I love winter, I really do. But I could totally do without the desert-like dry air. It gets to me after a while – especially when I try to sleep. My throat gets so dry at night that I wake up every hour to get a drink of water. This year I finally caved in and bought a humidifier. Minus the two cats that crawl on me when I try to sleep, things have vastly improved, and I don’t wake up often, if at all.
A humidifier can help a lot if you’re having some trouble sleeping because of the dry weather. Plus they can relieve severely dry skin or coughing. The Mayo Clinic also suggests that humidifiers can help ease cold or respiratory symptoms. There are many types of humidifiers, so how do you pick the right one? No worries. We’ve got some suggestions for you if you’re thinking of buying one.
Cold mist vs. warm mist
I discovered there are two basic types of humidifiers you can purchase, and they emit either a warm or cool mist. A warm mist humidifier heats up water and turns it into steam. A cool mist humidifier pressurizes water in a narrow spout, breaking it down into smaller molecules that float around in the air.
I know you want to know which is better for your home. From my research, both humidifiers create suitable water vapor to saturate dry air. However, most experts would suggest that if you have children, purchasing a cold mist humidifier is a better choice, as it doesn’t emit hot steam that could hurt a child. If you’re concerned with saving money, a cold mist humidifier may be a better choice, as the warm mist will tack on a few extra pennies to your electric bill.
Lean toward a cold mist humidifier if safety and cost top your must-have list. Otherwise, the general consensus is that either type of humidifier will do the job.
Filter vs. no filter
Most humidifiers contain a filter to ensure clean water vapor comes out of the machine. Water from your tap may contain minerals or microscopic dirt. The filter helps purify the vapor, and can help prevent the growth of bacteria – keeping you from breathing all that nasty stuff.
Popular humidifier models have replaceable filters. Depending on how much you use yours and the type you own, it’ll need to be replaced anywhere from two times a week to once a month. Constantly replacing filters drives up the operating cost significantly. However, you can buy humidifiers with reusable filters that you remove and wash. This can help you save money in the long run, but you’ll pay a little more on the front end.
You’ll also see humidifiers that boast no filter whatsoever. This seems like a low-cost, maintenance-free option, right? Well kind of, but you still need to clean it just as often as you’d change a filter – particularly if you own a warm mist humidifier. Bacteria might begin to grow inside, since it’s a warm, moist environment, if you don’t clean it regularly. Your owner’s manual can tell you the most effective method to do so.
Consider the Size of Your Space
Do you want to have a humidifier that just humidifies one room or your entire home? Let’s say you want to humidify your entire home. You’ll need a larger system that attaches to your home heating duct system and might have to be professionally installed. Going this route can cost you hundreds of dollars.
Or you can think smaller, get a humidifier designed to work for one room, and save a little cash. Smaller systems that humidify one room start as low as $10–$15. You can buy one or two for the most used rooms in your home, or you could just buy one and move it around the house as needed.
Make sure it’s quiet
I remember the humidifier I had as a kid; it was ridiculously loud. The thing sounded like a lawn mower. I could barely sleep the nights I used it. Luckily, over the years, the systems have become much more quiet. Now, while I sleep, I can barely hear the one I just bought. Read the reviews of the humidifiers you might purchase; people will definitely let you know if they’re noisy.
Don’t suffer from lack of sleep or cracked, dry skin the entire winter. I bought my one-room humidifier for about $25, and so far it’s worked really well. I’m glad I purchased it. I’ve slept so soundly the past few weeks. Now, if I could only fix the cat problem.