How to Choose the Best Humidifier for Your Home

Winters in Alberta are long and dry. Very dry, and dry air can cause us to be uncomfortable, itchy and irritated, and even pose risks to our health. Using a humidifier to replace some moisture back into the air is an easy way to relieve many different physical discomforts associated with things like:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Irritated sinuses or nosebleeds
  • Itchy, dry skin or chapped lips
  • Sore throats
  • Respiratory Problems

Humidity is important for both our health and our comfort, but it’s important to find the right balance of moisture in the air. Generally speaking, humidity levels of about 30 – 50% are going to be the most comfortable and healthy. However, too much moisture in the air can encourage things like dust mites, furniture damage, or even mould growth. Our experts at Canuck Plumbing and Heating will gladly help you find the right humidifier for your specific needs.

What are the Different Types of Humidifiers?

Basically, humidifiers can be divided into two main types: Cool Mist and Warm Mist Humidifiers. Choosing between the different types is mostly just a matter of personal preference since all the different models have both advantages and drawbacks.

Warm Mist humidifiers use a heating element to bring water to a boil, creating steam. Steam is an excellent way to increase the humidity in the air, but it also increases the temperature of the room and can pose burning risks. If you have small children, you’ll want to make sure they’re constantly supervised near Warm Mist humidifiers.

Cool Mist humidifiers are able to increase humidity without the use of steam, and they come in both Evaporative and Ultrasonic models. Evaporative models use a fan to blow air over a moistened wick, which causes the water to evaporate into the air. Over time, the wicks can become coated in mineral deposits or even mould, and need to be changed regularly at a cost of about $10 each.

Ultrasonic humidifiers use a ceramic diaphragm vibrating at ultrasonic frequencies in order to create tiny water droplets that forms into a cool mist or fog. Ultrasonic models are often some of the quietest and most energy efficient humidifiers; however, they have a tendency to coat nearby surfaces in a fine white dust caused by the minerals in the water. This dust can be difficult to remove, but significantly reduced by using distilled water.

There is also another type of humidifier known as In-Duct humidifiers. These types of humidifiers tap into your home’s existing heating and water systems in order to humidify the entire house. These systems are generally reserved for areas of large square footage. They have a higher initial cost and will require the help of HVAC professional for installation. Call our Canuck Plumbing and Heating professionals to find out if an In-Duct humidifier system is right for you.

Choosing the Proper Sized Humidifier 

Humidifiers have ratings based on the amount of water they disperse, as well as the area of square footage that they cover. Measure the area of the rooms you are trying to humidify to determine the square footage and start from there.

Tabletop/Portable Humidifiers – These models are the smallest and least expensive. They’ll work best in a single small room of less than 500 square feet, like a bedroom or an office, or they’re even great for travelling and using in a hotel room. Tabletop/Portable models are convenient, but their small tanks require frequent refilling, and they vary greatly in noise, energy efficiency, and cost.

Console Humidifiers – These models are bigger than tabletop or portable humidifiers and will work better for slightly larger rooms or apartments. Most console humidifiers have no problem humidifying rooms up to 1000 square feet, with some models being rated for up to 1700 square feet. There are even some extra-large console models than can be used as whole house humidifiers, with ratings up to 2700 square feet. To humidify an area of 3000+ square feet, you’ll probably want to look into an In-Duct humidifier.

Humidifier Features to Consider

Again, choosing between the different models mostly comes down to personal preference and finding the humidifier that best suits your own specific needs. Some of the main features you’ll want to consider are:

Proper SizeThere’s no point in buying a humidifier that’s bigger than necessary. On the other hand, a smaller than recommended sized humidifier may never allow the humidity to reach desired levels. Figure out the size of the rooms you’re trying to humidify and purchase a humidifier that is rated for that particular square footage. Remember, ideal humidity levels are between 30-50%, and humidity higher than 50% can cause problems like furniture damage, and even mould and bacteria growth.

Easy to CleanOne of the most important things you can do for your humidifier is keep it clean, so choosing one that’s easy to maintain is a smart decision. You’ll want to drain, rinse, and dry your humidifier daily, and check all screens or filters at least once a week as bacteria and mould can grow quickly.

ProgrammableSome humidifiers have extra features like timers that turn them on and off at specific times, or humidistats that will adjust the humidity in the room to a constant, preset level. These features can help increase our comfort more consistently, and always maintain our preferred optimal humidity levels.

Price RangeHumidifiers can range in price anywhere from $50 to $300 or more. All humidifiers have their advantages and disadvantages, and you’ll have to make trade-offs regarding noise, efficiency, portability, convenience, or cost.

At Canuck Plumbing and Heating, we’re doing all we can to help improve the comfort and health of our customers in the Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan area, and we can help you find the best humidifier to meet your needs.

6 replies
  1. Nansy
    Nansy says:

    great! excellent, thanks for the article, in principle, I think, here all is described that you need to know in order to be sure that the most you can equip your home with a humidifier on a professional level!

  2. Ann Charles
    Ann Charles says:

    I didn’t know that dry air in my house can cause this much problem. Thanks for all the information you gave in this article. Now I understand why my nose bleeds very often. And now I know what to do about it. I have to control the moisture level in my house by buying a humidifier.


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