Are you using a humidifier, or considering one? Then you should read this.
A humidifier adds moisture to the air, and is especially useful during cold weather months when the air is naturally drier. They can help relieve dryness in your throat and nose, and ease problems with dry skin and chapped lips.
If you’re adding too much moisture to the air, however, you’ll end up causing condensation wherever there’s a temperature change, such as on windows, ceilings, and outside walls. As the moisture builds up, it can lead to mold and mildew, which are major triggers of respiratory illness.
Excessive moisture can also be an invitation for dust mites to grow. These little creatures exacerbate allergic reactions to household dust and molds. Check surfaces for condensation and wipe it off with a towel if necessary; also make sure carpets, drapes and bedding aren’t getting damp.
The best way to monitor the humidity in your home is with a humidity monitor, called a “hygrometer.” You can get them in most hardware stores; they can also be found online. Some humidifiers come with a built-in hygrometer. A humidity level between 35 percent and 50 percent is ideal.
Experts say it doesn’t really matter what type of humidifier you use — ultrasonic, steam, or cool mist — but you may want to consider cool mist if it will be used around small children, to avoid accidental burns. You might even want to consider a whole-house humidifier, which is hooked up to your HVAC unit.
One important thing to remember is to keep the humidifier clean. According to the EPA, portable humidifiers should be cleaned every three days, following the manufacturer’s instructions. You should also change the water in the tank daily, and rinsing it out before refilling. This will help to keep bacteria and mold from growing in the water.
To learn more about humidifiers, click here.