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10 Things You Need to Know About Humidifiers

When humidity in your home is low, the dry air can affect everything from your skin and hair to your wood furniture and flooring. Humidifiers can be a great way to maintain a healthy humidity level, but there are some things you need to know before purchasing one.

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Consider Where You Need the Humidity

Is just one room in your home in need of more humidity or could your entire home benefit? A small humidifier can work in a bedroom, while a whole-house humidifier can deliver moisture to a large space.
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Warm or Cool Mist?

Warm-mist humidifiers have an element that will heat the water and release it as warm moisture. Since these humidifiers have a heating element, be especially careful to keep them away from children and pets. Cool-mist humidifiers create a room-temperature mist. Warm models often use a little more electricity since they need to heat the water. Ultrasonic humidifiers can deliver both warm and cool mists.
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Think About Style

Tabletop humidifiers can sit atop a desk or dresser, while console humidifiers sit on the floor. Many tabletop humidifiers come in sleek or fun designs.
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What About Noise?

Humidifiers do make some noise. If you'll use your humidifier in the bedroom, consider an ultrasonic model which creates a soft, soothing sound and is quieter than other tabletop models.
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Consider Maintenance

No matter what type of humidifier you use, there will be some maintenance required. The main thing is to keep the water tank clean to avoid mold and mildew, which can impact your home's air quality. Each day, drain and rinse the reservoir. Once a week, remove any residue and disinfect, following the manufacturer's instructions.
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There is Such a Thing as Too Much Humidity

While dry air can affect your health, create static electricity and cause some damage to your home, furniture and fixtures, high humidity levels can cause problems as well. Too much humidity can lead to mold growth and window condensation. Indoor humidity should be at a level of 30 to 50 percent.
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Think Timers

Many humidifiers have a built-in timer. This allows you to set the humidifier to turn on at a set time so the room has the right level of humidity when you get home.
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Function Over Style

While some humidifiers may look better with your home's decor than others, keep in mind that the model should fit your needs and deliver on function. Stay focused on models that best suit your humidity needs, not just your decorating style.
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Find a User-Friendly Model

If you'll be using a tabletop humidifier, choose one that is easy to clean and move. All humidifiers should have clear display settings that are easy to see and simple to understand.
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Humidistat Models

Some humidifiers have a humidistat that will cause the unit to shut off when the humidity reaches a certain, preset level. This can come in handy if you plan to leave the humidifier on when you're not in the room.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.