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Different Types of Humidifiers

Feb 10, 2012

When winter comes around, the lack of natural humidity causes the air to dry out. The lack of moisture in the air is evident in the form of static electricity, dry skin, more dust and an increase in illnesses.

If the lack of humidity in your house is making your skin, throat or nasal passages dry, it’ s time to look in to buying the best humidifier. But which type of humidifier is the best? We break it down below.

The Five Types of Humidifiers:

Ultrasonic Humidifiers:
They produce a warm or cool mist by using a metal diaphragm vibrating at high-frequency. The sound vibrations propel moisture into the air. The water molecules that are produced are extremely small, about one micron in diameter. The mist is almost immediately absorbed into the air. Because this type of humidifier does not use a fan, it is very quiet when operating. Ultrasonic humidifiers typically do not use a filter.

Unlike the humidifiers that boil water, the water droplets that are produced by an ultrasonic humidifier contain any impurities that are in the water tank which include minerals contained in hard water. If you use tap water in an ultrasonic humidifier it will produce a white dust on which can settle on nearby objects and furniture. If you use distilled water white dust is not produced. If you choose to use tap water you can use  our FLTDC Humidifier Decalcification Filter to prevent white dust from being created.

Additionally if you tank is not clean, pathogens growing in the reservoir can be expelled into the air. Guardian Technologies PureguardianUltrasonic humidifiers utilize Silver CleanTechnology to fight the growth of mold and mildew on the surface of the water tank.

Warm-Mist:
These humidifiers tend to be the least expensive. They work by boiling water which produces steam. The steam is then cooled slightly before being released in to the air. Warm-mist tabletop units are quieter than the evaporative type of humidifiers, but they are also more costly to operate.

Warm-mist humidifiers can also raise the air temperature in a room which is nice in the winter but not so wonderful if you live in a warm location. If you have small children, using a warm-mist humidifier is not recommended because the heated water can cause accidental scalding. They are also not recommended if anyone in your house suffers from asthma due to the warm mist causing irritation to the airways.

Vaporizer:
A vaporizer boils water which then releases steam and moisture into the air. A medicated inhalant can also be added to the vaporizer to help diminish coughing spells. Vaporizers tend to be healthier to use than cool mist humidifiers because the steam is less likely to deliver impurities or microorganisms from the water in the holding tank. Boiling water requires a lot more energy than other methods.

 
Impeller:
Impeller types of humidifiers, also called cool mist humidifiers, use a spinning disk to deliver water into a diffuser which then breaks the water into droplets that float into the air. Along with the water, they can also send microorganisms and dissolved minerals into the air which can settle as white dust onto surrounding household items. To prevent this it’ s recommended to fill them with distilled water which adds substantially to the cost of operating the humidifier.

Evaporative:
Evaporative humidifiers operate by soaking water up into a wick and expelling the moisture out with a fan. Large console humidifier models all make up this type. Small evaporative humidifiers are inexpensive and their filters assist in keeping microorganisms and minerals in the water from being sent into the air. However, it’ s very important to clean them regularly and have their filters changed when recommended. The evaporative humidifier is the most common one on the market. They are also called cool mist or wick humidifiers.

Evaporative humidifiers have 3 basic parts, the wick, the water reservoir and the fan. The wick is a filter that soaks up water from the reservoir and gives it a larger surface area for it to evaporate from. The fan is next to the wick and blows air onto it to help with the water evaporation.

The water evaporates based on the relative humidity of the room. A room with low humidity will allow water to evaporate more quickly compared to a room which has high humidity. Therefore, this type of humidifier regulates itself. As the humidity of the room goes up, the water vapor goes down.

The wicks or filters become moldy if they are not dried out between reservoir fillings. They also can become filled with mineral deposits over time. The filters need regular rinsing or replacement. If this isn’ t done, air cannot pass through the wick and the humidifier stops humidifying the area. You’ ll know the humidifier is not operating properly by the water remaining at the same level in the tank.