Do I Need a Humidifier?

I don’t need to tell you that the weather outside is getting colder. It’s fairly obvious. But what about the humidity? Does it go up or down in the winter? The fact is that as the weather gets colder the air gets drier. This could result in some of the following dry-air symptoms: chapped lips; dry sinuses; dry skin; frequent sore throat; nose bleeds; dry, cracking wood furniture; static electricity. Of course using a hygrometer is the best and most authoritative way to measure the humidity level, but these are some common clues that your home needs more moisture.

That’s where humidifiers come into play. But what exactly do they do? How will it help with your nose bleeds and cracking wood furniture? Are they always helpful? And, most importantly, Do you need one?

How do they work?

There are various styles of humidifiers, but they all have the same function: they emit water vapor into a space to increase the humidity level. 

Steam Humidifiers: As the name indicates, they turn water into steam and spray that into the home. This could be a single-room humidifier, or a whole-house humidifier attached to your heating system. 

Fan Powered Humidifiers: These run water over a screen or pad and then the unit’s fan circulates air through it absorbing some of the water as it goes through. If it is a stand-alone humidifier then this air is blown directly into the room. If it is a whole-house humidifier then this moist air is blown into your heating system ductwork and distributed throughout the house. 

Bypass Humidifiers: These also run water over a screen or pad, however they depend on the circulating fan in your heating system to blow air through this and into your home. This style can only be installed as a whole-house system. 

Ultrasonic Humidifiers: These use ultrasonic vibration to produce a mist of moisture that can be blown into your home. This style is most commonly used in portable humidifiers.

How do they help with nose bleeds and cracking wood furniture?

The symptoms and conditions described above are frequently a result of low moisture levels in the air in your home. So when used correctly, humidifiers can help to alleviate dry skin, chapped lips, nose bleeds. It can even help to reduce some snoring! Cracking wood furniture is usually due to shrinkage which happens when wood dries out even more than when you bought it. So putting moisture in the air can also prevent that.

Are they always helpful?

Quite honestly, although humidifiers are extremely useful, even a necessity, they can actually make you sick if they aren't maintained properly. Dirty humidifiers can breed mold and bacteria. And if humidity levels stay too high there is the further problem of mildew and mold growing in your home.

The US Environmental Protection Agency recommends that humidity levels in your home be between 25% and 40% in the winter. So be sure to monitor and control humidity levels and keep your humidifier clean. If you have allergies, asthma, or a sensitivity to mold then we recommend that you talk to your doctor before using a humidifier.

Do I need one?

If you experience several of the conditions we described at the beginning of this post throughout the winter season, then the answer is: Yes. You need a humidifier. For the health of your family and the health of your furniture and wood trim, we recommend that you have a whole-home humidifier installed by a qualified professional. But first do some research so you can make an educated decision about the type of humidifier you want installed. We here at GAMA Air would be happy to visit you in your home and discuss your options. Give us a call at (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to request a visit. We 100% guarantee your satisfaction!

Want to ask us a question about humidifiers? Visit our Ask an Expert page and fill out the form. Our resident expert will respond quickly with an answer.

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