Since COVID-19 has hit us all regardless of our location and every science team tries to create the vaccine we are yet to see, it is our own responsibility to stay safe and healthy. Among all the recommendations there is one specific we would like to dive into, since it requires a bit of preparation. So today we want to overview humidifiers or air moisturisers. If you #stayhome it is very important to pay attention to the quality and humidity of the air.
Humidifier: what is it and why you need one?
To avoid consequences of breathing dry air at home, one can use special electrical powered devices - humidifiers, the key function of those devices is to keep your air humid within the recommended level and making air more fresh and clean. This in turn makes air better quality and improves your wellbeing.
Most important improvements of humidifiers:
- Killing the flu. It is proven that viruses are not tolerating humid environment and die out sooner, so humid air lowers your risk of getting sick
- Makes you feel better. Dry air is known to make our nose and eyes dry as well, so keeping optimal level of humidity in the air we breathe, helps to sleep better, feel less tired and be more productive
- Help to fight snoring. This again is related to dry air and affects our quality of sleep so much, that it can be a reason for snoring
- Moisturising your skin. Dry air is no good for your skin and hair as well, so that itchy feeling you might have can be related to dry skin and even cause dandruff
- Fights allergy and asthma. Clean and reasonably humid air is no home for bacterias and allergens of all sorts. So people with respiratory diseases should always pay attention to the quality of air they breathe
Researchers believe that relative air humidity of 50-60% is most comfortable for humans. Usually in your home or apartment level of humidity is no more than 40-45% and can drop down to 20% in winter time. Dry air is affecting your quality of sleep, damages your skin and promotes bacterias of all sort to increase their population. It is especially important to pay attention to air quality if you have children. For the sake of child health, some doctors recommend to keep humidity level of no less than 60%. In order to keep your air in a good shape and optimal level of humidity it is best to use humidifiers, since it is the most convenient way.
Currently, three groups of humidifiers are common on the market: ultrasonic, steam and traditional
ultrasonic humidifiers - This type of appliance converts water to steam using ultrasonic vibrations. A built-in fan directs the steam into the room.
Ultrasonic humidifiers create cold vapor (in fact, to be physically accurate - rather fog), consisting of tiny particles of water. Water is “crushed” using a special membrane that oscillates at high frequencies (hence the name of this type of device). Ultrasonic models consume on average no more than 50 watts, have average performance and sometimes allow the possibility of heating water. Steam will thus be supplied preheated making room warmer.
One of the key complaints about ultrasonic humidifiers is the appearance of a characteristic white coating on furniture when ordinary tap water is used. In addition, if the ultrasonic humidifier does not have a built-in humidity sensor (hygrometer), it will humidify the air even after reaching the required humidity level, this does not happen with traditional humidifiers.
The main advantages of humidifiers of this type include: simplicity of design and, as a result, low price; as well as compactness, low noise and low power consumption.
steam humidifiers - This type of appliance uses the simplest principle of air humidification: the water heats up, turning into steam, which then enters the room. In essence, steam humidifiers are not different from an electric kettle or boiler.
Such a device is simple to use and easy to clean. But that simplicity comes with a price of higher energy consumption and as a result additional heating in the room. Apart from more energy these ones make more noise as well, and that makes it hard to use them in your bedroom.
Some consumers say these devices can dry indoor plants and if they are too powerful and placed in a small room they happen to create a sauna effect. They are unsafe, unlike other types of humidifiers, as hot steam can burn.
classic humidifiers - Classic humidifiers are distinguished by a simple principle of operation: water from the tank enters the evaporation element and, with the help of a fan, steam enters the room. Their advantages: they do not require pouring necessarily distilled or purified water, like ultrasonic ones, and less traumatic in comparison with steam humidifiers.
These devices consume relatively little electricity (from 20 to 60 watts) and moderately clean the air during operation due to the subsidence of part of the dust in the water. If you need 24-hour room humidification with a minimum of supervision, then classic models are unrivaled.
But they also have their drawbacks: as a rule, these models are more bulky and noisy in comparison with ultrasonic ones, have a more complex device and cost significantly more.
Evaporation rate and tank capacity
For each humidifier, you can find technical specifications such as water flow and tank capacity. Based on these data, it will be easy to calculate how long the device is able to work without refueling and how much water will get into the air. For example, if the device consumes 400 milliliters per hour and has a tank of three liters, then without adding water the device will work for less than eight hours.
For some situations I can be enough, but it won't get you through sleeping of 8 hours straight. On the other hand if you will pick up a model that rarely needs refuling, don't get excited too much as it could simply be less productive and not sufficiently humudity the air. Also we suggest to skip really big tanks of water since it is a bigger source of bacterias in case if it is not fully used and stays there for a while.
Level of noise
Since the humidifier is often started at night (especially if there is nobody in the apartment during the day), the noise level is one of the key criteria that you need to pay attention to when choosing such a device. The best way to find out the noise level is to consult the manual and familiarize yourself with the technical specifications of the humidifier. The claimed noise level of 25-30 dB is quite good characteristics. We suggest to keep in mind few things regarding level of noise.
Firstly, most humidifiers from time to time very clearly gurgle, taking the next portion of water. It is impossible to avoid this, and the volume of gurgling can vary significantly from model to model. So it is something you must check with consultant or reviews.
Secondly, the device warning system may be the source of unwanted noise, giving a signal that the water in the tank is coming to an end. It will be rather unpleasant to hear a warning sound in the middle of the night. And if it turns out to be long or repeated it surely will get on your nerves.
Expendable supplies and materials
Almost all humidifiers, regardless of type, are sensitive to water quality. Normal tap water may turn out to be too harsh or dirty, which is why some models have a filtration system to remove impurities. The service life of such filters does not exceed several months, even if distilled or boiled water is used.
Aromatization and Air ionization
Some models of humidifiers allow you to add special odorous mixtures (essential oils) to the water, allowing you to give the air not only the necessary level of humidity, but also a pleasant smell.
Many humidifiers are advertised as devices that perform the function of air ionization, which consists in applying a high voltage to the electrodes, as a result of which the amount of charged particles in the air, the so-called aero ions, increases.
It is up to you if you find this particular function of air ionization useful, but what we know for sure is that charged particles tend to glue with particles of dust, making them land on your furniture and stay there longer.
Despite the fact that air humidifiers are fairly simple devices designed to perform one simple task - to saturate the air with water molecules, you should pay attention to important characteristics and how you want to use one in your home.
We think that a wise choice of humidifier will improve your air quality and make your sleep much more comfortable. It is pleasant to know the added benefit for your health as well. So #stayhome and be healthy in this pandemic times.