Why Should You Use a Humidifier?

Home humidity can really be a “Goldilocks” problem—air that’s too humid can promote mold growth and contribute to the prevalence of allergy symptoms, while air that’s too dry can lead to dry skin, itchy nasal passages, and damage to your home and furnishings.

At Feder, we know how to keep your family and home comfortable using whole house or portable humidifiers. In fact, our technicians can help you achieve your personal ideal humidity level within a single percentage point.

Contact us or call 507-642-3522 to learn more about our indoor air quality, dehumidifier, and humidifier services.

How Does a Humidifier Work?

A humidifier adds humidity to the air by one of several processes (evaporation, steam, impeller and ultrasonic).

There are several types of humidifiers available to homeowners. These include:

Portable Humidifiers

  • Evaporative humidifiers: Uses a membrane, wick or fabric to soak up water for a basin. A fan, or blower, blows against the membrane allowing the water to be evaporated. Evaporative humidifiers must be regularly cleaned and the wick or membrane should be replaced quarterly to prevent the growth and spread of mold.
  • Steam humidifiers, or warm mist humidifiers: Uses a heating element that heats water until it boils, emitting steam. These humidifiers are most commonly used when residents are ill, as they work well in a small area. These do not require cleaning and are self-regulating but are not recommended for use near children because they can be a burn hazard.
  • Impeller humidifiers: Uses a rotating disc to send water through a diffuser, which breaks water into small droplets that are dispersed as a cool mist. Impeller humidifiers do not use heat (are safe for children), are low in price, easy to maintain and use less electricity than other models.
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers: Uses ultrasonic vibrations to create humidified air. No filters, no membranes. These units work best when they are kept filled with distilled water. Water should be changed regularly to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Whole House Humidifiers

Whole house humidifiers come in two main types: “flow through” and “drum.” Either type allows homeowners to humidify a whole house without setting up individual portable humidifiers.

Contained within your home’s HVAC system, whole house humidifiers don’t take up valuable real estate in living spaces, or require daily maintenance like re-filling and cleaning.

Central or whole home humidifiers are a significant investment but are perfect for homeowners who live in dry climates or have dry winters, who suffer from health problems, or who are looking to increase the long-term value of their home.

Why and When to Use a Humidifier

If the air you breathe feels dry or if you’re suffering from dry-air related health problems, it’s time to purchase a portable or whole-home humidifier. If the humidity level is too low in your home, it can contribute to health problems. Air with very low humidity will attempt to soak up moisture wherever it can be found, including from your home’s floor boards, door jambs, window frames and wooden furniture. This can cause shifts in frames, cracks in floor and the separation of furniture joints.

The existing humidity in your home can be measured by a hygrometer. The proper humidity level for your home can be determined by the exterior air temperature. In the summer, humidity levels should be kept between 40-49%. Winter humidity levels are more difficult to regulate, as too much humidity will cause unwanted condensation. As a rule, winter humidity levels between 30-40% are a good aim. Humidity levels below 30% can contribute to health problems and should be avoided.

Dry air is especially prevalent in winter months and can contribute to many common aches and pains, including:

  • Allergies
  • Dry throat and airways
  • Dry skin
  • Frequent coughs
  • Eye irritation
  • Bloody noses
  • Headaches
  • More colds and flu, since viruses love dry air