Is A Humidifier Good for Your Home?

Is A Humidifier Good for Your Home

One of the best things I did for my skin (and my home!) this winter was to purchase several humidifiers for my home. Even in Charleston (where summers are so humid!), the air in my home gets so dry when the heat is on in the winter months. I felt it in my skin, my sinuses, etc. My plants were also really drying out; I found myself needing to water them every day.

When I lived in Brooklyn, I was really good about using a humidifier. I even wrote this post a few years back about the benefits of using a humidifier (still worth a read!). When I moved to Charleston, I didn’t think I would need a humidifier anymore. I was wrong! My house gets really dry in the winter and something I just learned is that air conditioning also removes moisture from the air. So I am planning to use mine year round, even when the AC is cranked. Good to know, huh?

If you are not familiar, humidifiers work by adding moisture to the air. Usually there is some sort of water tank that needs to be filled every day, and then they work to add moisture to the air by creating a water vapor. There are a lot of different types of humidifiers (for example the Canopy one is a bit different because there is no mist). I cannot recommend investing in one (or more — I have three!). There are so many great benefits.

Types of humidifiers:

I personally have two different types of humidifiers. Downstairs, I have two of this cool mist humdidifier from Levoit. I like this one a lot as it is affordable, easy to clean, and really effective. Upstairs on my nightstand, I have the Canopy humidifier. This was recommended by so many readers and is definitely the buzzier brand right now but if I am being honest I like it the least as it is a little bit loud. If you need a bit of white noise to fall asleep, you’ll love this! I have found it manageable on the lowest setting but wanted to give that warning. I still like it, I just wish that it was more quiet. It’s also a lot more expensive. If I were doing it again, I’d skip the Canopy and just buy three of the Levoit.

A little primer!
  • Cool mist humidifiers are (I think) the most popular. That is what I have. Cool mist humidifiers work either by using a fan to evaporate water that’s been pulled up into a wick or by using ultrasonic vibration (more on that below) to break water into small particles and disperse them into the air. These are great for warm environments as they will raise the room’s humidity level but not its temperature.
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers use a metal or ceramic “diaphragm” to produce mist. The diaphragm vibrates against the water, creating droplets that are blown out into your room as a fine mist.
  • Impeller humidifiers have a disk made of small blades. The disk spins at high speed, making water droplets. The blades move the water through a mesh screen where the water is broken up and then pushed out through a nozzle, into the air.
  • Warm mist humidifiers are interesting as they don’t have internal fans. The heating process creates enough energy to push the moisture out of the device. Most warm mist humidifiers have an internal heating element that boils water inside the humidifier which creates steam that is released out of the device. These are nice when it’s cold as they will also help to warm up the room.
  • A central humidifier is the fanciest option and something you’d have to have professionally installed. When the indoor humidity level drops below a certain level, the whole house humidifier kicks on and adds moisture to the air, which is then pushed out by the blower fan, into the ductwork and finally dispersed throughout your home. It’s worth considering for the long term.

is a humidifier good for your home?

Benefits of a humidifier at home

  • It’s good for your skin! Humidifiers are dermatologist recommended, especially if you have dry skin.
  • It helps to combat cough and congestion. Same for allergies and asthma. I have noticed that my throat can get really dry at night… running a humidifier definitely helps this.
  • They are good for your wood floors. Dry air can actually damage your furniture and wood floors! If the air is too dry, wood can crack. Because of that, using a humidifier on the reg can regulate moisture levels and keep furniture, floors, and doors looking their best.
  • They are great for plants. My third humidifier lives in the dining room, adjacent to my credenza (where I keep most of my house plants). They love the humidifier. I have noticed that

how to use a humidifier

clean it every week or so!

This probably the most annoying part. Your humidifier will come with cleaning instructions (they are all a little bit different) but it’s generally pretty easy. I will unplug mine and rinse it out. I will gently scrub it with an old toothbrush, check on the filter to see if it needs replacing, and then plug back in. Once a month or so I will do a deeper clean with distilled white vinegar. One advantage of the Canopy humidifier is that it can be washed in the dishwasher.

change filters as necessary.

This is important. The filters help to remove minerals and impurities from the water before it evaporates. You will want to replace the filter every 30-60 days, depending on how frequently you use it!

keep it away from wallpaper.

Overall, running a humidifier is very good for your home (especially your wood floors) and your wallpaper as dry air can cause peeling and cracking. But it’s a balance as excess humidity levels can also damage wallpaper, causing it to wrinkle or bubble. Just to be safe, when I am running mine I keep it pulled out a few feet away from the wall to make sure it won’t affect my wallpaper!

keep a smaller one on your night stand.

(Or right next to your bed!) This was a game changer for me. I have the Canopy humidifier on my nightstand (this one has a more petite footprint). This has made a big difference in the quality of my sleep and breathing, as well as dry skin. If you (or your partner) snore, it can also help with that. There is also a lot of research around sleep apnea and humidifiers. A humidifier can help to drastically reduce the dryness and discomfort that a lot of people living with sleep apnea routinely experience.

keep them full + change water regularly.

I have a nice little flow where every morning, I feed the cats, water my plants, and change the water in my two downstairs humidifiers. It’s part of my routine. And before bedtime, I change the water in my nightstand humidifier. I find that making filling them a part of my routine makes it a habit and I rarely forget now. If you are traveling and won’t be using the humidifier for more than three days, give it a good cleaning and let it dry.

Use distilled water if you can.

Admittedly, I do not do this (I just use regular old tap water and haven’t had any problems!) but it is recommended if you can. I think this is a bit unrealistic for most people but the instruction manuals always suggest it. (Your filters will last longer and you’ll probably be able to clean it less frequently, if you do this!).

track humidity levels.

I personally tend to go by feel (Does my skin feel dry? crank it up! Are the plants looking sad? Same!). But something you can do is purchase a hygrometer or indoor humidity monitor. This measures the amount of moisture in the air and will show your indoor humidity levels relative to the indoor room temperature. You don’t want your home to become too humid. The recommended amount is between 40-50% for a variety of reasons, but especially dust mites. If it gets to humid, you’ll create the perfect environment for dust mites to live and prosper.

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  1. Jordan:

    Just a silly side note about placement, if you have a gas stove and have one near your kitchen, it can make the igniters damp and cause them to click randomly! We had issues for months, but couldn’t figure out why! The oven tech told me it was wet from cleaning, but after we moved the humidifier the clicking stopped haha!

    2.28.24 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      Oh wow! So wild! Thanks for sharing!!

      2.28.24 Reply
      • Mayra:

        Wow, thanks for all this info, great material!

        3.5.24 Reply
  2. MK:

    Where is the robot cabinet from? Obsessed!

    2.28.24 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      It is a replica of Borghesani’s robot bar from 1969!

      2.28.24 Reply
  3. Doug Burton:

    thanks for the advise

    3.7.24 Reply
  4. Lawrence horowitz:

    In the summer in North Carolina I use a dehumidifier. Yes AC reduces humidity but when the outdoors humidity is in the 90’s your house will be too humid. Most experts recommend 30-60% although I think 50-60 is most comfortable. If u use humidifier in summer u will be too humid in house and get mold and duffficilty in breathing.

    3.11.24 Reply