Cool vs. Warm Mist Humidifiers

Both cool mist and warm mist humidifiers will add needed moisture to any environment. The main difference between a cool humidifier and a warm humidifier is the type of mist that is released. Both cool and warm humidifiers have pros and cons that should be weighed prior to purchase.

Cool Mist Humidifiers

Generally, cool mist humidifiers trap air particles with the help of a filter. Once impurities have been trapped, a cool humidifier will release a cold mist into the air. Cool mist humidifiers include evaporative, impeller, and ultrasonic models.

Here are some reasons why you may want to consider a cool-mist humidifier:

Cool air can be easier to breathe.

Cool mists are refreshing.

Cool mist filters are easy to clean.

Some people prefer a warm mist humidifier based upon these cool mist cons:

Cool mist humidifiers can be noisy depending upon the model chosen.

The mist released by a cool humidifier can feel damp to some people.

Mold can grow inside of these humidifiers if they are not cleaned properly.

Warm Mist Humidifiers

As with cool mist humidifiers, warm mist humidifiers also add a good amount of humidity to the air inside of a home. Warm mist humidifiers include vaporizer and steam models. Here are some of the reasons why many people prefer warm mist humidifiers:

Some models include a medicine holder.

Warm mist humidifiers help to clear up congestion due to cold and flu.

These humidifiers tend to be quieter than cool mist machines.

The warm mist adds warmth to rooms during cooler months.

Warm mist humidifier cons include:

Warm mists can make a room feel damp.

The steam that is too hot can be a hazard – it is important to keep children away from these machines.

Warm mist humidifiers do not add moisture to large rooms efficiently (these humidifiers are best reserved for smaller spaces).

How to Choose a Humidifier

Choosing between a cool-mist humidifier and a warm mist humidifier is largely a matter of personal choice. If the thought of a cool-mist entering your air space seems like a refreshing idea, then you may want to consider a cool-mist humidifier. Also, think about purchasing cool mist humidifier if you want to add humidity to a large space since these machines are best suited to wide-open spaces.

Warm mist humidifiers are an excellent choice if you live in a cooler climate. A warm mist will provide needed warmth while also allowing you to combat any kind of cold, flu, or allergen. Carefully considering the pros and cons of each type of humidifier is a wise idea. Think about the climate you live in, how big your home is, and the type of mist that seems to suit your needs best prior to purchasing any humidifier.

Home Humidifier Glossary and Terms

When shopping for a home humidifier, all the industry terminology and specifications are enough to make your head spin. But don’t tune these important terms out—choosing the right home humidifier for your needs depends on your understanding of what all of that vocabulary means. Refer to this page for a list of commonly used home humidifier terms.

Allergens – Airborne allergens, such as dust mites, mold, mildew, pollen, pet dander, and other substances, can exacerbate asthma symptoms or cause respiratory problems. Some types of humidifiers disperse more airborne allergens than others.

Automatic Shutoff – Humidifiers with automatic shutoff features will cease operation when the water level is low. Running a humidifier without water can damage it.

Demineralization Cartridge – A demineralization cartridge helps to prevent mineral build-up, scaling and dispersal of “white dust” in certain types of home humidifiers. These must be replaced occasionally.

Drum Humidifier – Drum humidifiers are a type of whole house humidifier that use a water reservoir with a rotating drum to disperse moist air throughout the home.

Flow-through Humidifier – In a flow-through system, forced air flows through a moistened pad to disperse humid air throughout the home.

Gallons Per Day – gallons per day (GPD) is the measured output of moisture a unit produces. The more GPD, the more moisture it places in the air. This measurement is often higher than the reservoir capacity.

Hard Water – Hard water is a term that refers to water with high mineral content and other impurities. Hard water leads to mineral buildup and scaling which can clog or damage humidifier systems.

Humidistat – A humidistat, like a thermostat, allows you to control the humidity level in a room.

Hygrometer – A device that measures the humidity in your home.

Impeller Humidifier – An impeller humidifier is a type of portable humidifier that uses a

spinning disk to create water vapor. Some impellers are notorious for dispersing “white dust.”

Output Area – The output area refers to the size of the room that a humidifier is suitable for. In most cases, you should get a humidifier with a large stated output area than your intended room size.

Relative Humidity – Relative humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air and is the measure most often referred to when discussing climate control and comfort level. Optimal relative humidity for buildings and homes is between 30 and 50 percent.

Reservoir – The reservoir is the tank from which a humidifier draws water. These must be refilled periodically.

Spray Mist Humidifier – Spray mist humidifiers are a central system that sprays water vapor directly into the forced air stream.

Steam Humidifier – Steam humidifiers work by boiling water into vapor. These are effective

for preventing bacterial growth.

Ultrasonic Humidifier – Ultrasonic humidifiers use sound waves to turn water into vapor.

Ultraviolet – Ultraviolet lights are sometimes used to destroy bacteria in standing water.

Vaporizer – A vaporizer is similar to a steam humidifier, in that it boils the water to turn it into vapor.

White Dust – White dust is a mixture of mineral deposits and microorganisms that appears with the use of some humidifiers. The particulate matter is dispersed via the water vapor and settles on flat surfaces. White dust may be harmful to your health.

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