12 Top Benefits Of A Home Humidifier And Why You Need One

A home humidifier is an excellent addition to your living space all year round. However, wintertime is absolutely the best time to have a high quality humidifier hard at work in your home.

In the winter, the home air is naturally dryer, and indoor heating only exacerbates this effect.

home humidifier benefits plants who enjoy the extra humidity

Dry air is hard on your respiratory system, and can make any existing medical conditions even worse. When the air is dry, your nasal passages, skin and hair dry out. You may find yourself continually thirsty and suffering from “cotton mouth.” When you get up in the morning, you may experience coughing fits from breathing dry air while you were asleep.

When you invest in a top quality room humidifier, you can make the air in your home more pleasant and healthier for inhabitants of all ages and species. You, your pets and your plants will all appreciate the comfort and health benefits offered by properly humidified air. Higher home humidity protects your health, and it even protects your home’s structure.

Extremely dry air causes lots of problems. For example:

  • Wood furnishing and flooring may shrink, crack and break.
  • Dry eyes and sore throats result from dry air.
  • Dry nasal passages hurt and even bleed.
  • Colds and flu become more common.
  • Chapped skin and chapped lips are common.
  • Allergy symptoms are exacerbated.
  • Asthma symptoms worsen.
  • Itchy skin all over.

All-in-all, a humidifier provides an affordable means of protecting your home, belongings and family members from the negative effects of dry winter air. A good humidifier disperses moisture into the air in the form of a light, invisible mist. This makes your living space more comfortable and imparts a number of surprising home humidifier benefits.

Why Is Higher Humidity And Moist Air So Desirable?

Here are 12 great ways a humidifier can save you money and make your winter months healthier and more comfortable.

1. Stay Healthy & Avoid Colds & Flu

In 2013 the journal known as PLOS ONE published a study showing that keeping higher home humidity levels could have a dramatic affect on instances of cold and flu. The reason is that higher humidity levels hamper the effectiveness of airborne flu virus.

In this study, conducted by John Noti and his colleagues at the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health at the CDC, it was found that only an hour after release into a room kept at relative humidity levels of 23%, approximately 75% of virus particles remained infectious; however, when the experiment was repeated in humidity levels of 43%, only 14% of the virus particles remained effective.

The researchers determined that this inactivation took place within 15 minutes of the release of the virus particles. They concluded that maintaining a humidity level of 40% or higher is very desirable for purposes of cold and flu prevention.

2. Higher Humidity Levels Help Ease Congestion

If you do catch a cold or flu, you will be more comfortable with a higher home humidity level. The reason for this is that humid air helps reduce congestion because dry air causes mucus to become thick and dry. This means it does not flow correctly. The result is that sinuses don’t drain properly and nasal passages become clogged. This can lead to all kinds of complications such as stuffy nose, irritated nasal passages, sore throat and painful sinuses.

Using a humidifier helps your nose do its job, which is to humidify and warm air before it passes into your respiratory system. In the wintertime, air is naturally dry and forced air heating systems make it even more so. When you have a cold, you will naturally experience some respiratory distress. A humidifier can reduce these symptoms.

3. Recover Faster

If you tend to suffer from allergies, asthma or if you have a cold, you will recover more quickly with an air humidifier in place. Keeping the air in your home properly humidified will help keep your nasal passages well-lubricated and this contributes to faster healing.

4. Reduce Allergies

If you have allergies, you can reap all of the benefits of humidified air and reduce your allergy symptoms you get from white dust and molds, generally by investing in an air humidifier equipped with an anti-microbial, air purifying filter.

5. Sleep Better

When you sleep in an arid environment, you are very likely to wake up with a scratchy throat, dry nose and even a headache. Keeping the air in your bedroom at proper humidity levels can help you sleep better and awaken more refreshed. This is why pediatricians so often recommend having a humidifier in the nursery. Naturally, humidifiers are helpful for both children and adults when it comes to getting relaxing, refreshing rest.

Additionally, keeping a humidifier going in your bedroom will help the room feel warmer, and this can lead to sounder sleep.

A humidifier can also help get snoring under control. Snoring can be caused by a number of different factors, and one of them is dry nasal passages, throat and mouth. If you wake yourself up with your snoring (or your partner wakes you with his or hers) a humidifier may very well solve that problem.

6. Prevent Dry Skin

Dry skin is common in wintertime. This is especially true of the exposed skin of your face, lips and hands. Dry skin wrinkles and cracks more easily, and living in an arid house can cause and exacerbate a number of skin maladies.

While you may increase your use of lotions and balms through the winter, it really won’t do you much good if your skin is dehydrated due to exposure to dry air. Having a good humidifier in place can literally help you feel more comfortable in your skin. It will also improve the appearance of your skin and help counteract signs of aging.

7. Protect Your Hair & Scalp

Your hair is made up of collagen, which is dependent upon moisture to remain flexible. Dry air results in dry, brittle, dull hair. Naturally, dry air poses challenges to the skin of your scalp just as it does the rest of your body. A dry scalp is itchy and may become flaky and produce unsightly dandruff. Keeping the air in your home at proper levels of humidity through the winter months can help you maintain healthy hair and scalp.

8. Keep Your Pets Healthy & Comfortable

Your indoor pets will enjoy all the same comfort and health benefits you do, and this can save you veterinary bills. A humidifier that also purifies the air is a great idea if you have a pet with allergies. Many dogs suffer from a wide variety of allergies, having clean, properly humidified indoor air quality can really help reduce symptoms.

9. Keep Your Houseplants Healthy & Happy

Having healthy greenery in your home can greatly increase the ambiance of your rooms through the cold winter months. Plants need water, both from the soil and from the air. Just as your skin and hair tend to dry out when overexposed to dry air, your plants’ leaves will do the same.

Help your houseplants thrive through winter by providing them with the ambient moisture they need to stay healthy and happy. Most plants (even succulents) prefer a relative humidity level of 40-60%.

10. Save Money On Utility Bills

You may be surprised to learn how more humidity means more warmth. Low humidity levels can reduce the feeling of warmth in the air by a good 3-5 degrees, so very dry air (10% humidity) at 70 degrees may feel like 65 degrees.

Conversely, air at a lower temperature with a relative humidity level of 50% will feel much warmer. For example, if you keep your thermostat at 67 degrees and your humidity level at 50%, the temperature in your home will feel more like 70 degrees.

This means that you can save money during the day and even more at night while you sleep by keeping your thermostat at a lower setting while running your humidifier. A humidifier is a small appliance that uses far less energy than your furnace.

11. Reduce Static Electricity

Very dry air causes static electricity to build up in textiles around your home. You may find yourself experiencing a substantial shock after every trip across carpeted areas or any time you encounter fabric or upholstery or your pet‘s fur. Keeping the air in your home well hydrated can significantly reduce instances of static shock.

12. Keep Wood Furniture & Woodwork Intact

If the air in your home is very dry, it can actually cause your doors, moldings, floorboards and wood furnishings to shrink, crack and split. Setting up a humidifier will help keep your expensive wood furniture, trim and even structural aspects of your home safe, strong and attractive.

How Do You Know Your Air Is Too Dry?

Humidity monitors are inexpensive and extremely handy. A simple humidity monitor will let you know at a glance whether your humidity levels are too high, too low or just right. Many can give you specific humidity readings. Generally speaking, 40% humidity is a good level. In wintertime, humidity levels can drop to the 20s and 30s, and that’s very dry, indeed!

For inexpensive, easy humidity measuring, the AcuRite Indoor Humidity Monitor is a great buy. This tiny gauge can be had from Amazon and provides accurate, easy to understand readings of temperature and humidity levels both indoors and outside. Click here to learn more about the AcuRite 00613 Indoor Humidity Monitor

Tear shaped home humidifier with a light water vapor emitting into the room

What Kind Of Humidifier Is Best?

There are three basic types of humidifiers and a number of different brands and styles. Choosing the right one (or ones) for your setting can be a bit confusing. Here are four good choices in cool mist, warm mist humidifiers and ultrasonic humidifiers:

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The cool mist humiditifier type disperses mist at room temperature. It is a good choice for large areas because it has broad coverage and uses very little electricity.

An excellent example   The Honeywell Humidifier is a Germ-Free Cool-Mist Humidifier (HCM350W) is an excellent example of this type of unit. It disperses a fine, cool mist that is 99.9% free of germs. This mist can eradicate viruses, bacteria, fungus, mold and spores thanks to patented ultra-violet (UV) technology and a specially treated, antimicrobial filter.

The unit is exceptionally quiet and can run continuously for a full 24 hours because it has a very generously sized two-gallon water supply tank. The unit can be filled with untreated tap water, which is then thoroughly sanitized by the UV light. Once sanitized, the water is absorbed by the anti-microbial wicking filter and dispersed as an invisible, micro-fine mist. This unit is available for purchase at Amazon.

Click Here to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

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This type of unit uses a heating element to warm the water in order to release a warm, comfortable mist or moist air. Naturally, the heating element consumes a bit more electricity than a cool mist machine.

A good choice in this model is the Vicks Warm-Mist Humidifier, which is very quiet and provides virtually germ free mist because the water is boiled to a 95% bacteria-free level. Water is heated intensively, then passed through a dry air cooling chamber and released as a comfortable, warm, moist mist. The medicine cup allows use of Vicks Vaposteam or Kaz Inhalent to produce medicated vapor.

You can set the mist output at low or high to accommodate the size of your room. The low setting is ideal for small-to-medium-sized rooms, and the high setting allows the machine to disperse the mist broadly for larger rooms.

This unit is equipped with a soft night light making it a good addition in the bedroom or nursery; however, if used in a nursery the unit must be placed very carefully to prevent tampering. Injury with hot water is possible. Purchase this very affordable unit at Amazon with a one-year guarantee.

Click Here to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

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This type of humidifier is available in both warm and cool mist types. Many people prefer ultrasonic units because they are extremely quiet. They work by using high-frequency sound waves (which we cannot hear) that vibrate a diaphragm made of metal. This action produces a very fine and noticeably soothing mist.

A good choice in ultrasonic models is the Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic Cool-Mist Humidifier. This unit is safe and quiet and can operate continuously on its low setting for a solid sixteen hours thanks to its generous one-and-a-half liter tank.

The unit has a 360 degree mist nozzle equipped with dual speed control so that you can set just the right level of coverage and mist. It is an excellent choice for thorough, continuous coverage in any room in your house.

This ultrasonic machine is an exceptionally good choice for the bedroom because, in addition to providing quiet, continuous operation, it also has a built-in, soft-glow nightlight.

You needn’t worry about forgetting to turn the unit off. It has an auto shut-off feature that enables it to turn itself off if the tank runs dry or is removed. Purchase this affordable humidifier through Amazon with a two-year warranty.

Click Here to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

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Tao Tronics Ultrasonic Warm & Cool Mist Humidifier With Air Filter is a stylish choice that looks very different from most humidifiers. It features a sleek, streamlined design and an attractive matte-black finish. The unit works in both a cool mist and warm mist mode, and you you can monitor the temperature of the water in the two-gallon tank via a clear LED screen.

The device has three mist output levels and allows you to preset humidity levels. It also features a timer, a control lock and a night mode. If the tank should run dry, the unit will shut itself off.

This unit is stellar at air filtration to help keep allergies at bay as it is equipped with filtration for both water and air. It is a good choice for dealing with excessive dust, pet odors and more. Additionally, this humidifier is equipped with an essential oil dispenser that allows you to add scented oils to the mist without running the risk of gumming up the works of your machine.

This unit is available on Amazon. Warranty information can be obtained from the manufacturer.

Click Here to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Make The Most Of Your Humidifier

Be sure not to go overboard. It’s a good idea to have properly humidified air, but if your environment is too humid you’ll run the risk of developing problems with mold and dust mites. Keep an eye on your humidity levels and try to maintain a relative humidity between forty and fifty percent.

While the instructions for many humidifiers do say that it is safe to use tap water, you can extend the life of your machine by using de-mineralized or distilled water. Tap water always contains minerals, and these can build up and cause mechanical malfunctions. Additionally, mineral buildup can create an environment for bacteria to grow.

Read and follow the cleaning and maintenance instructions that come with your machine. Change the filters as instructed, and be sure to clean your humidifier on a weekly basis. Never store the unit with water in it. The machine should always be thoroughly cleaned and dried before storage.

Over at leaf.tv they share this about essential oils and humidifiers:

One of the best means of disseminating these natural scents throughout a room is with a humidifier. The steam from the humidifier acts as a carrier for the oil, allowing it to spread throughout the room in just the right dosage. For best results and to avoid wasting filters, use only a hot-steam humidifier. [source]

Stay Well Hydrated In General

While a humidifier can surely make your home healthier and more comfortable and save you money in a number of ways, don’t rely on it solely for wintertime hydration. People often neglect proper personal hydration in the winter because they don’t feel thirsty. This is a mistake.

It’s just as important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of pure, filtered water, herbal tea and other healthy beverages throughout the winter months as it is in the summertime.

It’s just as important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of pure, filtered water, herbal tea and other healthy beverages throughout the winter months as it is in the summertime.

In addition to keeping the air in your home well-hydrated, be sure to help your skin and hair along with good, organic, chemical free hydrating products. When you maintain good humidity levels and help your skin and hair maintain moisture, you can expect to feel comfortable and look great all winter long.