As we are embracing the wintertime, we cannot avoid dryness, whether with your skin, eyes, and lips or even at home. The air feels dry and static electricity is everywhere. There is only one reason why all these are happening. The humidity is too low.
Indoor humidity varies in every room area and with the season. During the winter season, there is less moisture in the air that causes everything to be dry, uncomfortable, and stressful. Usually, we need at least two humidifiers at home, one for the living room and another for the bedroom, because these are the spaces we often stay.
But, if humidity is really low in other essential parts of the house, then you can consider adding more. It is only then that you may wonder and ask yourself, how many humidifiers do I need at home to feel comfortable?
The answer lies in how much humidification is needed at home. If your home has more rooms with humidity needs, then it’s time to add another portable unit.
To make it clear and better guide you in choosing how many humidifiers to use at home, I decided to tackle deeper into this concern as the winter season is fast approaching and I don’t want you to suffer from any uncomfortable situations that low-humidity bring.
Why Use a Humidifier Especially in the Winter?
During the winter months, we all crave some warmth and cozy homes where we can rest comfortably without having to worry and stress about dryness and congestion.
It is a fact that your indoor air humidity in the wintertime should be at least or lower than 40% relative humidity or RH to keep everything balanced, homey and avoids window condensation.
The worst-case here is that WITH or WITHOUT humidifiers, you may have comfort problems at home during the cold weather. Indoor air will be different than the outside conditions. It could be drier, with the presence of bacteria and mold growth, and may cause other unwanted illnesses.
BUT, using a humidifier during winter can immensely alleviate all these negativities. Although heaters are doing their best to provide us warmth, it is still not enough to add more air moisture inside the house.
You wouldn’t like freezing all day long after a tiring workday and come home to another cool and chilly home. Heaters could help but they can be more expensive when used for too long.
Humidifiers can be a great alternative or a partner with your central heating system. It won’t force the unit to push more heat but rather it will sync with the humidifier to make the indoor air balanced and cozy.
Humidifiers don’t only balance indoor air humidity but can also provide you with more such as the following:
What are the Different Types of Humidifiers for Homes?
Humidifiers come in varying types and sizes. Although they all have the same working principle, some types have used different technologies.
In fact, there are basically 5 different types of humidifiers that you can choose from.
- 1Ultrasonic (Cool/Warm Mist) Humidifier- This is the modern type of portable humidifier wherein it is quieter than the standard models and has more features. Usually, this humidifier is selected by homeowners with babies or those who are sensitive to loud noises.
- 2Whole House/ Central Humidifier- Often, this is the choice of sub-urban homeowners and commercial building landlords to maintain balanced humidity throughout the covered spaces.
- 3Impeller/Cool Mist Humidifier- Cool Mist impeller type of humidifier is the safest choice of portable humidifiers for those with pets and children at home. They emit cool mist and works with the help of its internal rotating disks at a higher speed.
- 4Steam Vaporizers- Classic humidifiers are made from steam vaporizers which works by heating the water in the tank and emit the vapor into the air to add more moisture. It’s a great choice to alleviate colds, flu, and nasal congestion but then quite a concern for your pets and children for any spillage.
Humidifier Sizes: Central vs. Portable vs. Console
Based on your preferences, humidifiers are often categorized as console or portable. Console humidifiers are mostly used in houses with larger spaces.
Central humidifiers are installed together with the heating and air-conditioning systems to structures with permanent residences or long-term stays.
In terms of humidification, both types perform their tasks accordingly. It all boils down to your own convenience and humidity needs.
Console humidifiers can be portable with wheels, bulky in size or almost cabinet-like, but can cover larger spaces. Although it has a wider moisture output, its efficiency still depends on your home humidity needs.
Mostly, open-space home designs favor console-type of humidifiers compared to houses with wall partitions and a lot of barriers.
Console humidifiers are usually evaporative type and have larger water tanks which require more refilling compared to the portable ones.
On the other hand, portable humidifiers come in with different features and are often considered as countertop appliances even though there are bigger sizes available.
Portable humidifiers are best for apartments or condos, and houses with closed-space concepts. They even give you more options because portable humidifiers are either ultrasonic or evaporative type and have adjustable mist settings.
Central humidifiers, as its name suggests, is installed together with the air-conditioning and heating system of a house or a building.
Although they are quite an expensive upfront, you have the benefit of not having to worry about humidity issues in the entire house.
How Do You Choose ? Portable, Console, and Central Type?
If you are struggling to choose between these types of humidifiers, you should first take a look at your home’s humidity requirement. Most commercial buildings opt for a central humidifier to save cost while most residential homes go for a more practical portable type.
Whichever you choose, always make sure that you check the humidity level of your homes before investing in any of these.
So, How Many Humidifiers Do I Actually Need at Home?
In wintertime, many parts of the house suffer from low humidity such as in the bedroom, nursery, living room, basement, and others. You can begin with at least two portable units at home by placing it in areas where your family mostly stays.
As for me, I have one portable humidifier in my bedroom and one in the living room because these are the rooms commonly used.
Again, let’s keep the central humidifier type away for a while since it is already clear that you can opt for it if you own a bigger space and plan to stay longer or permanently. They are more expensive types because the unit will be installed directly into the HVAC system.
Let’s keep our focus on the portable humidifier types and how many of this you might actually need at home. Of course, not every room needs to be humidified but there are certain areas where you badly need it.
You will easily know that there is low-humidity in a room when the air feels dry and uncomfortable. At some point, you will even feel static electricity.
However, the best thing to do is to install a hygrometer that would precisely tell you how much indoor humidity you currently have in a specific room or area.
Based on the humidity results in every room, you can check out this table below on the suggested number of humidifiers needed at home:
However, this list depends on many varying factors such as house design, frequent use, ventilation, maintenance, and many more. With this guide, you will have at least a clear idea of how many portable humidifiers you might need at home.
What Matters Most! A Complete Humidifier Buying Guide
Once you have already decided on how many humidifiers you need at home, the next thing you have to decide on would be what kind should you use.
Onset, I have given you the different types of humidifier systems available, so now I will give you in-depth information about humidifiers.
Invest in Germ-Free or Bacterial Control Humidifiers
During the winter, there will be less ventilation since all doors are shut due to the cold breeze. Chances are, the more enclosed the room would be the greater the risk of infecting more bacteria.
It would greatly benefit you and your loved ones when you invest in germ-free humidifiers or with bacterial-control features.
Usually, these types have included special nano or silver ion technology that kills the growth of molds and bacteria that would be hanging around the water tank.
Calculate Room Size
This is where most of us fail, we often overlook the size and just tend to focus on the advanced features. However, humidifier size greatly affects the moisture output.
The moisture output rate depends on the listed square feet of the room and is more or less accurate. If you are unsure about what room size you have, you can choose a bigger model.
For example, if your humidifier specs say that it works best for small rooms of up to 400 square feet and the actual room size is about 360 square feet, then you can go for a medium-size humidifier.
Consider the Room Tightness
Every home or building is categorized based on its tightness- Loose, Tight, and Average. This is according to the number of air exchanges every hour that can affect the total amount of humidity that must be added into the air.
Modern structures follow a standard room height of 9 feet whereas older structures had only 8 feet. If your house has a high-ceiling design, then you need to carefully consider the size when buying. It’s best to go for the next bigger size than undersize the room.
Here is a table of humidifier output based on size to give you a clearer guide before buying or adding:
Smooth and Easy Maintenance
Home maintenance is a big challenge during the wintertime. The same thing also goes for cleaning and maintaining household appliances like the humidifier.
Upon purchasing, also consider the cleaning and maintenance features of the unit. Look for those that are easy to maintain. If your unit has a filter, then opt for a longer filter replacement.
The water tank and overall design highly matter during cleaning. Choose the unit which does not have any complicated design so it will be easier to clean and maintain.
Should I Get Warm Mist or Cool Mist in Winter?
This is the next question I often receive after writing about humidifiers. A warm mist humidifier is particularly recommended for winter.
Warm mist humidifiers have the potential to kill pathogens, viruses, and bacteria that can spread into the air. It is also excellent for people suffering from allergies, asthma, and nasal congestions in the cold season.
Because warm mist humidifiers boil water and release steam, the hot steam itself is responsible for fighting off these harmful elements. Apart from that, warm mist humidifiers also maintain the warmth of the room making it more comfortable to move and of course, reduce heating costs.
But, I highly suggest that you invest in a humidifier that offers both the cold and warm mist settings so you don’t have to spend more money comes the spring!
Everyone Has Different Requirements
Ideally, there is no exact number of humidifiers needed in a home because it is so subjective. However, as a guide, you can start with at least two portable humidifiers at home by placing them in commonly-shared areas.
I recommend that you should take a closer look at your home’s needs such as humidification, size, and tightness. Only then you will discover each room’s humidity concern and from then, decide to get a humidifier.