What does a humidifier do for allergies

Now that you understand how a humidifier can assist you and your allergies, it’s time you study more about the diverse types of humidifiers.

The most widely found type of humidifier is the evaporative humidifier, also known as the cool mist humidifier. The device uses a filter, wick, and reservoir to get rid of any moisture in the air that’s at room temperature.

If you love, you can get an evaporative humidifier that can be programmed or one that includes a built-in hygrometer so that the humidity level in your home is always absolutely perfect. One expression of caution with this specific type of humidifier is that you desire to make certain you regularly change the filter, otherwise you might discover yourself with a mold problem, which only becomes fuel for the allergy fire.

Other Options for Humidifiers Include:

  1. Ultrasonic humidifiers create moisture through ultrasonic vibration.
  2. Impeller humidifiers use a spinning disc to create cool mist.
  3. Steam producing/vaporizer humidifiers utilize electricity in order to create cooled steam.
  4. Central humidifiers are built directly into your home’s A/C and heating unit and makes certain the humidity levels throughout your home are properly balanced.

Even though there is no filter to worry about with impeller and ultrasonic humidifiers, they own been known to produce little minerals that can jacket nearby furniture pieces, which won’t be doing your allergies any favors.

While steam producing vaporizers get the occupation done, they can cause a spike in your monthly energy bills.

Using Humidifiers the Correct Way

Humidifiers aren’t something that you can just use and forget about, at least not if you desire them to operate efficiently and get as numerous years of use out of them as possible. Make certain that you hold your humidifier clean so that it remains free of bacteria. It’s also best that you hold vaporizer humidifiers out of the reach of children since the boiling steam may cause burns.

Even if your humidifier has a hygrometer, it’s best that you still hold an eye on them to see that the moisture level in your home is always between 30 percent and 50 percent.

Any water that you use in your humidifier should be as clean as possible.

If the water has been sitting in the reservoir of the humidifier for a while, it can start to grow fungi and bacteria. The next time you turn your humidifier on, every of those allergens will be pumped into the air and into your lungs if you breathe it in. It’s best that you change the water in your humidifier every day and completely empty the reservoir before you fill it up again.

Before you put your humidifier away in storage, you’ll first desire to completely drain it and clean it. It’s also recommended that you throw away every filters, cassettes, and cartridges.

You’ll desire to clean it again once you take it out of storage to get rid of any dust, bacteria, and fungi that might own gotten onto it.

If you suffer from allergies, or if you just desire to improve your indoor quality of air, consider purchasing a high-quality humidifier for your home. Experience what life is love without suffering from irritated nasal passages, a dry throat, and dry skin.

Filed Under: Allergy & Asthma InfoTagged With: allergies, allergy relief, howto, Humidifiers, tips

Comparison Chart

Type Compact Compact Compact Compact Compact Compact Compact Compact
Type of Mist Cool Cool Warm Cool Warm and Cool Warm and Cool Cool Cool
Type of Humidification Evaporative Evaporative Mist Ultrasonic Ultrasonic Ultrasonic Ultrasonic Evaporative
Room Coverage
Tank Capacity 2-Gallon 1-Gallon 1-Gallon Gallon Gallon Gallon Gallon Gallon
Humidistat No No No No Yes Yes No Yes
Controls Manual Manual Manual Manual Digital Digital + Remote Control Manual Digital
Low Water Indicator Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Automatic Shut Off Yes None Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Weight lbs 9 lbs lbs lbs 8 lbs lbs lbs lbs
Dimensions x 13 x x x 12 x x x x x x x 7 x x x 12 x 18 x
Warranty Year 3-Year 3-Year 1-Year 3-Year 1-Year 2-Year 2-Year

How to improve air quality and reduce allergy symptoms

Taking a few basic steps can improve the indoor air quality in your home and reduce the frequency and severity of allergy flare-ups.

  1. Keep it clean.

    Vacuum carpets, rugs and upholstery. Wipe below hard surfaces with a damp cloth. Allergens in the air eventually settle, and cleaning removes them from your home. If you do not clean, eventually they will get kicked back up into the air again. A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter will do a better occupation of trapping allergens and other particles.

  2. Keep the windows closed. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, hold your windows closed and turn on the air-conditioning when your allergies are at their worst. We generally propose opening windows, because unused outdoor air is almost always cleaner than indoor air, but in this case you desire to hold pollen outside.
  3. Use an air purification system.

    This could include a filter on your HVAC system or a portable air purifier.

Using a humidifier in the dry winter months is a excellent thought, as it will hold your skin, nose and throat from becoming dry and cracked. It will also ease some of your allergy symptoms. It is extremely significant to use the humidifier correctly, however, keeping humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent, and cleaning the humidifier regularly to avoid contamination.

If you suffer from allergies, you might come to hate the changing of the seasons and the pollen floating through the air.

Even if you shut yourself inside for days on finish, there are still several allergens in your home that can irritate your respiratory system and skin.

Consider buying a humidifier rather than popping allergy pills and emptying tissue boxes an hour at a time.

Why Humidify, and Which Type of Humidifier Is Best?


by: Guest Contributor

“I would wake up in the morning and it felt love my face would crack from the dryness,” says New York City resident Carole Klein. “But once I started using a humidifier, I had no problem.”

Dry skin is just one reason that experts recommend using a humidifier, a device that emits water into the air to increase moisture levels (humidity) in your home or office.

The National Institutes of Health recommends the use of humidifiers to assist relieve congestion from the common freezing, flu, and sinus infections. And humidifiers can also assist alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes, eczema, itchy skin, dry nasal passages, cracked lips, and nose bleeds due to dry air, allergies, or asthma.

Riley Greene, M.D., of the Denver Skin Clinic says that in the case of eczema or itchiness due to dry skin, a humidifier can do more than just alleviate symptoms — it can prevent them altogether.

He counsels his patients to turn on their humidifiers at the same time they turn on the heating system in their homes.

“Using forced-air heating in your home can decrease the humidity level to 10 percent,” he explains. “The skin needs humidity levels of at least 30 to 40 percent to stay healthy.”

And when your skin is healthy, it won’t just feel better — it will glance better too.

“When the skin dries, wrinkles appear more prominent,” says Greene. «If your skin is hydrated, it will glance plumper and hide the wrinkles.»

Generally, humidifiers provide the greatest benefit in the freezing winter months, but in dryer climates they can be used year-round.

Aside from making your skin feel and glance better, boosting the moisture in your indoor air can assist your nasal passages, too.

Sandra Freed has been using a humidifier in her Denver home for the final five years to combat nose bleeds. “My allergist recommended I get a humidifier to moisturize my nasal passages at night while I slept,” she says.

What does a humidifier do for allergies

«I did, and it stopped the nose bleeds immediately.»

While using a humidifier generally won’t prevent colds, sinus problems, or allergies, they can alleviate the symptoms to assist you get to sleep and get on with your life.

Erin Sturga, who also lives in Denver where the climate is extremely dry in both winter and summer, uses her humidifier every year: cool mist in the summer and warm mist in the winter. “I discover that it keeps my sinuses happier at night while sleeping,” she says.

“Before I used one, I would wake up congested at times, and with a sore throat at other times. Also my skin was extremely dry. I discover that I need to use less skin lotion when the humidifier is on nightly.”

Parents often use humidifiers to assist ease their children’s freezing symptoms, since there are so few medications you can safely give to extremely young kids.

“Parents are desperate to do something when their baby is ill with a freezing — and there aren’t too numerous things that they can do to relieve that snotty nose or cough,” says Ari Brown, M.D., author of Baby Clear Answers and Brilliant Advice for your Baby’s First Year.

“The mist can assist loosen up the mucus and make it easier to cough or swallow those secretions.”

Which type of humidifier should you buy?

When choosing the correct humidifier for your home, start by deciding whether you desire to humidify just one room (usually a bedroom), or the whole home. Generally, a unit for your bedroom and/or your children’s rooms will suffice. But if you live in a extremely dry climate or own severe sinus symptoms, you might desire to invest in a whole-house system.

Get the correct size and capacity for the room

Portable humidifiers and tabletop humidifiers can be ideal for a single room.

Some even come with two different-sized tanks for different-sized rooms.

Whole-house humidifiers are larger and generally cover multiple rooms or a little home or apartment. In-duct or whole-house humidifier systems operate love central heat or air. A console-style whole-house humidifier is a supersized version of a tabletop single-room humidifier — with a larger refillable tank (an 8-gallon tank can humidify up to about 1, square feet, depending on the model) and casters so you can easily park it in a central but out-of-the-way spot in your house.

Other whole-home humidifiers join permanently to your water supply, so they don’t own be filled with water every day or two as with tank-style humidifiers.

This type of unit may also join directly to the home’s forced-air heating system and may best be installed by a heating and ventilation professional.

Select cool mist or warm mist (or both)

A warm mist humidifier, a type of steam vaporizer, uses electricity to create steam that cools before leaving the machine. Because the water is boiled before it enters the air, the mist is less likely to contain bacteria. Glance for «germ-free» warm mist humidifier technology in these units; this typically refers to built-in ultraviolet light or nano-silver antimicrobial features that kill germs and spores in the water before it’s vaporized.

Cool mist humidifiers don’t boil the water (they just vaporize it), so they are more energy efficient and don’t present the burn risk and fire hazard issues of warm mist models.

What does a humidifier do for allergies

Cool mist humidifier technologies include ultrasonic humidifiers, which emit moisture by ultrasonic vibrations; impeller humidifiers, which emit moisture with a high-speed rotating disk; and evaporative humidifiers, which use a fan to blow air through a wet wick, filter, or belt to trap mineral dust and bacteria before the water evaporates into the air.

Some humidifier models come with both cool mist and warm mist options. A model love this lets you hold the room cooler in summer (when running the air conditioning can dry out the air the same way the heater does) and warmer in winter.

Your doctor may specifically recommend cool or warm mist for you depending on your situation. Brown recommends using a cool mist humidifier in children’s rooms.

What does a humidifier do for allergies

“I discover that warm mist models make the room really stuffy,” he says, “and they can be a hazard if they’re left on around children — the steam is hot!”

Keep a warm mist humidifier out of reach of children and away from flammable materials. Never put a warm mist humidifier or steam vaporizer on carpet or other upholstered surfaces.

Regardless of the model you select, you must clean it regularly.

Otherwise, you run the risk of spreading bacteria and mold, which can exacerbate allergies and asthma symptoms. Choosing one of the newer models that come with built-in antibacterial technology will assist hold the water clean so you don’t own to wash the unit as frequently.

Also, pay shut attention to the moisture level of the room. Some humidifiers automatically adjust their output based on the moisture level, others let you set the level manually. It should always be between 30 percent and 50 percent or, again, you run the risk of increasing mold and bacteria growth.


It’s the finish of a endless day, and you’ve grudgingly brushed, flossed, washed your face and performed other tedious tasks when you’d much rather just drop correct in bed.

Suddenly, the humidifier looms large. The tank is half full, so why not just save yourself an additional chore and re-use final night’s water? Then there’s the fact that a diverse president was in office the final time you performed a full clean of the little appliance, but surely, the water running through keeps it clean enough, right? As much as we hate to be Humidifier Henrietta, both of these common mistakes are actually risky for your overall health.

So why’s that? First off, you need to know what a humidifier is in the first put. There are a bunch of diverse types (warm-mist, cool-mist, ultrasonic), but they every shoot for the same goals of restoring moisture to the atmosphere to assist people breathe better, relieving dry skin, stopping static electricity and even protecting your wooden furniture.

Too little humidity is extremely common in the winter once the indoor heater gets cranked up, drying out the air and sometimes resulting in chapped lips, bloody noses and breathing issues. A warm mist humidifier can still provide heat without drying out the air in your room.

"Dry air increases mucus production and keeps it thick. Thinner and moist air keeps the mucus thin, making it easier to expel," explains New York City-based registered nurse and founder of Rebecca Park in an email. Adding a little moisture to the air can be beneficial both at preventing and treating an illness, she notes, because, "expelling mucus helps you to expel germs and bacteria out of your body, speeding up the recovery process when you are sick."

Conversely, however, too much humidity makes water/condensation build up, causing a host of problems.

"Humidity that is too high can increase the levels of allergens love dust mites and molds, which can aggravate respiratory issues love allergies and asthma," says Dr. David Erstein, board-certified allergist and immunologist with Advanced Dermatology in an email.

Although it can be somewhat of a balancing act to hold the ideal humidity level of 30 — 50 percent in the home, a humidifier makes it much easier. Not certain if you’re striking the balance or not? Simply pick up a little tool called a hygrometer at your local hardware store to hold tabs on indoor humidity levels easily.

The Problem With Humidifiers

If you live in the developed world, the water you use is beautiful clean.

After every, we bathe in it, drink it and brush our teeth with it. However, it also contains minerals, which can clog up the humidifier over time, affecting how it functions. Cool-mist humidifiers own a filter to trap these minerals, but they can’t catch ’em every, plus numerous people are fairly lax at remembering to change the filter out regularly. As a result, the same minerals also get spewed out into the atmosphere when the humidifier is running, which isn’t particularly excellent for your lungs or your furniture. Plus, they urge the growth of bacteria inside the machine.

This is why experts recommend avoiding tap water and instead using distilled water (or demineralized), which can be purchased at the grocery store.

It’ll hold the machine running better, longer, and will cut below on the quantity of ick factor in your general atmosphere. But seriously, don’t forget to change the filter according to manufacturer recommendations.

However, even if your humidifier has no filter (as is usual with warm mist humidifiers) you could still get ill from failing to hold it clean. It’s a water-based machine, but it’s not a sterilizer, nor is it self-drying.

So, any moisture that remains within it over time turns to mold and bacteria, both of which can cause some beautiful serious health issues, love asthma flare-ups, coughs, respiratory infections and lung problems.

Pretty ironic for a machine that’s actually designed to assist people breathe better, right? "People with sensitive airways (asthma and allergies) are especially prone to issues from dirty humidifiers but even healthy people can be affected," Dr. Erstein explains.

Caring for Your Humidifier

Fortunately, the added chore of proper humidifier care and maintenance isn’t every that taxing.

Here are some basic guidelines, but since every machine is diverse it’s a excellent thought to consult the paper or online manual for your specific make and model.

First things first: Never leave water in the tank from previous uses. Always empty the base and tank and towel them dry as best you can. Then, when you’re ready to fire it up again simply re-fill with clean water.

Depending on how often you use your humidifier, the unit should enjoy a deep clean every three days to one week. Once you get the hang of it it’s really simple, though.

  • Starting with the base, pour enough white vinegar in to clean every of the areas that touch water.

    If any pieces are removable then simply take them out and put them in a vinegar-filled bowl to soak.

    What does a humidifier do for allergies

    Permit to sit for minutes, then gently clean any build-up with a soft brush.

  • While that soaks, move on to the water tank. Using a ratio of one gallon of water to one teaspoon of bleach OR one teaspoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, fill the tank approximately halfway. Shut it tightly and gently swish the mixture around. Permit to sit for minutes.
  • Unplug and disassemble. Empty water from every applicable parts.
  • Use regular ancient tap water to rinse every parts until the cleaning smell is gone.

    Set them out to dry. Change the filter, if needed.

  • Put it every back together again and repeat in a week or so!

When your allergies flare up, you might desire to be proactive to discover ways to improve your indoor air quality. Maybe it is allergy season. Maybe indoor allergens are to blame. One way to ease allergies may be to use a humidifier. Will it ease your allergy suffering? Humidifiers own their pros and cons.

Could it assist with your allergies? Let us discover out:

When your allergies flare up, you might desire to be proactive to discover ways to improve your indoor air quality. Maybe it is allergy season. Maybe indoor allergens are to blame. One way to ease allergies may be to use a humidifier. Will it ease your allergy suffering? Humidifiers own their pros and cons. Could it assist with your allergies? Let us discover out:

Humidifier for Allergies Buyers Guide

Humidifiers and Allergies

Maintaining the correct humidity levels at home is essential for the treatment of allergies.

When the air is too dry, allergies love allergic rhinitis become aggravated because your nasal passages are irritated, which could lead to a sinus infection. Conversely, when the air is too humid, it creates the perfect environment for allergens such as mold, mildew, and dust mites to thrive.

Keeping the humidity between 30%% with the assist of a humidifier can assist clear your nasal passages and relieve any discomfort you may feel from allergic reactions. Having clear nasal passages helps rid your body of any allergens to which you might own been exposed. Having well-balanced humidity will ensure that mold and dust mites are minimized.

How Humidifiers Work to Limit Allergens

A excellent humidifier will significantly reduce the growth of allergens by creating an environment in which they are unable to thrive.

As previously mentioned, common allergens love dust mites and mold can’t grow when humidity levels hit 30%%. By keeping the humidity at this level, humidifiers prevent these allergens from surviving in your home.

For the humidifier to remove allergens there needs to be mechanism that separates them from the air. Evaporative humidifiers that use a wick filter can do this as both the water and dry air pass through the filter before being released back into the room. Minerals and other pollutants are then trapped in the filter to permit clean, moisturized air to leave the humidifier.

An air washer is a type of humidifier that is also marketed as an air purifier because it can effectively lessen air pollutants in the vicinity.

These air washers use an evaporative system but are generally more expensive than regular evaporative humidifiers. With these air washers, pollutants get trapped in evaporative mats or disks inside the humidifier.

The pros and cons of humidifiers for allergies:

  • Medicinal cup or compatibility with essential oils You can add medicinal inhalants to medicinal cups built into humidifiers for added relief from freezing, flu, and allergy symptoms. The same goes for humidifiers that are compatible with essential oils.

    Essential oils love lavender and peppermint can assist alleviate allergic reactions.

  • Easy to clean This is an essential requirement if you’re planning to use a humidifier for your allergies. An awkwardly shaped humidifier will be challenging to clean and may leave places for mold, mildew, and bacteria to grow. When left unchecked, these microorganisms can be released into the air when you use your humidifier.
  • Substantial room coverage Although this is generally desirable for a humidifier regardless of planned use, larger room coverage will ensure that larger areas of your home remain comfortable for you.
  • With an antimicrobial feature Although it isn’t required, having an antimicrobial feature on your humidifier can be beneficial to ensure that the growth of mold and bacteria is reduced.
  • With a filter If you desire your humidifier to get rid of allergens, then you’ll desire one that has a filter.

    A filter effectively removes air pollutants as well as prevent white dust from spreading.

The disadvantages of humidifiers for allergies

The disadvantages of humidifiers for allergies

  • Medicinal cup/essential oils
  • Easy to clean
  • Replacement filters Remember to factor in the long-term running costs before you commit to buying a humidifier. Some replacement filters are expensive and own to be changed every months.
  • Antimicrobial features
  • White Dust In areas with high mineral content water expect an element of white dust residue on your surfaces.

    You can purchase filters that reduce this but they are expensive.

  • Frequent cleaning If you don’t maintain your humidifier you could be putting mold spores back into the atmosphere, and that defeats the object of owning a humidifier in the first place.
  • Filters trap bacteria
  • Replacement filter costs
  • Frequent cleaning
  • Large room coverage
  • White dust
Pros Cons
Humidifiers for Allergies
  1. Medicinal cup/essential oils
  2. Easy to clean
  3. Large room coverage
  4. Antimicrobial features
  5. Filters trap bacteria
  1. Frequent cleaning
  2. Replacement filter costs
  3. White dust
Pros Cons
Humidifiers for Allergies
  1. Medicinal cup/essential oils
  2. Easy to clean
  3. Large room coverage
  4. Antimicrobial features
  5. Filters trap bacteria
  1. Frequent cleaning
  2. Replacement filter costs
  3. White dust

Understanding Humidity

Simply put, humidity is the measure of water vapor that’s in the air at any given time.

Not only does the humidity level frolic a large part in how allergies are treated, it also plays a large part in how allergies are developed. Besides helping with your allergies, well-balanced humidity levels can also hold below the quantity of dust mites in the air.

Whenever dust mites create waste, the enzymes that are produced can be carried along on air currents and cause your allergies to flare up. There are numerous ways to mite-proof your home, but it every starts by lowering the humidity levels to create an unfavorable environment for them.

The Problem with Dry Air

The reason that dry air is so bad for your allergies is that it irritates your nasal passages and can potentially lead to a sinus infection. Dry air can also cause your body to produce more mucus than necessary, which can be especially dangerous if you own asthma in addition to allergies.

Even if you don’t suffer from allergies, being exposed to dry air can dry out your skin and irritate eczema. Before you start shopping for humidifiers, hold in mind that it’s essential that you own a balanced level of humidity in your home since too much humidity can be just as bad as too little.

How Humidifiers Can Assist Relieve Allergies

By having a well-balanced level of humidity in the air, you can hold your nasal passages clear of mucus. Having clear nasal passages means that your body has an easier time purging any allergens you are exposed to on a day-to-day basis. Humidifiers own also proven fairly useful with those who suffer from sinusitis. Dry air irritants won’t be as potent with the added moisture in the air.

The freezing and flu season is also a excellent time to own a humidifier in your home, and that’s especially true if you own young children and are hesitant about giving them over-the-counter freezing and cough medicine.

What does a humidifier do for allergies

With a humidifier running you can relieve yourself of the frustration of having a runny nose, sore throat, and coughing. Skip the scratchy nasal passages and throat this winter season by setting up a humidifier in your home.

Will a humidifier assist my allergies?

Humidifiers increase the relative humidity in the air. This increase in moisture may assist with your allergies. It may make them seem less severe if dry air has irritated your nasal passageways. However, excess humidity above 50% could make conditions worse. Indoor allergens love dust mites and mold thrive in moist conditions.

At an acceptable level, humidity may assist in a number of ways:

  1. A humidity level above 30% can assist hold your nose and throat from drying out, according to the New Hampshire Public Health Services.

    The dry, cracked skin inside your nose or throat that results from dry air can make every breath feel raw and uncomfortable, even if you do not own allergies at every. The sneezing and sniffling of an allergy attack feels even worse in dry conditions. Humidified air (and drinking plenty of water so you stay hydrated) may assist hold your nose and throat from drying out.

  2. It can assist your body maintain its defense systems. Proper humidity levels (and, again, hydration) assist your body create a healthy mucus layer in your nose and throat.

    Virigina’s “CommonHealth” program describes it this way: That mucus layer traps contaminants as you inhale them, preventing them from getting into your respiratory system and triggering an allergic reaction or causing colds, sinus infections and the flu. The tiny hairs, called cilia, at the back of your nose and lining your airways are also part of this defense system, and they too work best if you are not too dried out (Bustamante-Marin & Ostrowski, ).

  3. It reduces the number of particles in the air.

    What does a humidifier do for allergies

    Studies own found that moderate humidity levels decrease the number of airborne pathogens, because water vapor tends to condense on particles in the air, and the resulting water droplet will settle out of the air if it is heavy enough, removing the pathogen from the air. More moisture means this happens more often. Hospitals kept between 40 and 60 percent humidity were found to own a lower rate or infectious disease than those with extremely low relative humidity (Taylor & Hugentobler). It is conceivable, although no studies own been conducted, that this same effect could reduce the number of allergens in the air.

Potential problems with humidifiers and allergies

Using a humidifier to relieve your allergy symptoms is not a perfect solution.

There are some potential problems associated with humidifier use that you need to watch out for.

A humidifier that is used improperly can lift humidity levels too, creating damp air or even causing moisture to condense out of the air onto surfaces in the room. A damp carpet or wet drywall will become moldy. Mold releases mold spores, which can trigger allergic reactions in numerous allergy sufferers.

To prevent this, make certain you use a humidifier with a humidistat that automatically shuts below at the desired humidity level. The consequences of excessive humidity far outweigh the benefits of a humidifier if you are not careful.

A humidifier that is not properly cleaned can grow mold or bacteria, essentially becoming a mold and bacteria sprayer that contaminates your air whenever it runs.

Humidifiers should be emptied, wiped below, and allowed to dry every day, and cleaned with a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution every three days, according to the EPA.

What does a humidifier do for allergies

Ultrasonic humidifiers should only be used with distilled water, since they can contaminate the air with aerosolized mineral particles if they are used with tap water.

One of the most signficant household allergen sources, dust mites, are known to die off at humidity levels under 40 percent (“Humidity and Dust Mite Allergies,” Indoor Environment Group of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory). That means that if you primarily suffer from dust mite allergies, not humidifying your home when it gets dry could improve your allergies. Of course, there are other problems associated with excessively dry air, so it will depend on how severe your dust mite allergies are if it is worth it to trade allergies for dry, scratchy nose and throat.

Types of humidifiers

There are two main types of humidifiers, evaporative and ultrasonic.

Evaporative humidifiers turn water into water vapor by either blowing a fan across a wick that is saturated with water, or by simply boiling the water into steam.

Steam humidifiers can be potentially dangerous, especially if used in a child’s room, since they do create boiling water.

Ultrasonic humidifiers use an impeller or diaphragm that vibrates at a extremely high (ultrasonic) frequency. This propels tiny water droplets into the air. Some of these droplets eventually evaporate, although some settle out onto nearby surfaces. The exact ratio depends on the air temperature and relative humidity in the room. If the water in an ultrasonic humidifier has minerals in it, as most tap water does, aerosolized mineral particles can contaminate the air, leaving a white powder on surfaces once it settles out, and potentially causing respiratory problems if inhaled.

You can also select between portable single-room humidifiers and whole home humidifiers.

A whole home humidifier is attached to your home’s HVAC system and introduces moisture to the HVAC airflow. This has the benefit of humidifying the air throughout your entire home. However, they are more complicated and expensive than portable humidifiers.

A portable humidifier allows you to humidify a single room, and no modifications to your HVAC system are required. They do require maintenance, since they must be kept clean to avoid fungal or bacterial contamination. If you only need to humidify a specific room in your home, rather than the entire home, this is generally a better option.

Which humidifier should you use?

If you are not certain which type of humidifier is correct for you, a portable evaporative humidifier is a excellent put to start.

They are relatively inexpensive, and you can run it in your living room during the day and in the bedroom at night. A few weeks of use will let you observe the effect it has on the humidity in your home and on any respiratory problems you might be having.

Be certain you are comfortable with the drying and cleaning required of a portable humidifier, however. Avoiding contamination by fungus or bacteria is extremely important.