Humidifier adds moisture to the air, which can benefit people with respiratory symptoms or dry skin.
There are several ways to use humidifiers in the home or office, but there are also some risks.
In this article, learn about the benefits of humidifiers, how to use them correctly, and precautions to take.
Dryness and humidity
By adding moisture to the air, humidifiers may be beneficial for several medical conditions.
Dry air can cause moisture to evaporate from the skin and respiratory symptoms to worsen over time. Adding moisture to the air with a humidifier can counteract these problems.
Humidifiers can help people who experience:
dryness in the throat or airways
Five humidifier uses and their benefits
Some people experience respiratory symptoms in the summer months, when the weather is hot, and the air contains more allergens. Air conditioners and fans can circulate dry air through the room, and air conditioners remove any moisture from the air. A humidifier may be beneficial during this season.
However, people are more likely to benefit from a humidifier in the cold months, when cold air dries out the lungs, nose, and lips. Also, some types of central heating can dry out the air indoors.
Benefits of a humidifier may include:
1. Preventing influenza
Authors of one studyTrusted Source noted that humidifiers might reduce the risk of catching the flu. After adding the influenza virus to the air with a simulated cough, researchers found that humidity levels above 40 percent rapidly deactivated virus particles, making them much less likely to be infectious.
2. Making a cough more productive
Dry air can cause a person to have a dry, unproductive cough. Adding humidity to the air can get more moisture into the airways, which can make a cough more productive. A productive cough releases trapped or sticky phlegm.
3. Reducing snoring
Increasing the amount of moisture in the air can also reduce snoring. If the air is dry, a person’s airways are less likely to be sufficiently lubricated, which can make snoring worse.
Adding humidity to the air by running a humidifier at night may help to relieve some symptoms.
4. Keeping the skin and hair moist
Some people notice that their skin, lips, and hair become dry and fragile in the winter.
Many types of heating units pump hot, dry air through the house or office, which can make the skin dry, itchy, or flaky. Cold air outside can also dry out the skin.
Using a humidifier to add moisture to the indoor air may help to reduce the occurrence of dry, cracked skin.
5. Benefits for the home
Moisture from a humidifier can be helpful around the home. Any moisture-loving houseplants may become more vibrant, and wood floors or furniture may last longer. Humidity can also help to prevent wallpaper from cracking and static electricity from building up.
Humid air can also feel warmer than dry air, which could help a person to save money on utility bills in winter months.
Types of humidifiers
While most humidifiers have the same basic function, to add moisture to the air, many types are available:
Steam vaporizers: These use electricity to create steam, which cools before it leaves the unit. However, there is a risk of burning the skin, and people should avoid using steam vaporizers around children.
Ultrasonic humidifier: Instead of electricity, these units use vibrations to vaporize water.
Evaporators: These produce humidity by blowing air past evaporating water.
Impeller humidifiers: These are generally child-friendly and use rotating disks, rather than heat, to vaporize water.
Central humidifiers: A person connects one of these units to the central air conditioning in the home or office to add moisture to the entire space.
Sizes can vary. Console humidifiers are large enough to add moisture to an entire house or office, while personal humidifiers are portable and easy to carry.
What is an Industrial Humidifier?
An industrial humidifier is a system that is capable of providing adequate humidity levels in a manufacturing environment. High-speed production processes add to the heat load in a building, bringing down the humidity. This can lead to a dangerous buildup of static electricity in a plant where dust and other flammable materials may be in the air. Processes such as woodworking, printing, and electronic and microchip fabrication, — which involve gluing, coating, and bonding — benefit from humidity control. Energy efficiency is also a consideration with an industrial humidifier.