With all the products on the market, it’s hard to know when to use a humidifier or dehumidifier in the home.
We will discuss how to know your home’s needs, when to use each and the benefits you can enjoy from some extra humidity.
Humidifiers versus dehumidifiers
Humidifiers are used to put extra moisture in the air. Dehumidifiers are used to remove moisture from the air. Knowing when to use each is key.
Ideally, to determine your home’s humidity level, you should use a hygrometer, an instrument that measures the humidity of air or gas. The ideal humidity in a dwelling should be between 30-50%, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
You can purchase an inexpensive hygrometer for as low as $5.00 to $10.00 online or in a store, usually located near home and outdoor thermometers.
There are other ways to measure humidity without a hygrometer. One way is using a glass of water with ice cubes. Using at least four ice cubes in the water, set the glass in the main room you would like to measure humidity. Ideally, this is not in a bathroom or laundry room, as these areas tend to have higher humidity than other central locations of the home.
After the glass of ice water is left out for five minutes, check to see how much condensation is on the glass. If there is a lot of condensation, the home has a high level of humidity. If the glass does not have condensation, there is low humidity in the home and adding a humidifier would be beneficial.
Too much moisture
Signs you need a dehumidifier is if there is moisture on the windows inside the house, dampness on the walls, or a musty smell in the home. These are signs that too much moisture is in the home and could begin causing problems such as mold, mildew, bacteria and dust mites. The presence of these have been linked to upper respiratory illnesses and asthma.
Winter is the most common time to see moisture on the windows as the cold outdoor temperatures interact with the warmer indoor temperatures to create condensation. To view dehumidifier buying guidance by Energy Star, click here.
Not enough moisture
Signs of not enough moisture in the home may be a little more difficult to notice, however, just like too much moisture can lead to respiratory illness, so can the absence of moisture. Some people experience a dry cough, sore throat, headaches or bloody noses when the humidity is low.
Dry, chapped skin and lips can be another symptom of low home humidity, sometimes causing eczema or itchy, irritated skin. Static on clothing and when brushing hair can be another signal that the indoor air is too dry. Snoring and sleep disturbances have also been linked to not enough moisture in the home.
If you already know your home could benefit from a humidifier, the next step is finding the right one for your needs. Here is a list of Consumer Report’s Best Humidifiers of 2022.
Purchasing a humidifier will require some personalized information such as the size of your space, whether you are looking for an individual room humidifier or whole home humidifier, and if there are additional features you are interested in.
Considerations you will want to look at include moisture output, convenience, noise, energy efficiency, humidistat accuracy, and hard water output. Some humidifiers have filters that need to be changed regularly, while others have a simple cleaning process to complete every one to three days. It is important to clean a humidifier regularly to ensure it is not putting bacteria into your home’s air and polluting the air quality.
If you have questions about heating and cooling, we would love to serve you. Contact us at Pilchuck Heating.