September 25, 2018
Once we turn on the furnaces in our Colorado homes, the moisture in the air is reduced by at least 10 percent which leads to a host of discomfort-causing problems. At a mile-high, everything dries out – our skin, our nasal passages, our wood furniture – even musical instruments! Some health experts contend that dry air in winter also dries out gooey mucus and makes us more susceptible to viruses.
If you’d like to infuse your living space with more humidity, for your health and comfort and the longevity of your belongings, here are some quick tips about humidifiers so you can decide for yourself if one is right for you.
The Ideal Environment
Ideally, the humidity in your home should be between 30 and 50 percent, according to HVAC.com. This can be hard to accomplish once we turn on the heat in the winter, so many people turn to humidifiers, either portable or the whole-home variety to keep a reasonable amount of moisture in the air. But with concerns about mold, mineral dust and bacteria, a humidifier might cause as many problems as it fixes, so read on!
Thirty years ago, ultrasonic humidifiers became popular because they’re cheap, quiet and energy-efficient. These humidifiers work by turning water into a fine mist by generating a high-frequency vibration. But if there’s anything in the water like bacteria, chemicals, minerals or mold, those become part of the mist and can be emitted and find their way into your lungs.
The safest way to use an ultrasonic humidifier is with distilled water which has less impurities. The unit should be cleaned frequently with soap and water and the experts say do NOT add essential oils or vapor rubs. It’s best to leave doors open rather than use in an enclosed space and to keep an eye out for white dust. White dust is a sign that the minerals in the water have been floating around in the air and you may be breathing them in!
Steam-based humidifiers are the oldest type of humidifier and work by heating water to boiling and infusing the air with steam. These are very hygienic, but they get hot and can be a hazard if left unattended, especially overnight, in a child’s room
Evaporative humidifiers are inexpensive and run room-temperature water through a wet wick that evaporates it into the air. Consumer Reports found that this type of humidifier does NOT emit bacteria or minerals, although the filters get dirty fast and need to be changed often.
Whole-house humidifiers work with a home’s heating and cooling systems to add moisture to the air as it circulates. They are installed between the supply and return air ducts and become either part of the HVAC system or work independently to add moisture. The types of whole-home humidifiers include bypass, fan-powered, and steam humidifiers.
The units themselves run a few hundred dollars, with labor between $100 and $300. Most homeowners spend between $475 and $700 on a whole-home humidifier installation, although lots of do-it-yourselfers claim this is an easy task, even for a novice.
Frank Doherty at A & A Mechanical sells, installs and services humidifiers throughout metro-Denver and prefers bypass humidifiers with regular maintenance. “It’s what I have in my house and if the filters are cleaned every three to six months the water stays free-flowing,” he says. “With the fan on continuously, the air is blowing through water that cascades over the filter and that keeps your house humidified.”
For more information, check out the latest humidifier buying guide at Business Insider.
Winter’s Coming to Southshore!
It’s not here yet, but winter is coming to the master-planned community of Southshore and the changing seasons make living lakeside super special. Tour one of the spectacular models from Toll Brothers, Richmond American Homes or Century Communities, top home builders offering ranch and two-story designs. It’s life at the lake, priced between the upper $300s and the $700s.