A humidifier is a device that adds moisture to the air. Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. The ideal relative humidity for healthy living is around 30-50% in a home, meaning that the air holds 30-50% of its maximum potential of water vapor. Having too little or too much humidity can cause adverse health effects, so here’s when you should and should not use your humidifier.

Use If:

You have dry skin, hair, and lips.

Increased humidity prevents the skin, hair, and lips from drying out as much, especially in the winter months when the cold dry air moves in. Many types of heating units also pump hot, dry air throughout a home, which can dry out your skin, hair, and lips. Using a humidifier to counteract this allows you to maintain moist and healthy skin while not sacrificing precious heat in the cold months.

You have a dry cough, allergies, or general sinus dryness.

Dryness can be terrible for allergies, dry coughs and sinus dryness. The tissues in your sinuses require moisture to catch particles and prevent them from causing irritation. Dryness results in a lack of that moisture which allows dust, allergens, and other particles to irritate your sinuses. A dry cough is also unproductive, as the lack of moisture does not allow you to loosen up phlegm and mucus. So using a humidifier to increase moisture in the air will help to lubricate your sinuses and throat, helping to lessen your symptoms and increase your comfort. It can also just generally improve your air quality.

You have wood furniture, wallpaper, or want to save money on your heat bills.

Increased moisture from a humidifier can be a boon to many things around your home. Some plants will thrive better in higher humidity, wood floors and furniture will generally last longer as dryness tends to cause them to shrink, increasing risks of cracking. Humidity also reduces static electricity from building up which can cause wallpaper to crack. Humid air generally feels warmer than dry air, so you will not have to heat your home as much depending on how warm you feel. 

Do Not Use If:

Your humidifier is dirty.

A dirty humidifier can be worse than not having one at all. Mold, mildew, and allergens can build up in the humidifier and be reintroduced to the air, which you then breathe. People with respiratory problems or asthma could have exacerbated symptoms and more discomfort. Make sure to clean your humidifier according to its manufacturer’s instructions, and watch for mold growth in the tank.

Your home is already humid.

Increased moisture in the air can be helpful, but too much can cause unintended consequences. Mold and dust mites especially thrive in more moist environments, so having too much moisture can kick start growth for both of them. It is generally recommended that your humidity level should not be over 60%. Make sure to check the humidifier’s built in humidity checker, or if it does not have one, purchase a hygrometer, a meter that measures humidity.

You use unfiltered or hard tap water.

Most manufacturers recommend using pure, clean water in their humidifiers, for good reason. First, minerals in tap water can build up in the humidifier, causing it to break down and decreasing its life span. Second, unfiltered or hard tap water can contain higher levels of minerals and other particles than clean, filtered water, which when put into the air and breathed in, can exacerbate respiratory symptoms, or they can settle as dust.

Having Trouble With Your Humidity?

Stack Heating, Cooling, and Electric can help. For over 40 years, Stack has provided quality heating, cooling, and electric services with superior products and customer service to our Cleveland clients. With choices ranging from scheduled service plans all the way to emergency calls, we’ll always be your number one choice for your HVAC and electrical needs. Visit us on our website today!