To optimize indoor air humidity levels, some people hang wet towels in their bedroom or put a bucket of water in. Agree that such methods are not entirely aesthetic. You can solve the problem with the help of humidifiers. But they are presented in a wide range and you do not know how to choose the best option?
In this article, we will figure out which air humidifier is better than steam or ultrasonic, for which we will consider in detail the characteristics of existing types of devices for air humidification. We will also talk about the rules for caring for such equipment.
Features of steam humidifiers
A household air humidifier helps to create the most comfortable microclimate for a person in the house. With proper use, the device will help get rid of poor health, irritability, and drowsiness.
To compare a steam humidifier with an ultrasonic humidifier, you first need to familiarize yourself with the features and characteristics of each of them. So let’s start with steam.
How is the device designed and working?
The steam humidifier consists of a heating element, a water tank and a supply valve. During operation of the device, the liquid turns into steam and goes outside, quickly moistening the room.
A working steam type humidifier can be compared to a boiling electric kettle. Only it does not turn off after boiling water. Liquid is supplied to the heating element in small portions. This principle of operation allows you to save electricity, since you do not need to immediately heat the entire volume of water.
As heating elements of steam humidifiers, special heating elements or electrodes are used. They allow you to quickly heat the water and bring the humidity indicators in order.
Steam humidifiers have high performance. Changes in humidity indicators in the room occur quite quickly. Some models are able to evaporate up to 700 ml of water per hour of operation. Therefore, the device must be monitored so as not to turn the room into a «steam room».
Many variants of steam-type apparatus are designed for large premises and conditions of industrial use: museums, hangars, warehouses, and others. There are also household models. They are ideal for winter gardens, as well as indoor greenhouses.
Advantages of steam humidifiers
If a steam-type humidifier is selected taking into account the area of u200bu200bthe room, correctly installed, and also serviced on time, then it will work for a long time and households will notice only the positive qualities of the device.
Modern models of humidifiers in their design have a built-in hygrostat and are equipped with an automation system. Such devices are more convenient, since their work is automatic. The device turns on when the humidity level drops.
- affordable price and the absence of additional costs for the purchase of filters, as well as cartridges for water softening;
- fast air humidification up to 60% — injection of moisture in the room with their help occurs faster than with ultrasonic counterparts;
- thanks to boiling water, the steam produced is completely sterile — it does not contain microbes and bacteria;
- efficiency and performance of the device does not depend on temperature in room;
- some variations have additional features and can be used as a flavor or inhaler;
- safe use – the device switches off automatically if all the water from the tank has evaporated or the lid is not tightly closed.
Steam humidifiers are unpretentious. Their steam does not leave a white coating on the floor, furniture or walls. Tap water can be poured into the capacity of the devices.
The device does not need filters, but its tank must be periodically cleaned of scale.
The main disadvantages of devices
The relatively high consumption of electricity and water are the main disadvantages of steam devices.
For an hour, the device can consume about 0.6-0.7 liters of water. Therefore, when buying a steam humidifier, it is better to give preference to models with a large tank.
Depending on the model and power, the device consumes from 200-600 watts. Installing such a high-performance device in a large room can be a significant expense.
Also, the disadvantages include:
- ability to exceed the required level of humidity in 50-60% — this is typical for models without a built-in hygrostat;
- loud noise in the process of boiling, which can interfere with a comfortable sleep;
- scale formation on the heating element or other elements — deposits must be removed in time or the device will fail;
- condensation – there should be no books or wooden furniture near the device, as they may suffer from constant exposure to steam;
- chance of getting burned — it is not recommended to install steam humidifiers in children’s rooms, since hot steam is unsafe, and boiling water inside the tank can harm if the device is accidentally knocked over.
Not all models of steam humidifiers are equipped with a humidistat. Without constant monitoring, they can overmoisten the room. Too high humidity promotes the growth of bacteria and the development of mold. Therefore, it is better to purchase models with a built-in humidity sensor or buy a hygrometer separately and monitor the moisture indicators.
Steam humidifiers increase the temperature in the room by 1-2 degrees. This feature can be attributed to both advantages and disadvantages. In the cold season, an additional source of heat will be useful. If the room is hot, then this function will definitely not deliver comfort to the household.
The Importance of Humidifiers for a Healthy Microclimate
The relevance of a humidifier is undeniable, especially when the heating season has begun. Heaters dry out the air a lot, which can lead to the following problems:
- deterioration in general condition;
- breathing problems;
- premature aging of the skin;
- lowering the body’s resistance to viral and infectious diseases;
- allergic reactions.
If something is wrong with the microclimate in the house, you can understand this by looking at the flowers in pots. The lack of moisture is reflected in the drying of their leaves. If nothing is done, the loss of moisture can lead to the death of plants. Wet cleaning is not enough to make up for the lack of water in the air. If the hygrometer shows 45% and below, then there is only one way out — the fastest purchase of a humidifier. Any model in the minimum time will increase the humidity to an acceptable 60-70%. The device must be used regularly as soon as the need arises.
Characteristics of Ultrasonic Humidifiers
During operation, ultrasonic units produce cold steam. They consume a minimum of electricity, since there is no need to heat water. Let’s consider their main characteristics in more detail.
Device and principle of operation
Such humidifiers are sensitive to the quality of the supplied fluid. They cannot function without water softener cartridges.
The basic package of ultrasonic type devices includes a water tank, a two-jet sprayer, an ultraviolet lamp, a low-speed fan and other parts.
The algorithm of operation of ultrasonic type units:
- Distilled or purified water is poured into the tank.
- Water flows by gravity into the cartridge and is further cleaned.
- The heating tube brings the liquid to the desired temperature.
- Water is transported to the evaporation chamber. There, a piezoelectric element (membrane) breaks the liquid into small particles, forming a cloud of cold vapor.
- The fan blows a humid mist into the room.
From the outside, it may seem that the «fog» is hot, but it is not. If you put your hand under a jet of steam, there is only a feeling of freshness and coolness. Such device options are more preferable for use in children’s rooms.
Advanced variations of ultrasonic type humidifiers have a built-in hygrometer and an air ionizer in their structure. Devices can be equipped with an LCD display and have a remote control function
Expensive models of humidifiers are equipped with an ultraviolet lamp. It treats the steam before it is released into the room, destroying microorganisms and bacteria.
The useful features of some devices also include the ability to spray water mist in all directions. There are devices equipped with anti-foaming and self-cleaning functions.
Pros of Ultrasonic Humidifiers
Easy to use, easy to maintain, maintain an optimal level of humidity — the main positive characteristics of ultrasonic humidifiers.
Humidifiers look stylish, safe, and also consume a minimum of electricity. Devices are sold in a wide range, so choosing a model that will fit the overall decor of the room is quite easy.
Usually, ultrasonic humidifiers produce cold water mist, so they do not need to waste energy in the process of boiling water. There are also models with steam heating function up to 80 degrees.
Advantages of humidifiers:
- almost silent operation;
- safe use;
- an extensive set of functions;
- creation of a steam curtain;
- during normal operation, power consumption up to 40 W;
- the ability to change the direction of the steam jet.
Models that are equipped with a hygrostat turn off automatically when the required humidity in the room is reached. Some options have a highlight for the outgoing steam. Such humidifiers are optimally suited for humidifying the air in rooms where children live.
For recommendations on choosing an ultrasonic humidifier and operating instructions, please click on the following link.
Significant disadvantages of devices
Appliances are susceptible to water quality. They quickly fail if tap water is poured into their container. For the normal functioning of humidifiers, you need to use distilled or at least filtered water.
The disadvantages include the high cost of devices equipped with a number of additional functions.
Even when using filtered water, a white coating may appear on the humidifier and furniture. To prevent the formation of such a plaque, you need to use high-quality filters and change them in a timely manner.
Advantages and disadvantages of ultrasonic models
Water from the working tank of the ultrasonic version of the humidifier is “knocked out” in the form of molecules into the air surrounding the device with the help of a special membrane. Thereby:
- The sprayed steam remains cold and safe for humans.
- The absence of the need for heating significantly reduces energy consumption.
- Almost every model has a hygrostat that controls the level of air humidity and the operation of the device.
- The dimensions and the noise it produces make it possible to use the humidifier on a table in the bedroom, including the newborn’s room.
- Automatic shutdown in the absence of water.
- The presence of additional mechanisms for uniform spraying and purification of the water used from bacteria.
- The ability to easily raise the overall humidity level above 60%.
The main disadvantage of the ultrasonic model is its relatively low productivity. The production of steam is much faster than “knocking out” water molecules with ultrasound.
The second drawback is the need to regularly change the cartridge filter, as a rule, it is required about four times a year. This implies the third drawback of this category of devices — the requirement for the quality of sprayed water. The higher it is, the better and longer the humidifier works. Dirty water can damage the filter in a very short time. And all this is complemented by a higher cost than the price of models that use steam for humidification.
We recommend that you read: What kind of water to pour into the humidifier
Which humidifier is best?
Steam and ultrasonic humidifiers have many advantages. And it’s quite difficult to choose the best one among them — both types are able to qualitatively improve the microclimate in the room.
However, you need to select a device for specific operating conditions. First of all, the area of u200bu200bthe room is taken into account, the power of the device is selected for it.
In small rooms it is advisable to use ultrasonic models, and in large rooms — steam ones.
An ultrasonic type device is suitable if:
- you need a compact size humidifier that can be carried;
- there are no allergy sufferers in the family, and the air in the area of u200bu200bresidence is not too polluted;
- there is no desire to incur large energy costs in order to improve the microclimate in an apartment or house;
- light sleep and there is a need to sleep in perfect silence;
- you need to equip the children’s room with a humidifier.
Despite the minimal power consumption, some costs with ultrasonic humidifiers still have to be incurred: the purchase of filters, cartridges and distilled water.
There are so-called ultrasonic micro-humidifiers. Additionally, they can be used as an aroma lamp or a night light. Some models are available with a built-in speaker
Steam types of devices are best suited for families in which the children have grown up, and no one wants to check the temperature of the steam with their palm or open the lid during operation.
With the help of devices, you can also perform inhalations and disinfect rooms. If such features are in demand, you should definitely buy a steam humidifier.
Ideally, steam humidifiers are suitable if there are many flowers in the house that love a warm and humid climate. The device is able to quickly create for them the conditions of «wet subtropics»
When choosing a device for humidifying the air, you must also pay attention to the rate of water flow, as well as the volume of the tank. If it is not possible to add water every 8-12 hours, then it is better to buy a unit with a tank volume of 6 liters or more.
More recommendations for choosing a humidifier for home and apartment, we have given in the following publication.
What to look for when choosing
Often, users who do not understand the topic of choosing a humidifier at all, and there are millions of them, have to compare similar devices only on the price scale. The choice that was made only for the price criterion is not always correct. Sometimes appliances that cost less are more productive than those that cost more.
In order to avoid frequent consumer mistakes, you need to know what characteristics should be used at the time of selection. To choose a really high-quality air humidifier, a potential buyer should pay attention to the following criteria:
- for rooms, what size humidifier should be used;
- what level of performance of a particular humidifier;
- how long the device has the ability to work in continuous mode;
- what is the tank size of a particular air humidifier and how long does such a volume of liquid last;
- what is the purpose of humidifying a particular room (just for people or you need to create comfortable conditions for plants, pets);
- what level of electrical energy consumption and noise figure will not disturb the comfort of a particular consumer;
- whether there are additional performance characteristics that are virtually indispensable (built-in hydrostat, humidity level controller).
Also, an important selection criterion will be the moment of the presence of a small child in the house. If there is such a person in a particular room, it is best to choose an ultrasonic humidifier. When it comes to the need to create comfortable conditions for plants, it is worth choosing a steam humidifier, since in this case it will be much more efficient.
Humidifier Care Features
Regardless of the cost, modification and number of functions, any devices need timely care and maintenance. For example, some models of ultrasonic humidifiers recommend changing filters or cartridges every 3 months.
Mandatory procedures also include:
- washing the device — perform 1 time per week;
- descaling, which is especially important for steam humidifiers — carry out the procedure as the device gets dirty, on average 1 time in 2 weeks;
- disinfection procedures — disinfect the device once a month.
Clean the humidifier with special products. They do their job well, but are expensive. Also, to combat pollution, you can independently prepare a cleaning agent from a solution of laundry soap and water (1: 2).
Baking soda will help get rid of the hard deposits in the humidifier. It is necessary to pour the soda solution into the reservoir of the device and turn it on for 50-60 minutes. To prepare the product, take 50 g of soda per 1 liter of water
As a disinfectant, you can use ordinary bleach. To prepare a solution of 1 tbsp. l. chlorine is diluted in 4 liters of water. The cleaning procedure should be performed on a balcony or outside. After disinfection, thoroughly wash the water tank. Cleaning is carried out with a soft cloth, as hard elements can scratch the equipment.
Timely cleaning and proper operation can extend the life of a household air humidifier.
About the benefits of humidifiers
The direct purpose of the device is to increase the humidity of the air with the removal of the negative impact of excessive dryness of the environment in the home. The main benefit of a humidifier lies in its need for the health of the child’s body.
The metabolism of a child is very intense, generating a lot of heat when the regulation of heat transfer is done primarily by the lungs. When the air is very dry, a large amount of water is lost by the body, resulting in excessive sweating with thickening of the blood. In some cases, the activity of some systems and organs may even be disrupted:
- Excessive dryness of the mucous membranes of the nose and larynx causes a loss of protective properties, due to which favorable conditions for the life of pathogenic bacteria develop. Because of this, the child develops bronchitis, otitis media, pneumonia, sinusitis and other diseases;
- A humidifier is useful in minimizing the risk of asthma with rhinitis;
- Insufficient humidity in the room entails dry skin, resulting in peeling, irritation and premature aging;
- Such a device supports the immune system with the protection of the body from possible dehydration;
- Excessive dryness of the environment reduces attention and causes fatigue;
- In addition, such a device will help to keep wooden furniture longer, including doors that can dry out and deform with insufficient moisture;
- For plants, a humidifier is also useful, helping them feel normal and grow well.
According to doctors and numerous reviews, a humidifier is good for the eyes, solving the problem with their dryness. Thanks to such a device, it will not be necessary to additionally moisturize the mucous membranes of the eyes in order to get rid of redness and itching.
Conclusions and useful video on the topic
A detailed overview of the existing types of humidifiers is shown in the video:
In the article, we examined the features of work, the advantages and disadvantages of the most common types of humidifiers. Steam options are cheaper and can even be used for inhalation. However, they are not suitable for everyone. Ultrasonic devices are completely safe, they can be used to humidify children’s rooms. Their disadvantages include the need for periodic replacement of filters.
What type of humidifier do you prefer? Are you satisfied with your choice? What are the pros and cons you found in the operation of your humidifier? If you still have questions after reading this article, ask our experts and other site visitors — the feedback form is located below.
Myths about humidifiers
To buy or not to buy a humidifier? What are the benefits and harms of this device? Reviews and opinion of doctors about the device and its necessity? These questions are constantly spinning in the head of everyone who cares about their health. And if the benefits and harms of the device are more or less clear, then with the reviews of experts … Let’s see what myths about the humidifier the information field is filled with and what experts say about this.
Myth 1. A humidifier causes a sore throat.
A humidifier by itself does not cause a sore throat. But the humidity is above 80% — yes. The optimal level of humidity in the room is 45-60% for an adult and 50-70% for a child.
Myth 2. The unit does not cope with the task
Of course, a humidifier will not do any good if it is not properly chosen. Choose a device by power and compare it with the area to be moistened. If the passport of the unit says that it optimizes the climate on an area of 15 sq.m, then in a room of 25 sq.m it will be completely useless.
Myth 3. Humidifiers are dangerous for children.
Only one type of humidifier is dangerous — steam. The child may be burned by the hot steam. Therefore, such a unit should be in an area inaccessible to kids.
Myth 4. A humidifier is not cheap.
The device itself is not expensive, but consumables (filters) can cost you a penny. Yes Yes. You can’t get away from this. Filters need to be changed. Another question is how often. Read the instructions and plan your budget in advance. Remember, health is above all.
humidifier and baby
Humidification is one of the main responsibilities of good parents. After all, for the full development of the baby needs the optimal mode of humidity. But many parents refuse this device, considering it a useless and dangerous acquisition.
How to choose a humidifier?
The World Wide Web does not skimp on offers from advertisers. And here another question comes to the fore: how to choose a humidifier for subsequent purchase? In what cases can you get by with the simplest “air wash”, and in what cases is an ionizer needed? Or maybe just make a humidifier with your own hands and save a lot of money? As for the last question, the now fashionable ultrasonic humidifier simply cannot be assembled on its own. And homemade products require constant care.
The choice of the type of air humidifier depends on the tasks that are set for its consumer. And, of course, financial opportunities. In addition, you should take into account the dimensions of the room and what kind of humidity you need to achieve in it (the optimal relative humidity for a person is considered to be 40-60%). It is also a good idea to calculate how much the electricity consumed by the device and consumable filters will cost, how much water it consumes (how often it will have to be added). You also need to find out if the unit is very noisy.
Is a humidifier harmful to children?
As already mentioned more than once in this article, humidifiers are designed to increase the level of humidity in the premises and create an optimal microclimate for human life. Since children’s metabolism is much more intense than that of adults, and naturally their body produces more heat. At this age, thermoregulation is more carried out by the lungs than by the skin, and if the air in the room is dry, then the child’s body loses a lot of moisture, blood thickens and a general decrease in well-being occurs.
When using steam models, children must be supervised at all times.
It is also worth noting that with a serious lack of moisture in the air, the mucous membranes dry out and lumps form in them, leading to difficulty breathing. The parched mucosa loses its protective functions, which leads to the formation of bacteria and the occurrence of various respiratory diseases. In addition, overdried mucous membranes react sharply to dust and allergens. The use of humidifiers reduces the risk of rhinitis and asthma.
A humidifier will help a delicate children’s body to endure the heat more easily.
Effect on children and expectant mothers
Doctors say that the devices have no contraindications. Humidified air can prevent many problems that may arise with the health of a child. You can start using the device from the first days of a baby’s life. The reasons for the need to use equipment for air humidification in children’s rooms:
- 1. Children are more sensitive to the environment than adults. Low humidity in combination with high temperature creates a strong load on the body, which leads to malfunctions in its work.
- 2. At low humidity, microbes actively develop, which can cause various bronchopulmonary diseases.
- 3. In a child, the breathing rhythm is much faster than in adults. This increases the likelihood of penetration of harmful microorganisms.
- 4. Due to dry air, the mucous membranes dry out quickly.
- 5. Babies have difficulty feeding.
- 6. Babies partially consume oxygen through the skin, so the epidermis should not be allowed to dry out.
- 7. On dry skin, various irritations can often appear, which causes discomfort to the child.
- 8. In rooms where the air has a sufficient level of humidity, children sleep much stronger and longer. It also reduces the likelihood of respiratory diseases.
- 9. Dry air can cause serious kidney failure.
It is impossible to deny the benefits of humidifiers for the health of the child. For pregnant women and nursing mothers, the device can be harmful only in case of abuse when using it.
Do not over-moisten the air in the room, as this provokes the rapid reproduction of microorganisms. Ultrasonic devices are considered the safest.
In some cases, the device can create a certain climate in which the pregnancy will be much easier. Thanks to moist air, the body of the expectant mother is not depleted, her well-being improves significantly.
About the harmful effects of humidifiers
For a better understanding of the harmful effects of air humidifiers, it is worth considering each separately:
- Due to the hot steam being thrown out, the steam appliance has a chance of being burned. Plus, they cause an increased air temperature with the simultaneous use of heating devices. And one more drawback — when installing it near a wall, there is a risk of damaging its coating.
- The harm of a traditional air humidifier lies in the accumulation of various microorganisms harmful to the body on a replaceable cassette. This is due to the simultaneous function of air purification with the subsequent release of the collected dust particles into the environment.
- Ultrasonic humidifiers are harmful by throwing out the liquid at the same time as other elements dissolved in it. This is usually salt and possible harmful substances that then settle on the surrounding furniture, including the floor and lungs. To avoid this, it is recommended to use only distilled water.
Using any such device, it is necessary to constantly monitor the level of humidity — after all, its overestimated indicators are harmful in the same way as excessive dryness. This is carried out by a hygrometer purchased separately or already built into the humidifier.
To obtain maximum effect and benefit, the air humidifier must be properly operated:
- Before connecting the device, be sure to read the instructions. For example, in order not to unknowingly fill the ultrasonic mechanism with tap water;
- In the presence of a gyrostat, you need to regularly monitor its performance with a hygrometer. These figures should not be less than 45 and exceed 60 percent for the room where adults are and from 50 to 70% in the children’s room;
- Do not replace the humidification function with ventilation with temperature control. They should not exceed 23 degrees.
By following all these simple rules, all that remains is to enjoy all the benefits of a humidifier.
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Pros and cons of equipment
The main function of the device is to increase the level of humidity of the air masses, which reduces the harmful effects of too dry environment in the apartment. Most of all, the device is useful for children’s health.
The metabolism in the child’s body is very fast, which leads to the production of a huge amount of heat. Most of the heat transfer occurs through the lungs. High dryness can harm children’s health. Increased sweating provokes a rapid thickening of the blood. It can also lead to the following violations:
- 1. Loss of the protective functions of the mucous membranes of the nasopharynx. The body cannot fight bacteria. The child runs the risk of getting sick with bronchitis, sinusitis, and also a cold.
- 2. An atmospheric humidifier can minimize the likelihood of asthma and rhinitis.
- 3. Low humidity contributes to increased dryness of the skin. Because of this, peeling, severe itching and irritation of the epidermis, as well as premature aging can occur.
- 4. Insufficient moisture levels cause fatigue.
In addition, humidifiers preserve wooden interior elements (doors, furniture, etc.). Due to dryness, the tree is deformed. Also, the use of the device is useful for plants.
The opinions of physicians agree on the usefulness of the apparatus for the organs of vision. Doctors believe that it can solve the problem with additional hydration of the mucous membranes of the eyes.
The harm of an ultrasonic humidifier for children has not been proven when used correctly. But the device has certain negative qualities that should be considered. The main disadvantages of the device:
- 1. When hot steam is thrown out, there is a risk of burns. Also, devices of this type increase the temperature of the air in the room.
- 2. Installing the unit near walls may damage the finish.
- 3. The detrimental effect of the traditional humidifier is that it is capable of accumulating many different microorganisms on the replaceable cassettes. Often people are interested in whether it is possible to get sick from a humidifier. It is impossible if you change consumables on time.
- 4. Ultrasonic devices can be harmful because they simultaneously emit other elements that were dissolved in it along with the liquid. These include various salts. Subsequently, they settle on all surfaces in the room.
When using such mechanisms, you must always ensure that the humidity level is not too high. A hygrometer helps to control this indicator.
Why is too dry air dangerous?
Too dry indoor air is contraindicated primarily for allergy sufferers and people with respiratory diseases. Dry air does not bind dust, the smallest particles of which enter the lungs with every breath.
As a result, even in a healthy person, symptoms such as:
- labored breathing;
- sore throat;
- constant thirst;
- desire to clear your throat
An asthmatic can literally start to suffocate. For people suffering from chronic respiratory diseases, a humidifier in the apartment is as much a necessity as medication.
The central heating of apartment buildings dries out the air in cold winters. In order to avoid this, you need to purchase a humidifier.
Dry air is especially dangerous in old houses, the ventilation system of which is far from ideal. The central heating of high-rise buildings also «dries» the air.
Closed, and sometimes sealed windows and electric heaters in old apartments only worsen the situation. In such apartments it literally becomes difficult to breathe. But discomfort is only part of the problem.