Things You Should Know Before You Buy A Humidifier

If you read our article, “How To Choose The Best Humidifier” then you already know about things like how to choose the right size, warm mist vs. cool mist and humidistats.  But those are just basic buying tips. 

Here’s a list of our secret tips, things you should know before you buy that humidifier.

  • The coverage area that the manufacturer stamps on the box is a “best case scenario.”  It assumes that you’re room has no drafty windows or doors and that you live in an ideal climate.  For best results, choose a humidifier that covers a larger area than you need.
  • Ideally, you want to achieve a humidity level of 30-40%.  If you choose a unit that’s too small you’ll either overwork it to achieve that level, or it just won’t ever be enough.  You’ll only be wasting your money if you purchase a humidifier that’s too small for your needs.
  • If possible, look for a unit with a built-in humidistat.  Dust mites and mold spores reproduce at humidity levels above 50%.  You may be eliminating congestion due to dry air, but you’ll be creating a whole new set of potential respiratory problems.
  • Humidifiers are usually rated on the amount of water they can process in a day.  For example, a 14-gallon humidifier can turn 14-gallons of water into mist in one 24-hour period.  If you live in a dry climate choose a humidifier with a larger capacity to avoid having to fill it multiple times throughout the day.
  • No matter what the box says, every humidifier makes some noise.  There’s really not that much difference from one model to the next, so don’t base your purchasing decision solely on noise level.  Table-top models generally make less noise, but may not have the capacity you need.
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers typically state that they don’t produce any white mineral dust.  However, if you’re using softened water, they probably will.  Look for an ultrasonic unit that uses an anti-calcium cartridge to eliminate the mineral dust.
  • If you have hard water you can expect to have to change the filter more often.
  • You can use softened water in a cool mist humidifier.
  • Distilled water is the best choice, but it can also be costly.  Filtered water is the next best option.
  • Choosing a large capacity humidifier might make perfect sense but remember, you’re going to have to carry that reservoir to the faucet, fill it, and then carry it back to the unit.  One gallon of water weighs approximately 8.35 pounds, and that’s not including the weight of the reservoir.
  • The digital read-out on some humidifiers is unreliable.  If your unit automatically shuts off when your programmed humidity level is reached, the erroneous display might make you think you’re not reaching the proper level.  Don’t worry.  The display might be off, but the unit itself is generally working properly.
  • Proper maintenance is crucial to avoid turning your humidifier into a breeding ground for germs.  Regardless of what type of unit you purchase your are going to have maintenance costs, including filters, cartridges and cleaning supplies.  The good news is that average maintenance costs are only about $35 per year.

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