In our climate, you cannot survive without heating in winter. And hot batteries dry the air a lot. Overdried air is a bad feeling, dry mouth and nose, “sand” in the eyes, overdried skin and hair. These are just the symptoms that are common to everyone. And there are individual reactions. Therefore, maintaining proper humidity is an important task. One of the ways to regulate humidity in the room is a humidifier for a house or apartment. This is a small (or large) device that quickly and efficiently creates and distributes moisture throughout the room. Let’s analyze how to choose a humidifier, what types there are, what selection criteria to pay attention to.
What humidity in the house is optimal
Many people in the autumn-winter period note constant dryness of the nasopharynx, “sand” in the eyes, electrified hair, worse skin condition. All this can be the result of overdried air. It becomes especially dry during the heating season. Prolonged stay in rooms with overdried air leads to deterioration of well-being, more frequent colds and infectious diseases: overdried mucous membrane of the nasopharynx copes with infections much worse. In addition, dust and other small allergens move more actively in dry air. This can cause allergy sufferers to feel worse. After all, it is not for nothing that there are sanitary standards for various premises that regulate air parameters.
The optimal humidity in residential premises is 30-45%, permissible – 60%. This is in the cold season. In the warm season, the upper limit of optimal humidity rises to 60%, and the permissible level is 65% (75% in the southern regions).
If you measure the humidity in your apartment during the heating season, you will most likely see that it is only 20-25%. That is, it is much lower than the norm, and it is necessary to take measures regarding hydration.
You can increase the humidity in the room with the help of budget folk life hacks: hang plastic bottles with cut off tops filled with water on the batteries, place containers with water under the batteries or them, cover them with wet towels, etc. You will be surprised how quickly the water evaporates.
All these means are good because they require practically no expenses, but they will not be able to significantly increase the humidity with their help – the efficiency is too low. Although the humidity, of course, increases a little and the dryness is not as critical as without any adjustments at all. But the fastest way to raise the humidity in the room is with the help of special devices. A humidifier for the home can be of different sizes, types and shapes. The appearance of some devices is “not very”, others are more like works of art or accessories. But, first of all, you should choose not the appearance, but the design and characteristics.
Types of humidifiers
There are three main types of humidifiers: cold evaporation, steam, and ultrasonic. None of them can be called perfect. Each has advantages and disadvantages, but each is best in certain conditions. To decide which type of humidifier is better for you, let’s take a look at their device.
Humidifier with cold evaporation (traditional)
A traditional air humidifier consists of a container with water and a fan. The fan drives air over the water, which captures the water that evaporates from the surface and distributes it around the room. Everything is simple, reliable. The device works as long as there is electricity, the fan rotates, and there is water in the container. Even if the water has evaporated, no catastrophic consequences: the fan drives the air without humidification.
To prevent work without water, a sensor is built into the tank. In the simplest version, this is an ordinary float, which, having sunk to the bottom, turns off the power supply. In models that are a little more complicated, it can be more modern electronic sensors.
In even more complex models, there can be filters for cleaning the air from dust, built-in ionizers, aroma baths, automatic on and off timers, etc. But these are already “bells and whistles” that have nothing to do with the basic design (but some are very useful, more on them later).
The advantages of a cold evaporation air humidifier are as follows:
- Simple and reliable design. There is no reason to break apart from the fan, and the fan is easy to replace if necessary.
- Security. The device is safer than a table lamp. Even if the humidifier turns over or runs out of water, nothing will happen to it.
- Low cost.
- Low power consumption.
- Water for the tank is suitable of any quality.
A humidifier for a house or apartment of this type is a good purchase. But it also has disadvantages:
- During the day, it is practically invisible, and it cannot quickly raise humidity. With long-term work, it is able to maintain humidity within normal limits, but it raises it smoothly and for a long time.
- Noise during operation. Since the fan makes noise during operation, there is no way to get away from it. The noise level depends on the quality of the fan and the speed of rotation of the blades. at night, you can set a low speed or turn it off completely.
As you know, water evaporates faster when heated. This principle is used in steam humidifiers. A heater (TEN) is built into the container with water. Steam generated during heating exits through special holes in the housing, taking a significant amount of water vapor. To speed up the process, the design also has a fan.
The advantages of steam humidifiers are a high rate of humidity increase. If desired, the humidity can be raised to 60% or even higher. But there are many more disadvantages of this decision:
- Higher price.
- Increased energy consumption. In addition to the fan, the heater must work, and it draws many times more electricity.
- The steam at the outlet is hot, which is dangerous for children and animals.
- If there is no water in the tank, overheating and failure of the heating element are possible. To exclude overheating, a water level control sensor and/or an overheating sensor must be in place, which will cut off the power when triggered.
In general, a steam humidifier for the home can be used if there are no children or animals. It is good if you need to quickly increase the air humidity. Models with automation are required for continuous operation, otherwise there is a high possibility of failure.
You can quickly raise the humidity if you have an ultrasonic humidifier for a house or apartment. Its distinguishing feature is the presence of a membrane on which water is supplied and which oscillates with an ultrasonic frequency. With rapid oscillations, water is broken into small particles and combines with air. Humidified air spreads throughout the room. In order to speed up the movement of air and to be able to adjust the speed of humidification, a fan is built into the device.
The main advantages of an ultrasonic humidifier are low electricity consumption (slightly more than cold models) and silence. More specifically, it does not produce sounds that our ears can pick up. But pets react poorly to ultrasound. Here they can worry. And its influence on humans has not yet been fully explored. But the latter is not an argument, but reinsurance.
Such a humidifier for the home has another noticeable drawback: demanding water quality. You will have to pour distilled water into it. And of the highest quality. No, it works with ordinary liquid from the tap. But a white coating forms on all surrounding objects: all the salts and trace elements are deposited, which together with water particles enter the air. Plaque forms very quickly, you have to wipe it almost every day, which is very tiring.
Some ultrasonic humidifiers are equipped with filters that purify the incoming water. In the description of such models, it is indicated that water can be poured from the tap. You can pour, but there will be plaque. Cassette filters are installed, but they do not provide complete cleaning. At first, there will not be very much plaque, over time, as the filters become dirty, more and more. These models cost much more, and also require regular replacement of filters, which also costs a substantial amount. Simply washing them is not enough, because later they start to “smell” unpleasantly.
There is one more subjective point: it is not very pleasant to get under a stream of air from a humidifier. Cold, very humid air leaves far from the best feelings.
This device is an advanced cold-type humidifier that combines the function of humidification and the function of purification. A lamellar membrane, half-immersed in a water tank, is built into the structure. Under the influence of the air jet, the membrane rotates, taking the air with it. Passing through the water, the air is purified, leaving most of the dust, odors, and other small and not so pollution in the water. Purified and humidified air is returned to the room.
After some time, there is really a lot of dust and dirt, pet fur in the water. The water has to be changed. And quite often. And this is one of the disadvantages of this system. But the air becomes really cleaner, without extraneous odors (as with quartzization or ionization), it is easier to breathe. This is the air humidification system that is shown to allergy sufferers and people with respiratory system diseases. This is an excellent choice if you are looking for a humidifier for a child’s room.
Disadvantages of this system: higher price, the need to monitor the condition and availability of water, the need to replace filters. If you do not wash the device in time, a lot of dirt and allergens accumulate in it, and with the moisture that evaporates, they enter the air again. If other types of humidifiers can be taken with large water tanks and topped up once a day, then this type will not pass. The water still needs to be changed.
Which humidifier is better
As you can see, it is impossible to say unequivocally that any moisturizer is the best. Everyone has peculiarities, shortcomings. Therefore, it is necessary to choose based on priority requirements.
If you need a cheap humidifier for the home, pay attention to cold evaporation models. But you will have to accept the fact that the device has to work almost constantly. If you need to quickly increase humidity, steam or ultrasonic units are suitable. And if you need a good humidifier in the nursery or if there are allergy sufferers or people with respiratory system diseases in the family, the best option is an air washer. But you will have to monitor the state of the water. Over time, it will become a habit, and you will stop noticing these actions.
What to pay attention to when choosing
Any humidifier for the house is designed to process a certain amount of air. Therefore, when buying, we pay attention to what area it can serve. It is better to take with a margin of 20-25% or even more. For example, if the area of the room is 9-10 square meters, it will easily cope with the task of maintaining the required humidity with a unit designed to service 12 squares or more.
The second thing to pay attention to is the capacity of the water tank and the water consumption per hour. These two parameters can indicate how often you will have to add water during continuous operation. We divide the capacity of the tank in liters by the consumption (also in liters), we get some number. This will be the operating time of the humidifier on one gas station. The higher this number, the less often you have to add water. On the other hand, models with a large tank are not very elegant. So you will have to choose what is more important: beauty or duration of work at one gas station.
It is still necessary to pay attention to the fact that the tank is removable (it is easier to wash and fill), so that it is convenient to fill with water.
Additional options and features
Although the device of the working part of air humidifiers is not too complicated, for convenience, sensors and additional devices are built into them to expand functionality. Such models are more convenient to use, but their price is much higher. Some functions are very useful, others can be easily dispensed with.
Control panel and its type
All controls are the mode switch, setting the desired humidity level, etc. – are on the control panel. It can be mechanical or electronic. Mechanical – the usual rotary knobs or switches, electronic – buttons or a touch screen.
Models with touch controls are the most expensive (other things being equal), with mechanical controls – the cheapest. At the same time, mechanical control is the most reliable, because the “twisters” rarely break.
There are also remote control models. They are, of course, the most expensive, because the control is electronic, plus a more complex configuration due to the presence of a remote control.
The function of automatic maintenance of the humidity level
Some humidifiers have a built-in hygrometer that monitors indoor air humidity. Its indicators are not very accurate, since the humidity near the device will be much higher than at a considerable distance from it. But such models allow you to automatically maintain a certain level of humidity.
This function is convenient. Especially if the water tank is large. You don’t have to worry about the air being too dry or too humid. Its parameters will be more or less stable.
The number of operating modes
In models without automatic humidity support, such a parameter as the number of operating modes is important. By switching modes, you can manually maintain the air condition.
For convenient operation, the minimum number of gradations is three, the optimal number is five. Less is inconvenient at work, more is pointless. So there is no point in chasing this number.
In order for the humidifier for the home to work only productively, it is desirable to have a sensor for the presence of water. In steam models, this is important, because without water the heater will burn out. In other modifications, idle operation will only lead to empty consumption of electricity. Therefore, in steam models, when the sensor is working, the power is turned off, in other types of humidifiers, the signal lamp usually flashes easily.
Some models (mostly steam models) have a sensor that turns off the power when the position changes. If such a home humidifier is turned upside down, it will turn off.