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

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Humidifier vs Dehumidifier What’s The Difference

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. It can lead to asthma or allergies if it is too dry or moist. You may also notice your skin cracked or bleeding without any other reason.

The goal is to achieve the correct 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%, it may lead to bacterial growth.

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

Related: Best Dehumidifier for Bedroom – 6 Desiccant & Compressor Models

What Is A Humidifier?

What Is A Dehumidifier

A humidifier is needed 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: 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 use a fan, a spinning disc, or a vibrating plate called a diaphragm to release water in different forms (steam, droplets, or water vapor) and are expelled into the air. One cool-mist humidifier, the evaporator, does not just improve the RH but also cools the air. 

On the other hand, steam vaporizers are devices plugged in and boil the water in a built-in container. The boiling water is released as steam, although it cools 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.

Related: What Size Dehumidifier Do I Need – Consider These Factors

What Is A Dehumidifier?

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A dehumidifier is precisely the opposite, which means removing moisture from the air instead of adding moisture. If you have a problem with high humidity, you can use this device to make indoor air drier. Without it, it won’t be easy 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.

Related: Air Purifier vs. Dehumidifier – Key Differences & Types

Benefits Of A Humidifier

Dry air makes allergy and asthma symptoms much worse, 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 can carry viruses or bacteria if you do not clean the humidifier regularly or thoroughly. But it is not recommended for kids or pets because of the risk of burns when water in your steam vaporizer gets spilled.

Benefits Of A Dehumidifier

Not every home needs a dehumidifier unless you live in a humid climate or have 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 constrict the airways due to nerve responses. 

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

Which One Do You Really Need?

Which One Do You Really Need

You may need not just one but both of these devices. It depends not just on the outdoor climate but also on the conditions of the house. For example, the humidity may be much higher in the kitchen and the basement. 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 suitable 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.

The humidifier also helps moisturize the nasal passages and airways when you have a cold. 

  • Asthma

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

  • 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 mold in your house, this signifies 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 can monitor the humidity levels in your home, you will know whether to buy a humidifier or a dehumidifier. Having one of each may make sense so you can always have the optimal humidity. In turn, this will be good for your health and home.

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