The Arrival of Dry, Colder Weather Means That It's Time to Add Some Moisture to Your Home
Image: Pixabay

The Arrival of Dry, Colder Weather Means That It's Time to Add Some Moisture to Your Home

lower humidity levels brought by the dryer air can cause a variety of ailments, including sore throats, itchy skin, and dry eyes

January 18, 2021

With the oppressive summer humidity behind us, North Carolinians are bracing for the cold and dry air of winter. This dry air, which can quickly drop from an ideal humidity range of 50 percent to around as low as 10 percent, often leads to sore throats, itchy skin, dry eyes and other ailments. A humidifier can help bring up these humidity levels and ease some of the problems low humidity can cause.

Different Types of Humidifiers

While all humidifiers work to add moisture to the air, there are different ways they do that. Ultrasonic humidifiers use a vibrating nebulizer to emit water. Evaporative models use a fan to blow air over a wet wick. Both of these are cold-air models. Warm-mist models, on the other hand, boil water before cooling the steam.

Pros and Cons of different types

All types have pros and cons that need to be considered. Evaporative models cost little to run, but the wicks can grow mold if not cared for and are expensive to replace. Ultrasonics are quiet, inexpensive to run, and don't have wicks to change. But they can create a white powder if your home has hard water. Warm-mist humidifiers cost more to run and may pose a burn hazard, so they aren't recommended for homes with young children.

the size of the room matters a lot

Humidifiers come in various shapes and sizes and are suited for different environments. Tabletop humidifiers are the most common and least expensive. These are good for humidifying a single room. Tabletop humidifiers do require a bit of cleaning and maintenance. The water will need to be replaced daily and they should be cleaned at least once a week.

Console humidifiers are larger and can be used to humidify a few rooms at a time. They are the size of a small piece of furniture, but can be easily moved around to anywhere with an outlet. Their size, though, can make them cumbersome to fill and clean.

If you have forced heat, you may want to consider an in-duct system that works like an evaporated system. The difference is that it is connected to your plumbing and humidifies the entire house. These require the least maintenance and are the most cost-efficient to run, but require professional installation and can have large upfront costs.

Don't overdo it!

Humidifiers come with a variety of features, but one that is particularly important is a humidistat, which measures the humidity in the room and adjusts it accordingly. Too much humidity can lead to condensation and mold. Many cheaper models don't come with a humidistat, so they will run constantly until the water source is gone. You can buy an inexpensive humidistat to monitor the humidity level yourself and adjust run times accordingly.