Now that winter has arrived, buckle up for signs of chapped lips, dry skin, nosebleeds, and static hair. Seasonal allergies will also begin to come out, plus other discomforts that can affect your overall well-being.
To provide relief from all these, there’s one home appliance you can always rely on, and that is the humidifier. Humidifiers are underrated appliances that provide tremendous benefits.
Installing a humidifier at home will bring you comfort from breathing congestions, allergies and other skin irritations, especially if you reside in dry, cold places. But before you take advantage of these benefits, you must first learn how to make a humidifier more effective.
From its proper handling, mist control, total output, and convenience, I will give you complete insights on how to make a humidifier more effective. There are also other elements you should be aware of and you will learn all these in this new post!
4 Mistakes People Make When Using a Humidifier
In order to make a humidifier more effective, you must first consider your need for a balanced humidity, your comfort, and its convenience.
Usually, people tend to buy appliances for the sake of owning one or due to increasing demands but they don’t know exactly how to use and make the most of it. I actually listed down the 4 mistakes people make when using a humidifier.
#4 Incorrect Home Humidity Levels
A humidifier is needed when there is not enough air moisture which causes skin dryness and respiratory infections. The ideal humidity is between 40-50% and during winter, it must play around 25-40% to avoid window and wall condensations.
Even if you don’t have a hygrometer, you can physically sense that there is low humidity at home when you produce static electricity, your lips are cracked and your skin is too dry. But, of course, it is still best if you own one so you can monitor the indoor humidity.
However, in most cases, people tend to ignore the humidity level indoors before turning on the humidifier even though most humidifiers come with built-in humidistat.
This is crucial especially to those people suffering from allergies and asthma. When there is low-humidity at home, dust mites will start to die at a 50% humidity level.
Allergens dry out when humidity levels are under 30% and these allergens and bacteria become lighter and therefore may shift into airborne easily, which of course can lead to higher inhaling rates.
Although it is great to use a humidifier, you must consider the current relative humidity level you have before turning it on.
Along with monitoring the indoor air humidity, you must also check if it becomes too high. High humidity can worsen your allergies and will make the room feel dense and stuffy.
During winter, when the central heating is on, most homes don’t need a humidifier but there are still certain areas or parts of the house where there is low humidity.
#3 Not Changing the Water Regularly
The next common mistake that makes the humidifier less effective is the habit of not changing the water in the tank. What happens is that most people only change the water when the device alerts that it’s almost empty and needs to be refilled.
However, letting the water sink in the tank for so long can create a thin film on top that later one breeds bacteria and mold.
Always make it habit to empty the tank when not in use and clean it on a regular basis. Use the prescribed cleaning agents recommended by the manufacturer.
You can also clean it with water and bleach or vinegar to remove tank build-ups and mold growth. Otherwise, the contaminated water will be released into the air and there is a greater chance that you and your family will inhale it.
#2 Knowing Your Kind of Water
Having a humidifier doesn’t just end in purchasing and using the device. You also need to consider how to prolong its life and one of the ways to do it is by considering the correct type of water to use.
If you are using an ultrasonic humidifier, most of these devices need soft water or distilled water in order to run smoothly. Hard water may cause build-up and limescale that may be released into the air.
This type of water will produce a white mist, making the surrounding dirty and if left untreated can cause damages to the furniture and nearby appliances.
It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s advice on what type of water you can use. You can also:
- Install a whole house water treatment device to soften the water
- Use demineralization cartridges for hard water
#1 Choosing the Right Kind of Humidifier
Do you need a central humidifier or just a portable one would do? Understanding the kind of unit you need is essential in making sure that you get the most from it.
If you only have few rooms with low humidity, then using a portable humidifier is perfectly fine. But, if the entire house suffers from extreme low humidity during the winter, then installing a whole-house humidifier is a great option.
One more thing is that prior to purchasing a humidifier, you must already be aware of the relative indoor humidity at home or in certain rooms.
You can monitor it through the help of a hygrometer. By being aware of your indoor humidity level, you can then decide on what kind of humidifier to use to make it more effective.
Some models also include a built-in humidistat to monitor the humidity levels indoors.
Humidifier Size is Also Vital
Selecting the correct humidifier size for your room is vital in maintaining a balanced room humidity. Just because you have a large unit doesn’t mean it is great in keeping the room comfortable. In fact, having a large size in a small area will cost you more on your electricity cost.
While a small unit in a large room has a negative effect on your family’s health. A small humidifier placed in a bigger space can actually make the room damp causing molds and bacteria to breed.
Therefore you have to be mindful of the humidifier size before buying and always consider your room size. Most units sold in the market have specified room sizes that their device can work in.
How to Make your Humidifier Release More Mist
Most homeowners believe that the more mist your humidifier emits, the quicker the indoor humidity level balances.
But, in my years of experience as a meteorologist, mist emission actually does not have a tremendous effect on changing or altering the indoor humidity level rapidly whether in a low or high setting.
The humidifier works by calculating the indoor relative humidity based from outside temperature and humidity.
You can see in this table below the recommended relative indoor humidity levels during the winter season.
Can I Add Salt to Increase Mist?
They say that you can add salt to an evaporative humidifier or warm-mist type so it will release more mist into the air. When you add salt into the humidifier water, it will break the molecules apart and force them to move farther from each other thus making the conversion process faster.
Apparently, adding salt in your humidifier will not have any influence on the way the mist is released. The change in the boiling point is not that impacting at all, approximately at 0.555 °F/ 0.04 °C.
Does Salt Have Benefits when Added in Humidifier?
However, in terms of health benefits, salt is believed to have excellent advantages. Salt can keep your body well-hydrated, prevents high blood pressure, and has healing benefits.
If you own a steam humidifier, you can add healing salt to gain all these advantages:
- 1Remove the tank from the unit after safely unplugging it
- 2Add clean water into the tank until the specified marker. Remember not to add hot water since it may be dangerous for you and your children or pets
- 3Next is to add at least ⅛ teaspoon of salt. Don’t go beyond the recommended amount or else it will damage the unit
- 4Mix the salt and water carefully and put the tank back to the unit and plug it on
Using salt in your humidifier is safe as long as you don’t go overboard and as long as the manufacturer allows the use of it.
To ensure that you are not inhaling too much sodium, consider the type of salt you can add. Here are the different types of salt you can use plus their corresponding sodium levels:
- Pink Himalayan Salt- 36.8%
- Sea Salt - 38.3%
- Celtic Sea Salt - 33.8%
Our bodies need at least 2300 mg of sodium per day so, with this reference, you can limit your sodium intake from food and add a minimal amount in the humidifier.
Salt Won’t Work with Cool-Mist Humidifiers
Although you can add salt for health benefits in an evaporative type, humidifiers with cool-mist type, particularly the ultrasonic, do not allow the salt to be added. Not that it helps in creating more mist but it may actually cause damage to the unit.
In order to increase the mist output, most ultrasonic humidifier models have adjustable mist control wherein you can direct the unit on what type of mist to use either high or low mist setting.
Many brands have also incorporated directional rotation such as 360° so it will surround the entire room and balance the indoor humidity quickly.
So to bust the myth about adding salt, it does not help in increasing mist output at all but it may have healing benefits. All you have to do is to choose the brand and model that has the capability to adjust the mist setting and direction.
Importance of Humidifier Output
You can make a humidifier more effective if it can produce more output in a day. Humidifier output is calculated based on the moisture capacity your unit has produced in 24 hours.
If you happen to notice, one of the listed features of each humidifier model states the output it can give in a day. Typically, portable units can produce 0.5 to 0.9 gallons per day while using a central humidifier can produce 9 gallons or more.
The output is measured according to your humidifier size and room size and this does not mean that if your unit has a bigger water tank, the more output it can produce but its ability to humidify the room.
Humidifier tanks only determine the water it can hold but not the total humidity output. Your unit can deliver better outputs when there are high humidity and correct device size ratio to the room size.
This means that the humidity output needed is measured by the square footage of the room plus the total capacity of the unit (gallons per day) to create the ideal humidity level.
Well-ventilated rooms don’t need much humidity output compared to rooms or houses with less ventilation.
Understanding Convenience and Maintenance
Your convenience is perhaps the utmost important factor when choosing a room humidifier and make it more effective. Regardless of how good a unit can be if it will make your life complicated then it’s not actually effective.
Upon choosing a humidifier and making the most of it, you must consider your convenience upon handling, using, and cleaning the device. The ease of cleaning the parts and maintaining the entire unit is one of the major factors on how to make a humidifier more effective.
Ask yourself the following:
Another thing that you have to consider is the noise level your unit is emitting especially if you are using a humidifier at night.
There are models that are equipped with whisper-quiet technology where you can even use the device in nursery and bedrooms. Ultrasonic humidifiers are quieter compared to evaporative types.
To better guide you in identifying and understanding your convenience, remember these points:
- 1First, you have to identify your needs
- 2Decide on where you will put the humidifier
- 3Choose the Correct Type
- 4List the features you want
- 5Consider the maintenance
Keeping your indoor humidity at a steady level is crucial that is why humidifiers are highly needed in order to maintain a balanced room environment. However, it doesn’t just all end in having a humidifier and turning it on.
You can make your humidifier more effective in many ways such as understanding the mist it can release, the humidity output, and its overall convenience, and cost.
By learning from the common mistakes, you can determine the areas you failed to do and from there, you can change your usual ways and get more from your humidifier.