Do I Need a Home Humidifier?

No matter what kind of climate you live in, investing in a home humidifier is a wise idea. Dry air can contribute to sinus troubles, allergies, and itchy skin. If your home is particularly dry, various items (such as musical instruments) inside of your home may also be negatively impacted by dry air.

Humidify For Your Health

Most experts agree that the amount of humidity inside of any home should be between 35 to 50 percent. This ideal temperature can be easily reached with a proper home humidifier. Most homes become too dry during winter months when home heating is in use. Heating your home may provide a comfortable atmosphere, but a home that is too dry may cause health problems.

Dehydration can occur when the air inside of a home does not have an adequate amount of humidity. In addition, people who suffer from asthma or respiratory diseases frequently breathe easier inside a comfortably humid home. Controlling the amount of moisture that exists inside of your house is simple with a home humidifier.

Where Does All the Moisture Go?

Even though avoiding respiratory illnesses is important, there are other reasons why purchasing a home humidifier is a good idea. The furniture inside of a home easily absorbs a fair amount of moisture. Without adding extra moisture to the air, water particles that should be absorbed by the body are, instead, absorbed by inanimate objects. The result of this absorption process is the air that is too dry to breathe.

Lower Your Heating Costs

A home can feel relatively cold even when your heaters are turned on. This occurs due to the fact that dry air simply feels colder than warm air. When you take the time to make sure that the air inside of your home is moist, you will also notice that your home feels warmer. After you have adequately added humidity to your home, your heating costs will decrease.

Signs You Need a Humidifier

The only way to accurately tell if you need to purchase a humidifier is to invest in a hygrometer. This device will read the current humidity level inside your home. If you do not have enough humidity inside of your house, a humidifier will make a large difference. If the air inside of your house feels dry (or if your skin is consistently dry), then you may need a humidifier.

Ideal Temperatures Are Important

While there’s no doubt that the air inside of your home should be relatively humid, it is also important not to add too much humidity. When a home is too humid, bacteria and mold can begin to develop. Thus, it’s a good idea to purchase a humidity reader (many home humidifiers include moisture gauges). Keep in mind that the ideal humidity level inside of a home is between 35 to 50 percent, and your home will become a comfortable haven in no time.

Single Room Humidifiers vs. Whole House Humidifiers

There are two main types of home humidifiers: single room humidifiers and whole-house humidifiers. Both accomplish the same goal: raising the humidity level in your home. However, in terms of form factor, cost, portability and maintenance, whole-house humidifiers and single room humidifiers are very different. Read on to learn some of the key differences between the two types of home humidifiers.

Single Room Humidifiers

Casual consumers are most familiar with single rooms (aka portable or tabletop) humidifiers since they are the most visible. Portable home humidifiers are simple plug-in units that operate much like any other household appliance. They vary greatly in technology, capacity, output, and size, but they all have their own self-contained water reservoirs and are powered by electric outlets.

Pros of Single Room Humidifiers

The obvious advantages of a plug-in humidifier are that they are affordable, portable, and much easier to set up than a whole-house humidifier. For these reasons, portable humidifiers are good for small homes and renters who may not be interested in investing in a central humidifier system. Portable humidifiers can easily be taken from room to room (i.e. kept in the living room during the day and brought to the bedroom at night) and can be stored during the summer when they are no longer needed.

Cons of a Single Room Humidifier

In terms of dollar figures, a single room humidifier is less costly because you are only getting equipment for one room. But in terms of performance, a whole-house humidifier easily gets you more bang for your buck. The cost for installing high quality, reliable single room humidifiers in each room of your house is higher in the long run than getting a single, central home humidifier system. The payoff is even greater when you have a bigger house. You can get cheap single room humidifiers, but you often get what you pay for. Inexpensive single room humidifiers have short lives, can be very noisy, and must be refilled, cleaned, and maintained on a regular basis.

Whole House Humidifiers

Whole-house humidifiers integrate with your central heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system to blow moisture through the vents in your home. Most whole-house humidifiers also take water directly from your water line, obviating the need for a refillable water reservoir. They are also typically hard-wired, meaning that they won’t require an outlet.

Pros of a Whole House Humidifier

A whole-house humidifier is more of a “install it and forget it” installation in terms of upkeep, maintenance, and performance. Unlike a single room humidifier, which needs to be refilled and cleaned regularly, you can probably get by with maintaining your central humidifier seasonally, much as you would the rest of your HVAC system. Because it’s tucked away in your basement or attic, a whole-house humidifier is far less obtrusive in terms of noise and clutter. Plus, they perform much better, allowing you to humidify your whole home quickly, efficiently, and virtually automatically.

Cons of a Whole House Humidifier

You may need a professional to install your whole house humidifier. There’s a lot more involved in the installation of a central humidifier system than a portable one. There’s electrical work, plumbing, and, of course, HVAC work, too. Relatively handymen and women can pull it off, but it’s certainly a weekend project, as opposed to a “just plug it in” affair. The upfront costs will be greater, too, but you’ll get more performance for your money. Lastly, if you have hard water, you will need to flush your system through with vinegar or some other delimiting agent to prevent mineral buildup. Owning a whole-house humidifier comes with the same concerns and responsibilities as any large appliance or installation in your home, such as a washer/dryer set, water heater, or furnace.


The pros and cons of a whole-house humidifier vs. a single-room humidifier are logical and easily applicable to your situation. If you don’t own your home, the decision is clear: a portable home humidifier is for you. But if you do own your home and have a need to humidify the air in all of your rooms, a whole-house humidifier may be a cost-effective option.

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