by Angela Tague
If static cling and dry skin are a problem in your home, you may need a humidifier. Household humidifiers add water vapor to the air, reducing static electricity and increasing moisture in your skin. Wood doors, flooring, peeling wallpaper and molding are also rehydrated. In addition, moisture emitted from a humidifier can soothe dry, scratchy throats and irritated nasal passages.
Styles: Console, portable and central humidifiers are the three main styles available for home use. Console-style humidifiers are encased in a furniture-like cabinet. Generally large and sometimes somewhat cumbersome, console humidifiers are placed on the floor in a central location, such as the living room or recreation area. Portable humidifiers are much smaller than console humidifiers. They are designed to be moved around the home as needed, and they rest easily on a tabletop. Central humidifiers are built into the home's heating and air conditioner system to humidify the entire home.
Types: Within the above style categories, four types of humidifiers exist: Impeller humidifiers use a high-speed rotating disc to create a cool mist of water vapor. Ultrasonic humidifiers use ultrasonic sound vibrations to add moisture to the air. Steam vaporizer humidifiers heat water, and then emit warm or cooled water vapor into the air. Finally, evaporative humidifiers add water to the air by blowing air through a moistened material that emits water vapor into the room.
Water: The use of tap water in humidifiers can be messy. A white dust from mineral deposits in the water may become apparent in the home. Use distilled water instead for less mineral buildup, scale and residue in the humidifier and in the home.
Cleaning: To reduce the spread of microorganisms, clean humidifiers daily. Unplug the unit and completely empty all water reservoirs, rinse and dry. Use a scrub brush as needed to remove any scale or mineral deposits in the humidifier.
Microorganisms can be dispersed into the air with the use of some humidifiers according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Ultrasonic and impeller styles are most likely to disperse minerals from water into the air. If you have a sensitive respiratory system, consult your physician before using a humidifier.