Four Things to Know Before Buying a Humidifier
1. Room Size Specifications Rate the Water Tank, Not the Machine
The room size specification on a humidifier typically reflects the size of the room that can be adequately humidified with one refill every 24 hours. So you can use a machine rated for a room smaller than you have if you’re willing to refill it more often.
The exception is the Airwasher humidifier like the Venta. The Venta Airwasher uses disk stacks from which water evaporates into the air, not an ultrasonic or steam mist that is “pushed” into the air. Larger disk stacks provides more surface area from which moisture can evaporate into the air, making the room size specification important to follow.
2. Warm Mist Does Not Kill Germs
Cool mist humidifiers can reduce the temperature in a room, so many humidifiers heat the water before misting. But a warm mist, while sometimes more comfortable, will not kill germs. Water temperature in warm mist humidifiers typically is about 100-105 degrees. To be sure you’re kill bacteria in water, you need to boil it.
If you want to be sure you have a germ killing humidifier, you need one that boils the water, or uses UV lamps to kill bacteria.
3. All Humidifiers, Except Airwashers, Leave White Dust
All humidifiers create white dust. Almost all come with a demineralization filter that does a good job of removing the stuff that results in white dust, but none remove all of it.
Your options are to use distilled water, which becomes very expensive, or use a humidifier that works by water evaporation instead of misting, like a Venta or Air-O-Swiss airwasher.
4. Look for a Humidifier that’s Easy to Clean
Many people clean their humidifiers at the beginning or the end of the season, and that’s it. Those often are the same people who get sick every winter and can’t figure out why. Well, it’s usually because they don’t clean the humidifier.
Water is a perfect breeding ground for mold, bacteria and other bad stuff. Even though you’re adding water every day, there’s still old water in the tank. That lets mold and germ colonies just keep growing, and keep getting released into the air you breathe along with the humidifying moisture.
Dumping the leftover water out of the tank, wiping it out and letting it air dry will help keep the mold and germs at bay. But a good cleaning every couple of weeks is the best way to get rid of them. But the harder the unit is to clean, the less like you are to try.
So take a close look at how the humidifier is designed to determine how easy it is to clean. There’ s not point in making the air easier to breathe if it’s just going to make you sick.