor relative humidity at levels greater than 40% can significantly reduce the infectious capacity of aerosolized flu virus. Earlier research found similar results, with a higher level of humidity limiting the transmission of the influenza virus.
Getting a humidifier could mean the difference between getting the flu this winter and staying healthy.
2. Easing the congestion of a cold
While there is no cure for the common cold, the good news is that there are ways to make suffering from a cold a little less miserable, and that includes using a humidifier. In fact, it’s one of the first things most pediatricians recommend doing when a child comes down with a cold for easing congestion. Of course, it can help adults too.
That’s because when the air you breathe is too dry, the mucus in the sinuses and nose isn’t able to flow properly, and the sinuses won’t drain as well as they should. Congestion can lead to sinusitis and sinus pain, but using a humidifier helps address this as they help bring more moisture into the nose. The nose is supposed to provide humidity, warmth and and clean the air that passes through it. Forced heating systems often over-dry the nasal passages, aggravating allergies and sinusitis.”
Running a humidifier helps to relieve congestion as well as to soothe a sore throat. That can make you, or your child, breathe better and sleep more comfortably too. Even if you don’t have a cold, winter air tends to dry out the sinuses, which also lowers your resistance to viruses and bacteria, which means using a humidifier is likely to result in you waking up feeling a lot more comfortable.
3. More beautiful skin and hair
All of that heat that blasts through your home during the wintertime can leave your skin feeling dry and itchy, particularly the skin on your hands as it has fewer oil glands. It can also cause dullness, flakes and even accelerated aging. The lips are often affected too, as the dry air tends to make them chap more frequently, and more easily. Using a humidifier can prevent all of these damaging effects so that you can maintain healthier, more glowing skin throughout the holidays and beyond. It even reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while improving the texture of the skin.
Of course, that dry indoor air can affect your hair too. Using that humidifier in your bedroom at night while you sleep helps to add important external moisture to prevent hair from drying out. The nourishing steam also helps to prevent a flaky, itchy scalp.
4. You’ll have a warmer home which could mean lower utility bills
One of the first things you probably think about when that chill is in the air and temperatures are falling outside, is that dreaded monthly utility bill, so it only makes sense to maximize every dollar you spend to heat your home. You can make opening up that bill a little less stressful by making it feel warmer inside without actually having to raise the thermostat – and one of the best ways to do that is to use a humidifier.
A humidifier not only helps to fight dry skin and flu viruses, but it will help make your home feel warmer too, as the more moisture that’s in the air, the warmer it feels. For example, air with a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 10 percent humidity will feel like 67 degrees, but with 50 percent humidity, it will feel like it is 69 degrees. Try running your humidifier in the bedroom while you’re sleeping at night, and you’ll probably find that you’re comfortable with the heat turned down a few degrees overnight. Then, in the morning, all you’ll need to do is raise it 2 to 3 degrees at a time so the furnace doesn’t have to work as hard by raising it all at once.
5. Reducing snoring for better sleep
If you, or your partner snore, you should know that those low moisture levels in your home can make snoring worse. Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water as well as adding moisture to the air by running a humidifier at night can help stave off that dryness that often leads to snoring. Not only will you not be tossing, turning and covering your ears just try try to get a decent night’s rest, you’ll feel more comfortable and warmer too, which can encourage a better night’s sleep.
6. Lessen those annoying static shocks
One sure sign that winter is here is the first time when you go to pet your cat and end up getting jarred with a jolt of static electricity, or you find that long lost sock stuck to your husband’s dress shirt. Your hair isn’t easily tamed either. That’s because when there is a lack of humidity, the air tends to be more conducive to static electricity. And, the drier it gets, the worse those static shocks are. Running a humidifier can lessen the potential for static shocks during the colder, drier months of the year.
7. Helping your houseplants
Just like you, your houseplants don’t do so well when the air is dry. In fact, you may have noticed that their leaves are starting to look droopy and the soil is drying out faster than usual. They generally only need two things to thrive: water and sunlight. Obviously, there’s no replacement for regular watering of your indoor flora, but not all hydration should come through you directly. Just like people and animals plants utilize moisture from the air, but if there is a lack of humidity, most types of plants will feel the effects.
Most plants need humid air in order to thrive. That’s because the pores through which they breathe lose most of their moisture when the surrounding air is dry, a loss that the plant can’t always replace through the water its roots absorb. The thinner the leaf, the greater its need for humidity. Even desert dwellers like cactus require humidity levels of at least 40 percent – many require 60 percent or more.
A room humidifier will do wonders in increasing air humidity to make not only you, but your plants healthier too.
Now that you know why you need a humidifier, how do you know which one to choose?
Humidifiers can add moisture to the air in different ways. They’re also available in multiple types with varying benefits and drawbacks, which can make it a little confusing for the first time purchaser.
A cool mist humidifier works by dispersing a room temperature mist. It generally covers larger areas, and uses less electricity than other types too. A warm mist humidifier uses a heating element to heat the water before releasing it into the room as comfortable, warm moisture. These types do tend to use just slightly more electricity because they heat the water to boiling, but they also tend to produce healthier moisture as the boiling process kills germs and impurities before they can be released into a room. Yet another type of humidifier is an ultrasonic humidifier. These are available in cool and warm mist types and are also considered to be the quietest type of humidifiers available on the market today – something that may be of utmost importance, particularly for areas like bedrooms that require a quieter environment. Ultrasonic humidifiers use high-frequency sound waves to vibrate a metal diaphragm at ultrasonic frequencies, which creates a fine, soothing mist. Since the sound waves are higher than we can hear, these humidifiers are significantly quieter than other models.
Here’s is a look at some of the most popular, highest rated humidifiers to help you make the best decision.
Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic Cool-Mist Humidifier
The Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic Cool-Mist Humidifier features technology that can safely and instantly add humidity to indoor air for up to 16 hours of continuous operation on the low setting. It has a 1.5-liter tank which provides excellent coverage for rooms like bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens, or any other type of medium-sized room. Ideal for bedtime, it also includes a night light that has a soft glow, which can be turned on or off. Plus it features dual-speed control and a 360-degree mist nozzle, making it easy to adjust the speed as well as the mist direction. When the water level gets low or the tank is removed, an automatic shut-off feature turns it off.
Amazon currently sells this humidifier that comes with a 2-year warranty.
Vicks Warm-Mist Humidifier
This humidifier is whisper quiet and has a tank that feeds water into the boiling chamber where it’s heated to a pure steam vapor which is up to 95% bacteria free. This steam vapor than mixes with the dry air in a cooling chamber and then the warm, moist air is released into the room. It features two output settings, including a high setting for maximum moisture or larger rooms. On the low setting, it’s best for adding humidity to a more average-sized room. It also features a soft glow nightlight, making it another ideal option for using in the bedroom.
The Vicks Warm-Mist Humidifier is rather budget friendly and it comes with a one-year warranty.
Honeywell Germ-Free Cool-Mist Humidifier, HCM350W
This cool-mist humidifier dispenses a 99.9% germ-free mist that will eradicate mold and mold spores, as well as viruses, bacteria and fungus using patented germ killing, UV technology. It’s extremely quiet, and will run for up to 24 hours with just one water reservoir filling as it holds two gallons. A special treated filter offers an antimicrobial product to help maintain moisture balance for small- to medium-sized rooms. Untreated tap water flows from the tank into the UV water, where UV light kills microbes. That sanitized water then enters the base where it’s absorbed by a wicking filter. The dry air in the room is drawn through the filter where it absorbs moisture and is then dispersed into the air as a micro-fine invisible mist.
You can purchase the HCM350W model on Amazon.