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Humidifier vs Dehumidifier: What’s The Difference? (Updated!)

by Lisa Hayden
Humidifier vs Dehumidifier What’s The Difference

In this post we settle the difference between a humidifier vs dehumidifier once and for all...

Do you know what makes for the perfect environment at home? This is not just about having a comfortable temperature with purified air; you also need to consider the humidity of the rooms. If it is too dry or too moist, it can lead to some symptoms like asthma or allergies. You may also notice your skin cracked or bleeding without any other reason.

The goal is to achieve the right percentage of relative humidity (RH), which refers to the amount of water vapor in the air in relation to the temperature. The ideal level is from 30 to 50%. If your place is above 50%, then it may lead to bacterial growth.

The climate normally controls the relative humidity, but thanks to gadgets like the humidifier and dehumidifier, you can do something about the air being either too dry or moist. This can help prevent these uncomfortable symptoms associated with very low or very high humidity. 

What Is A Humidifier?

What Is A Humidifier

A humidifier is what you need if the RH in your place is too dry because it adds extra moisture to increase the humidity. There are 2 main types of humidifiers out there, cool-mist and warm-mist humidifiers (also known as steam vaporizers). Both are effective at adding moisture to the air, and the choice between the 2 depends on your personal preferences, without the need to add any vents like your ac units.

Cool-mist humidifiers make use of a fan, a spinning disc, or a vibrating plate called a diaphragm release water in different forms (either as steam, droplets, or water vapor) are expelled into the air. One kind of cool-mist humidifier, the evaporator, does not just improve the RH, but also cool the air. 

On the other hand, steam vaporizers are devices plugged in and boil the water in the built-in container. The boiling water is released as steam, although it gets a bit cooled down before it gets released into the opening. You can then breathe in the steam. If you suffer from asthma or allergies, you can add inhalants or essential oils that help with these conditions.

What Is A Dehumidifier?

What Is A Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is exactly the opposite, which means instead of adding moisture, it removes it from the air. If you have a problem with high humidity, you can use this device to make indoor air drier. Without it, you will find it difficult to bring the RH down to the recommended 30 to 50%.

It works by taking in warm air through a fan. It gets cooled down using refrigerant, so that warm air gets shrunk down. As it does, the water droplets fall out. All of this water gets stored in the dehumidifier’s tank. What comes out eventually is cooler air.

Benefits Of A Humidifier

Dry air makes allergy and asthma symptoms much worse, plus making you more susceptible to infections in the airway. You may notice problems like sore throat, bronchitis, sinusitis, influenza, cold, and nosebleeds.

Between cool-mist humidifiers and steam vaporizers, the latter is healthier. The water gets boiled, so any bacteria and pathogens are killed before the steam is released. Cool mist, on the other hand, can carry viruses or bacteria if you do not clean the humidifier regularly or thoroughly. But because of the risk of burns when water in your steam vaporizer gets spilled, it is not recommended for kids or pets.

Benefits Of A Dehumidifier

Not every home needs a dehumidifier, unless you live somewhere with a humid climate or if your home has experienced flooding or leaks. When this happens, moist air can lead to mold and dust mites, leading to allergic reactions and asthma episodes. Hot and humid air may also lead to the airways constricting due to nerve responses. 

A dehumidifier is also helpful when you suffer from chronic or seasonal allergies or you have unusually humid air. This also helps against dust mite allergies or when you have pests like spiders. Regular coughing or runny nose can signal the need for a dehumidifier, as well as clothes taking too long to dry in the house. 

Which One Do You Really Need?

Which One Do You Really Need

It is completely possible that you will need not just one, but both of these devices. It depends not just on the outdoor climate, but also the conditions of the house. It is completely possible that the humidity is much higher in the kitchen and the basement, for example. Here are some things you need to consider when deciding which device to buy.

  • Winter Time

Winter air is generally drier, which is why you notice your skin seems flaky during this time. Having a humidifier at this time is not just good for making the home climate more comfortable, but you can reduce issues with viruses. When the air is dry, they get transmitted quicker, which is one of the reasons why tons of people get sick during this time of the year. Beyond keeping you healthy, a humidifier can lead to softer skin and well-preserved wooden furniture.

When you have a cold, the humidifier also helps moisture the nasal passages and airways. 

  • Asthma

Humid air triggers asthma, so when you suffer from this condition, a dehumidifier is a good idea.

  • Basements

This part of the house has higher humidity levels because it is colder and has less exposure to sunlight. The risk is also higher for mold growth in the basement, so a dehumidifier makes sense.

  • Mold

When you notice signs of mold in your house, then this is a sign of higher humidity levels at home. Mold is not just bad for your health, it can also wreak havoc on your home’s floorboards and walls. 

Final Words

humidifier vs dehumidifier differences

Do you want the best environment for your home? Before you purchase a humidifier or dehumidifier, you should invest in a hygrometer first. Put one in different areas of the house, because RH can vary greatly. 

Once you have a way to monitor the humidity levels in your home, then you will know whether to buy a humidifier or a dehumidifier. Having one of each may make sense so that you can always have the optimal humidity at all times. In turn, this will be good for both your health and your home.

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