humidifier in your home is essential in order to maintain
environmental control of allergens. Dry air may bring on or
exacerbate eczema, may lead to itchy or inflamed mucous membranes,
and can dry out allergens which makes them more easily airborne and
more readily inhaled.
Considering the following five questions before investing in a humidifier
will ensure that your purchase is not only suited to your specific
needs, but that it will run as efficiently and safely as possible.
Should I get a warm mist or cool mist humidifier?
In terms of humidifying the air in your home, there really is no difference between warm mist humidifiers and
mist humidifiers. However, there are specific differences that
may make either a warm mist or a cool mist unit ideal for your
- Warm mist humidifiers may be especially soothing for those
who have a cold or the flu.
- Warm mist humidifiers offer germicidal protection by boiling
the water before it is released into the air.
- The boiling water and steam emitted by warm mist humidifiers
could potentially be dangerous if young children are around.
- Warm mist can help make the cold air in your home feel
warmer (although humidification in general, whether through warm
mist or cool mist, will help make your home feel warmer).
- Cool mist humidifiers are easier to keep clean.
- Cool mist humidifiers are generally louder than warm mist
If you cannot decide between warm mist and cool mist
humidification, there are a few units that allow you the option,
including most Air O Swiss and Germ Guardian humidifier models. Enjoy the best of
both worlds with these units that enable you to select either warm
mist or cool mist humidification.
What type of humidifier should I get?
There are a few different ways that humidifiers propel moist air
into your home environment. These various functions translate to
different maintenance requirements for you. Before purchasing a
unit, it's good to know how your unit works so that you understand
how best to care for it and keep it working at peak performance.
Here's a brief breakdown of humidifier types:
- Impeller humidifiers - Constantly rotating discs break water into ultra fine droplets. Impeller
humidifiers release cool mist into the air. The
Air-O-Swiss Air Washer and Humidifier turns its rotating
discs into "air washing" features through its ionizing
- Evaporative humidifiers - These use a fan blowing
over a wet wick to release moisture into the air. These are
generally loud and potentially dangerous because of the breeding
ground for germs they provide. However, our
Air-O-Swiss E2441 is an exception in both these areas. The
unit is nearly silent and has a Hydro Stick to help keep the water clean.
- Warm mist humidifiers - As mentioned above, warm mist
humidifiers boil the water which is then emitted as steam.
- Ultrasonic humidifiers - High frequency vibrations in
ultrasonic humidifiers spray a cool mist fog into the area.
Conveniently, the vibrations used by
ultrasonic humidifiers kill most microbes.
What germicidal measures should my humidifier have?
If not properly maintained, humidifiers can actually cause more
problems than they solve. Standing water can breed bacteria and mold
which is then spewed into the air and inhaled. Thus, humidifiers
need to be emptied and cleaned consistently. But improper cleaning
in itself can also pose health hazards. When harsh chemicals such as
bleach are used to clean the unit, the chemicals can become airborne
Due to the possible risk and the high-maintenance nature of
humidifiers, manufacturers have taken measures to provide germicidal
protection. (Note: These measures do not replace the need for
Some germ fighting options include:
- Silver Sticks or Cubes and Carbon Filters -
Air-O-Swiss humidifiers now use their included
Hydro Cell (a carbon filter) to help keep water clean. While Pure Guardian
used integrated silver ions in the tank and Stadler Form, the more traditional Silver ion Cube.
- UV light - Kills microbes safely and effectively, but
requires the replacement of bulbs.
- Ultrasonic vibration - Kills germs at the same time
as water is "shaken" into tiny droplets.
- Boiling - Warm mist humidifiers kill germs by boiling
water before it is released into the air as steam.
- Combination - Several units include more than one
germicidal feature to provide you with added peace of mind.
How many humidifying units will you purchase?
Given the many benefits of home humidification - keeping your
home's paint, wood, and furniture from drying out; offering natural
relief from cold and flu symptoms; soothing irritated sinuses; and
lowering heating costs by making the air feel warmer - you may
decide to purchase multiple units.
For instance, if you have young children, you know first-hand how
many colds they pick up during the colder months - and you know how
miserable it is for them (and you) to get up in the middle of the
night to tend to stuffy noses. Furthermore, given the FDA's
recommendation not to give children under two years of age cough
medicine or other over-the-counter cold medication, natural relief
is more important than ever. Humidifiers placed in children's rooms
offer significant nap-time and night-time relief.
The same goes for sick adults. Enjoy the benefits of night-time
relief and the good night's sleep you require through humidification
in the bedroom. Some units even feature a medicine cup for adding
vaporizing cold medications.
If you're interested in cutting down on heating bills, you may
consider humidifying units for other areas of your home as well.
Adding moisture to the air - up to a certain level - helps the air
feel warmer and lessens the need to turn that thermostat up.
What capacity should my humidifier have?
Deciding what type of capacity you want your unit to have is not
as daunting as, say, deciding the same for an air purifier.
Basically, the larger the capacity of your humidifier, the less
often you will have to refill it. However, this must be balanced
against considerations such as how easy or hard the unit is to
refill, how much space you have for your unit, and how heavy the
unit will be if you have to carry it to the bathroom or kitchen to
refill. Many of our largest capacity humidifiers hold almost two gallons of water and can literally run for days without needing to be refilled. Our smallest unit, the portable
Germ Guardian Table Top Humidifier holds slightly less than a
quarter of a gallon.
For more help choosing the right humidifier, see our
Humidifier Buying Guide or call one of our experienced and
friendly customer service representatives at 1-800-339-7123.