Cold weather means drier air, especially indoors once the thermostat is cranked up. That dry air can be blamed for spreading colds, cracked skin, itchy eyes, hacking coughs, and irritated sinuses.
iAllergy.com points out that a humidifier can remedy these symptoms by adding moisture into the air, but if not maintained properly, it can do more harm than good. Here are some important things to take into consideration before investing in one.
Monitor Humidity Levels:
A humidifier may help you breathe easier, but too much moisture isn't healthy either. Mold, dust mites, mildew and bacteria thrive in moist environments.
Consider purchasing a hygrometer, a device used to monitor humidity levels. According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, the proper levels should be between 30% and 50% humidity. Hygrometers are inexpensive and available at your local hardware store and some humidifiers even have them built-in.
Choosing a Humidifier:
The are several things to consider when it comes to finding the right unit for you. Home Depot suggests thinking about:
- Location of the unit. Decide where the humidifier will be most effective. There are built-in central, floor, and even table-top units.
- Unit type. There are several types of humidifiers on the market: warm and cool mist, vaporizers, ultrasonic, and impeller.
- Number of rooms. Check to see how much mist a humidifier can create within a 24-hour period. This will tell you how many rooms it can humidify.
Caring For Your Humidifier:
Regardless of which type of humidifier you choose, the Mayo Clinic also stresses that if a humidifier is not properly maintained, it can make you sick. Water left unchanged can breed mold and bacteria, which is emitted into the air when using the device. To combat this, experts advise you to:
- Clean your humidifier every three days. Empty the water, completely dry the humidifier, and then refill.
- Use distilled or demineralized water, instead of tap water. Mist created from tap water leaves behind a white residue, because of its high mineral content.
- Change the filters as your humidifier's instructions suggest, or more often if need be.
- Clean humidifiers before and after storage. Don't give mold, dust and other bacteria a chance to grow.
While there are many brands of humidifiers to choose from, here are five models which received some of the best reviews on the web: