Should I Use a Humidifier in the Winter?
Why do you need the best humidifier for winter? After all, we know that in winter, the outdoors are mostly cold and damp. However, the indoor air during winter is too dry.
So, should I use a humidifier in the winter? When you turn on the heating, it warms but dries air. That is why you need to increase the indoor humidity. A humidifier is going to help you keep indoor relative humidity between 30 and 55 percent.
You can buy a small portable humidifier or a whole house humidifier. There are even smaller, desktop units for your office space alone.
A humidifier is supposed to increase the moisture content in the air. Most people wonder why it is paramount to have one in winter when it is already cold and damp.
Well, there is a perfectly logical explanation for this. Keep reading!
Why do you need the best humidifier for winter?
In winter, you will turn up the heating. And you will feel all warm and comfortable. This warmth and comfort brings with it a few problems.
One of them is that the heat dries all of the moisture from the air.
As a result, you inhale dry air. This can hurt your airways, especially if you have a cold, or asthma, or something. That is why we have the best humidifiers for colds.
Dry air also has other disadvantages. One of them is that it sucks the moisture out of your skin. This leaves your skin feeling chapped and itchy.
That is not very comfortable!
Dry air also makes your nose hurt when you breath in. Now, the nose is quite hardy. After all it is always exposed to the elements, so no big deal there. It is the airways that are a problem!
Dry air can make the airways swell and hurt every time you take a breath of air. Thankfully, all this can be solved by buying a humidifying appliance.
Sometimes, you could be feeling too warm and comfortable to really know whether you truly have dry air. Just look for the symptoms of dry in-house air that I have discussed in this article.
And yes, it is perfectly possible to have cold and damp air outdoors and at the same time, have warm and dry air in the house.
Research has shown that as it gets colder, the humidity levels drop. So, it is practically possible to have very cold and dry air in winter.
Have a look at how humidity decreases with decrease in temperature:
- Minus 20° F – humidity is at 15% or lower
- Minus 10° F – humidity is at 20%
- 0° F – Humidity is at 25%
- 10° F – Humidity is at 30%
- 20° F – Humidity is at 35%
- 40° F – Humidity is at 40%
From these figures alone, you can guess that in summer, you will need a dehumidifier and in winter, you will need a humidifier.
Humidifier prevents dry skin in winter
This is one of the chief reasons why you would need the best humidifier for cold weather. You can help your skin retain its moisture.
For your skin to feel comfortable all the time, you would need to keep your indoor humidity level at 43 percent at the lowest.
When we run the radiator to turn up the heat, the moisture content indoors dips lower than 43 percent. In that case, the skin starts to feel itchy, dry and uncomfortable. You need to humidify the air for your skin.
If you have a baby, you will need a humidifier in their room during winter.
If a grownup can feel the discomfort of the dry air on skin, just imagine what your baby’s sensitive skin must feel.
A winter humidifier is good for the eyes
The eyes are the windows to the soul. However, most of the time, we disregard their needs when we are thinking of personal care and hygiene.
Unknown to many people, your eyes suffer a lot when you are experiencing dry air indoors, such as is bound to happen in winter.
If your eyes start feeling too dry, before you go to see an optician, check the humidity level in the house. Normally, eyes should feel moist and fluid. Our surroundings help to make the eyes moisturized and comfortable.
Your eyes may also start feeling itchy and irritated. OK, these could also be symptoms for other eye infections, so you need to rule them out first. However, if you only experience these symptoms during winter, well, you have dry air.
Get a humidifier for winter running so that you can inject some moisture into the room. That should help your skin and your eyes.
In addition to the dry eyes and skin, also check your lips. If they appear chapped, well, you may have to crank up the humidifier.
Dry air is bad for the lips. It sucks the moisture out of them, leaving them chapped and feeling dry all the time. They may even develop painful cracks.
Best humidifier for winter preserves your paint and wood
One of the tell-tale signs of low humidity indoors is cracking or peeling paint. However, this may not happen on the first, second or even third winter seasons.
It will take some time. That is why you must have a humidifier running as much as possible during winter. That way, you take care of your paint, so that you do not have to pay a bigger price in future.
Please note that too much humidity is not good for the paint. So to remove the guesswork out of the picture, just use a hygrometer.
That should help you to know outright what the humidity is, so that you can know when to turn your humidification appliance on.
Dry air also affects wood badly. If wood furniture, floors and other items are exposed to dry air for too long, it sucks the moisture out of them.
And then your couch starts creaking when you sit down heavily. This could be an indication of either an aged couch that needs to be replaced or there is dry air in the house.
When exposed to dry air, wood starts contracting, obviously from the loss of moisture. The joints start becoming loose. This is just a prelude of worse things to come because the hitherto firm tables and chairs can start wobbling, thus posing a serious hazard to the users.
Wood floors also become loose and they start creaking when you are walking. However, if your floor is old, you should check it.
You can prevent this by buying a humidifier for winter. Do not be afraid to leave the humidifier running throughout the cold season. Modern humidifiers have automated features, such that when optimum humidity has been reached, it shuts down.
A humidifier can increase warmth in the house
If you need a humidifier for warmth at home, you should buy the warm mist humidifier. This one boils water and then releases moisture in the form of a fine warm mist.
However, to some extent, even a cool mist humidifier also enhances warmth in the room. You see, when the heated air is humidified, you get a comfortable kind of dampness that lingers long in the air. This ultimately makes you feel more comfortable and warm.
When you have more humidity, your sweat will evaporate easily, leaving you warmer. This is also another of the reasons why we say that a humidifier can help increase warmth indoors.
There is less static
Static electricity is associated with dry air. It is quite annoying when you touch your dry hair and static electricity “shocks” you.
This static electricity is generally harmless when you experience it on dry clothes, hair and skin. However, static electricity also affects electronics to such an extent that at times, it produces sparks.
If you are not careful with it, this could be the cause of a house fire, for example, when static electricity produces sparks close to the cooking gas.
Mostly, these are negligible problems, but you can never be too careful. It is best to buy a humidifier for increasing moisture in the air.
Control airborne viruses
The spread of viruses that cause different types of illnesses can be controlled with a humidifier. For example, influenza is very common during the cold seasons because then, viruses move easily through the air thus affecting more people.
The reason why viruses spread easily in winter is because they float in the air. Thus, when you increase the moisture in the air to about 50 percent, you make it hard for the viruses to float in the air.
They fall to the ground, thus ending up not being transmitted to others.
When you see too many cases of colds and flu in your family in the cold season, you just need to get the best humidifier for winter. When the air is too dry, disease-causing agents spread faster, thus causing more suffering at home.
Note that some types of viruses and indoor allergens thrive in humid and warm conditions. That is why your air moisture content should never come to 60 or 70 percent.
A humidifier helps you sleep more comfortably
Nothing is worse than going to the office without having had enough sleep. This can affect your productivity at work.
If you have dry air in the house, you will not sleep comfortably. It also enhances snoring. Thus, if your partner or you are a snorer, you will experience more snoring during winter.
Snoring happens when you breathe through your mouth and the muscles at the back of your throat relax. When air passes over them, they vibrate, thus making sound, which we refer to as a snoring.
When you sleep in a room that is full of dry air, your breathing will be raspy. With a cool mist or warm mist humidifier, you will improve your sleeping conditions.
Your body is 70 percent or thereabouts made of water. This shows you just how much you need optimum moisture in the air. You will help your nasal membranes, your lungs and airways in the breathing exercise.
It reduces allergic attacks
The jury is still out on this one, with some people saying that humidity does not help with allergies. However, the truth is that optimum moisture in the air, you know, not too high not too low is perfect for health.
On the one hand, humidifiers can lead to the spread of dust mites. These notorious indoor allergens thrive when there is more humidity. However, the modern humidifier can be set to keep the humidity at just the right setting so that the dust mites die instead of thriving.
Since most allergies affect the airways, hence the wheezing and breathlessness, well, when the air has moisture, it is quite soothing for the airways, which most likely will have their nerve ending raw and edgy.
Some of the other indoor allergens to be wary about include pet dander, dust, fur and many others. Any allergen is not cool for your health.
Best types of humidifier for winter
Now that we are all agreed that we need a humidifier for winter, what is the best one?
We may classify them by category, but basically, any humidifier is better than no humidifier at all.
Here they are:
Whole house humidifier
This is not specifically a humidifier for cold season, but it is for all time. It is installed together with the heating. What happens is that when your indoor air is heated, it is moistened such that it comes out warm and with the right level of moisture.
For installation, care and maintenance, you will have to hire a professional in HVAC systems. Thankfully, this kind of humidifier is made for heavy-duty work and so it does not fail that often.
In fact, the cold season is the main reason why you need a humidifier installed in your heating system. This is when you really have to crank that radiator up for the heat and thus, the air is drier. Thus, if you have been having doubts about installing a whole house humidifier, you need it!
The main benefit of having this humidifier is that you humidify every room in the house, so you do not need to buy a small humidifier for each room.
Ultrasonic humidifier for winter
Ultrasonic humidifiers are good for winter. This kind of humidifier is designed to generate high frequency vibrations, which in turn help from a fine mist from the water, which is then blown by a fan into the room.
The good thing is that these vibrations also kill germs, viruses and bacteria. If you need a humidifier for sleeping, buy an ultrasonic one because it is silent when it is in operation. You will love it.
Ultrasonic releases a cool mist, which evaporates as soon as it is released into the air. The good thing is that it consumes minimal energy so you should barely notice any change in your bills.
Cool mist humidifier for winter
In many situations that need a humidifier, the cool mist one always emerges the winner. In this case, you will need this humidifier so that you can sleep better.
You may also need it for the baby’s nursery since you do not want any hazards in the room. The cool mist humidifiers are plug-and-play kinds of appliances.
These require some maintenance though as you have to keep the filters clean all the time. You may also need to change the filters at least once a year.
The reason for this is that the filters trap dirt, which in turn leads to the thriving of germs and bacteria, which can be blown into the air that you inhale.
Cool mist humidifiers come highly recommended for all types of weather. You can use them in summer, fall or whenever. They are so fuss-free, safe and they come in all sizes, shapes and styles.
Warm mist humidifiers for winter
At the first glance, many people think that warm mist humidifiers for winter are good because they can inject some warmth into the air. That is alright, but there are many more benefits.
One of them is that in the process of boiling the water to produce the warm mist, any viruses and bacteria die. This means that even when used in the baby nursery, you will not have to worry about the air being contaminated with viruses.
Just like the cool mist humidifiers, the warm mist humidifier for winter also needs some care and maintenance. The filters need to be cleaned and they may need to be replaced a couple of times a year.
You may also want to reconsider using this humidifier in the kids’ rooms because of the boiling water. If it is tipped over, it can cause a serious scalding hazard.
If you use it with hard water, you will have to clean the tank more often to remove the mineral deposits. You may also experience white dust on your furniture.
Should I use a humidifier in the winter? You have seen just how important it is to get the best unit for the snow season. Now, just go out there and buy one, and make your cold season fun.
In the cold months, you need not beat up your airways with raspy dry air. With a humidifier for cold season, it is so easy to bring the indoor humidity to the required level.