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Choosing A Whole-Home Humidifier: Comparing Steam and Evaporative Humidification

A whole-home humidifier offers many health and home benefits. Learn the differences between steam and evaporative humidifiers.

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whole-home humidifier

You’re sitting in your living room watching television, and you can feel your eyes, nose and lips start to dry out. Or, you’re trying to fall asleep in your bedroom and the person next to you is snoring, loudly.

The air in your home is so dry that it is creating and exacerbating these symptoms, making everyday life uncomfortable.

The good news? There is a solution to this problem! Investing in a whole-home humidifier.

What Is a Whole-Home Humidifier?

A whole-home humidifier monitors and regulates the level of indoor relative humidity throughout your home. This is useful for any space that suffers from dry indoor air and is particularly beneficial for those that live in dry, desert-like climates.

The humidifier utilizes a humidistat to determine whether or not the air in your home is too dry. For example, if the air in your home registers below the ideal level, the humidifier will add moisture. Once the air has reached the ideal 40 to 60% humidity range, the humidifier will turn off. Whole-home humidity control solutions provide automatic adjustments for a healthy and comfortable indoor living space.

Do Humidifiers Help With Indoor Air Quality?

In order for indoor air quality to thrive, your home’s humidity level should fall between the aforementioned 40 to 60% range. That is to say—dry indoor air with humidity levels below 40% exacerbates allergies, asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Dry air can also increase the spread of viruses and bacteria causing numerous health issues. Furthermore, living in a home permeated by dry air is generally uncomfortable.

Look at the chart below to better understand how dry air can impact your and your family’s health. The mid-humidity range helps ensure a healthier indoor space.

Dry Air40-60%
Respiratory Illnesses𐄂
Dust Mites𐄂𐄂

What Is the Difference Between a Steam and Evaporative Humidifier?

Steam Humidifier: How it Works and Advantages

A steam humidifier heats water in an internal reservoir to generate steam. The steam is then dispersed into the room to raise the humidity level.

They can be stand-alone units or installed induct in your HVAC system. There are several advantages of using a steam humidifier:

  1. Fast and precise humidity control: Steam humidifiers provide instant humidity control through quick and efficient steam dispersion. This allows you to maintain an accurate level of moisture in the space.
  2. Energy efficiency: By injecting steam directly into the air, steam humidifiers consume less energy than evaporative ones. They can save costs over time since they are more energy-efficient.
  3. Less maintenance and mineral buildup: Since the water is heated before being dispersed into the air, steam humidifiers can reduce mineral buildup on the unit parts, making them low maintenance compared to evaporative humidifiers.
  4. Less noise: Steam humidifiers operate silently, which is ideal for those who prefer a more peaceful environment.

Evaporative Humidifier: How it Works and Advantages

An evaporative humidifier uses a water-drenched humidifier pad or wick inside the unit.

An internal fan then blows warm air over the pad, causing the water to evaporate and increasing the room’s humidity levels. The benefits of evaporative humidifiers include:

  1. Lower cost upfront: Evaporative humidifiers are cheaper to purchase, making them appealing to those on a tight budget.
  2. Lower ambient temperature: The evaporation process used in evaporative humidifiers can slightly reduce the room temperature, which is a plus during warm months.
  3. Self-regulating humidity: Evaporative humidifiers can self-regulate the amount of moisture they can release, depending on the existing humidity levels in the room. This helps to maintain healthy and comfortable humidity levels.
  4. Filters: Many evaporative humidifiers come with built-in air filters, which can remove allergens and dust particles, thus improving indoor air quality.

Performance Comparison: Steam vs. Evaporative Humidifiers

  • Efficiency: Steam humidifiers are more energy-efficient, using direct steam injection rather than relying on the evaporation process to humidify the air.

  • Maintenance: Steam humidifiers require less maintenance, as there are fewer instances of mineral buildup compared to evaporative units.

  • Noise level: Steam humidifiers are quieter due to the absence of a fan, while noise levels can vary for evaporative models depending on the fan’s speed setting.

  • Room temperature: Evaporative humidifiers can slightly reduce room temperature, which may be suitable for warm climates, whereas the effect of steam humidifiers on temperature is negligible.

Choosing a steam or evaporative humidifier will depend on your preferences, budget, and specific requirements.

A steam humidifier would be an optimal choice if you value energy efficiency, low maintenance, and silent operation.

On the other hand, if you’d like a more affordable upfront cost, self-regulating humidity, and possible temperature reduction, consider an evaporative humidifier.

Take into account your location’s temperature and humidity conditions, your intended use, and your indoor space to make the best decision for your needs.

Ultimately, either humidifier can create a more comfortable and healthier living environment by controlling and maintaining indoor humidity.

Why Choose a Whole-Home Humidifier?

Whole-home humidifiers get the job done. Plain and simple. A whole-home humidification system is installed directly into your HVAC system.

Regardless of square footage, it will work with your home’s existing HVAC system to provide comfortable living and healthy indoor air in every single room.

A whole-home humidifier decreases the chances of illness and undesirable symptoms caused by dry air. Furthermore, it reduces static electricity and protects the integrity of your home.

When the air is too dry, it can cause floorboards to creak, gaps between walls and ceilings to form, wood furniture to crack and books to warp.

These issues can be resolved efficiently and effectively with a whole-home humidifier. Whether you choose steam or evaporative technology, you will be more than happy with your IAQ investment.

We can help you find a local HVAC contractor with IAQ experience to determine the best whole-home humidifier for your space!

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