During hot seasons, indoors often becomes heated which may have health effects such as respiratory distress due to lining of the throat and nose drying out. Furniture made out of wood, artworks or even books may shrink when the humidity is low. Semiconductor devices may end up being destroyed with dust sticking on surface that is electrically charged. A humidifier device in this case comes in handy as it increases moisture in a room or an entire building.
A single room is humidified by use of a point-of-use humidifier while furnace or whole-house humidifiers often connected to home’s HVAC system is used to humidify the whole house. They are also used in hospitals for comfort of patients and in commercial buildings. Overusing a humidifier however may cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis and growth of mold which is not good for one’s health.
Uses of a humidifier
It is a moisturizing agent which relieves:
- -dry skin
- -dry cough
- -cracked lips
- -dry throat
- -bloody nose and irritation
Types of humidifiers
Used to maintain the level of humidity in order to prevent building up of static electricity, preserving material properties and making sure that the working environment for the employees is healthy and comfortable.
Suitable for industries who deals in papers, textiles, pharmaceuticals and electronics, semiconductors and in operating rooms in hospitals. Also keeps food fresh in cold rooms.
They are available in various forms with some being small that can be placed on the table and others which are large being mounted on the floor. The unit is usually filled manually with water. It consists:
- a) Evaporative humidifier-has a wick, reservoir and a fan. Water from the reservoir is absorbed by the wick which air is then blown to it by the fan. If the humidity is low then evaporation rate will be higher and vice versa. Wicks should be well dried to prevent growth of molds.
- b) Natural humidifiers-only uses a wick and a reservoir. Water is partially filled in a stainless bowl then covered with a towel which sinks into the bowl hence requiring no fan. The bowl is easy to clean and cleaning the towel prevents molds.
- c) Vaporizers-heats water releasing moisture into the air. To reduce coughs a medical inhalant may be added to steam vapor. Considered to be healthier since it does not convey any impurities.
- d) Ultrasonic humidifier-Has a ceramic diaphragm which vibrates at ultrasonic frequency creating droplets of water which leaves in form of cool fog or forced out by a fan. The water droplets always contain impurities and should therefore be cleaned regularly.
- e) Impeller humidifier-contains a rotating disc that flings water at a diffuser breaking it into droplets that can float into air. Always keep supply of water clean. They are noisier as compared to others.
They can be installed into a furnace if in case the furnace is air-forced and in protecting materials sensitive to dry air such as wooden objects. Saves energy during cold season
✔ Drum style-has a pipe that takes water to the reservoir in the furnace. A float valve controls the water level. A foam pad is mounted into the wick where hot air enters into the drum and exits .Always turn off during summer.
-Easy to maintain.
-It must be cleaned frequently.
-Mold usually grows when the pan is fully filled.
-Even when humidification is not required water will always evaporate.
✔ Disc wheels-Has no foam drumming but rather plastic discs with groves on both sides which provides a larger surface for evaporation. It requires no regular replacement
-Easy to maintain.
-It does not require regular replacement of its parts.
-The large evaporation surface gives high results.
-Incase of hard water, it can be installed.
-They are expensive.
-Humidification takes place even when not needed.
✔ Bypass flow-through
Water is directly taken to a valve controlled by electricity. Air passes through an aluminum making water to evaporate.
-Cost of maintenance is low.
-Little electricity is required.
-Air filters which are often expensive are not required.
-They are expensive.
-Failure of evaporating water being supplied to the unit.
-Replacement biscuits are hard to find.
✔ Spray mist
Uses a small plastic pipe to take water to a valve controlled by electricity which breaks it into drops. Air flow carries the mist to the premises.
-Simple to install.
-Less electricity required.
-Moisture pads are not required.
-Easy to maintain.
-Uses water very efficiently.
-Incase of hard water, spray nozzle may be clogged.
-Minerals may be dispersed into the airstream.
Risks associated with humidifiers
-They may cause burns therefore make sure to keep it away from your children.
-The walls may be condensed if left to expel much moisture.
-Failure to clean them breeds bacteria which leads to catching cold and coughs.
-Minerals and microorganisms may be emitted which may not be good for asthmatic people.
Features to look for in a humidifier
Ease to use-A tabletop humidifier must be easy to move and the tank should fit easily. For evaporative models its wick must be easy to replace and economical at the same time. Controls must be user-friendly and settings and humidity level must be well displayed.
Easy to clean
It should always be easy to clean to ensure it properly functioning and to ensure that the air released is safe for breathing.
This will enable it turn on or off at the set time. Failure to dry the humidifier well may lead to microbes breeding since water at the tank sits for many hours.
This shuts the humidifier when the preset level is reached. Lack of this may lead to wall condensation due to increased humidity.
Type of humidifier
This may be warm, cool or a dual which is more convenient. Buying a cool mist is safe if you have children.
It may be evaporative or ultrasonic which produces water mist that is much finer. Although an evaporative one is usually cheaper you should consider buying an ultrasonic one since mist is not produced when the water is boiling.
You should consider the available space in the room before purchasing it. Choose one that can be accommodated by the available space.
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