As we enter the winter season, it is important for us to take care of our skin. Keeping to our eczema care regime may not be enough to prevent eczema flare-ups due to the changes in weather. In our earlier post on managing eczema in winter, we mentioned that humidity is one key factor to control. We can make the job easier by finding the best whole house humidifier for everyone, and also by looking at some of the best room humidifier for individual usage.
Understanding the Concept of Indoor Humidity Levels
The indoor humidity levels at home are an important aspect of our family health. By maintaining the humidity level at an optimum level, we are creating a house that is more comfortable. Without a proper humidity level, our family may suffer from several respiratory disorders or even an eczema flare-up to bring it into our context.
What Does Humidifier Do?
Humidifiers are generally systems or machines that add moisture to the air indoors through the provision of steam and vapor, thus increasing the relative humidity in the indoor space.
What are Humidifiers Good For?
By increasing the moisture levels in our house, we are trying to bring about improvements to certain aspects of our health. When relative humidity levels are optimum, you will start to notice the beneficial changes that follows.
Retain Moisture in Your Skin
Eczema skin is susceptible to drying out and cracking, especially so in harsh temperature changes during winter. The increased humidity helps our skin to retain the moisture and keeps it soft and supple. Those of us who often have chapped lips will also be glad to know that it will help in the healing process.
Support and Protect Your Respiratory Health
When the air is dry, it can become harder to breathe. This may result in the nasal congestion in the sinuses.
By increasing the moisture indoors, it can help to relieve sore throats and coughs by keeping the mucus membranes moistened. Similarly, nosebleeds can be minimized as the nasal passages are kept moist.
An optimum relative humidity indoors can be beneficial for those with respiratory problems. It can help to minimize the risk of developing acute bronchitis, asthma and even catching a cold or the flu bug.
Improve Your Sleep Quality
Moist air in your bedroom may actually help to decrease the snoring as the nasal passages are clear and relaxed. The throat is also kept moistened and together with the decreased snoring, you can get a better night's sleep.
Reduce Dry Eyes and Redness
Dry air can make our tear films unstable and cause excessive drying of the eye. This may in turn cause eye irritation and redness of the eye. A moist environment can maintain the tear film better and reduce the frequency of red eye and related irritation.
Maintain Integrity of Home Furnishing and Fixtures
Wooden furnitures and fixtures may warp and crack over time due to dry air. The same thing can also weaken glue joints, book bindings and leave the book pages brittle. Increasing the humidity levels can bring about significant changes in the longer term.
How to Choose the Best Humidifier for Home?
The ultimate choice really depends on your individual preferences, budget and the size of the area that the humidifer will be placed in. The different types of humidifier are as follows:
These are the most expensive options for humidifiers and are built directly into the heating and air-conditioning systems. It is however the best option if you want add humidity to your entire house. Relative humidity can be controlled from the the wall thermostats with a touch of the button.
Impeller Humidifier a.k.a Cold Mist Humidifier
The cold mist humidifier uses a high-speed rotating disk to carry the water to the diffuser, which then forms into water droplets that slowly float into the surrounding air.
These electrically-powered units are generally the most portable and the least expensive option among all. Steam vaporizers work by heating water to create steam, which is followed by cooling before it is expelled into the air. This is not recommended in homes where there are children around as the hot water inside can cause burns or blisters.
The evaporators are usually ideal for rooms and works by having fans pushing air through a moistened filter or wick before the humidity is expelled into the surrounding. The best part about this type of humidifier is that it is genereally self-regulating as the rate of evaporation depends on the room's relative humidity. If a room already has high humidity, the humidifier's water will evaporate slower than a room that has lower humidity.
By making use of ultrasonic vibration, the humidifier produces a mist and is released into the air. The noise levels during operation are very low. There are various sizes and both cool and warm mist versions available too.
Best Whole House Humidifier in 2016 / 2017
Why should I buy a Whole House Humidifier?
A whole house humidifier is installed into your heating and cooling system which makes controlling the level of temperature and humidity a breeze with the thermostat and humidistat.
Besides keeping the level of humidity constant at your preferred levels, a whole house humidifier has several benefits. It minimizes the amount of maintenance with only periodic filter changes and no refilling of the water tank is needed as the water is drawn from the plumbing lines of the house.
What should I take note when looking for a Whole House Humidifier?
As with all humidifiers, it is important to establish if the output is enough for the house. You would not want to buy a whole house humidifier which is only rated to be good for 2,000 square feet when you have a big house that is 5,000 square feet.
A key point for us would be to ensure that the maintenance costs and procedures are not time-consuming and laborious. Fortunately, modern-day whole house humidifiers are relatively easy to maintain and this is something which you should not worry about too much.
It will be a bonus if it comes with an automatic humidistat which allows for the seamless adjustments of output according to humidity levels in the house.
Even if you may be a do-it-yourself person, it may be wise to check on the warranty requirements as some humidifiers that interface with a gas-forced air heat furnace might require a licensed HVAC professional to install and the warranty may be void if not done so.
This unit form Honeywell has been designed with large areas in mind and is thus fitted with two tanks for ideal performance. With large areas in mind, the output has to match and this unit comes with adjustable humidity controls with several settings for output levels.
These two tanks opens wide from the top, which makes it easier cleaning and refilling a breeze. Water is drawn from only one tank at each time and it can run up to 24 hours on one single refill. We can leave it on until the unit shuts off automatically when it runs out of water.
You can run it 24/7, since it has an automatic shut off when out of water. Therefore, you will have no worries about it burning up if you are not “watching” it. It does not have a thermostat because there is no heat. The humidistat is built in and is controlled by the humidity level you set. When that level is reached, it will shut off.
The water tray needs to be cleaned every week once it the dust and pet dander starts to fill up when it runs. While you are at your weekly maintenance routine, it is a good idea to turn the filter over as it may extend the life of the filter. The 2 ProTec™ balls (coated with silver) will help to kill off any bad odor so remember to put one in the hole of each water tank.
It is also important to note that if you do not use the humidifier daily, the stagnant water may start to smell and be conducive for the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria.
There are 3 speed settings for adjusting the moisture level and sound intensity. The unit will also indicate “Humidity Reached” and “Tank Empty” and this is certainly helpful at one glance.
The wicking filter helps to remove impurities in the water and at the same time, reduce the amount of white dust and flecks landing on the surrounding fixtures.
The ideal humidity level is between 30% and 60% for comfort and health. At 80%, your windows will drip moisture and mold will grow. The air blows out of the front and sides. Keep it 2-feet away from walls, since it must breathe.
This digitally-controlled unit from Aprilaire provides you with the ease and comfort that you will need to keep the humidity levels in check in your home.
The Aprilaire 600 is quiet and easy to maintain. It comes with a built-in bypass damper which comes with a handle for controlling. This model also distributes more than 50% more moisture, above what most of its competitors do. It uses the furnace blower to move air through the water panel.
One single unit is capable of covering up to 4000-square feet using a water panel evaporator which puts out 3 gallons every hour. It provides the highest evaporation rate in the marketplace today at 0.70-gallons.
The unit has an indicator which lets you know when the filter is due for change and this happens about once every year.
An outstanding feature on the Aprilaire 600 is its drain-through technology which ensures no water remains once the humidifier turns off. This will go a long way in preventing harmful bacterial growth.
The unit is installed in the supply or return plenum of a forced-air furnace and you must seek a licensed HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) professional to carry out the installation.
The Honeywell HE360A is an evaporative type of humidifier. The fan-powered whole-house humidifier is a flow-through and has several speed settings for the fan and is good for a house with an area of up to 4,200 square feet.
This model can be installed on your own as the installation is not difficult. However, do note that the installation kit is not included and is sold separately in the USA. It can be mounted on the warm air supply plenum or on the return air duct of any forced-air furnace. It is powered up via an electric cord. While there is no requirement of a bypass duct, a drain is required. Air that enters the humidifier will be forced through the pad by the fan.
The humidifier requires relatively low-maintenance. Do note that if your house does not use a soft water system, the filters may have to be replaced more frequently.