Can a Humidifier Help Reduce Airborne Viruses & Bacteria? Here’s What You Need To Know

Looking around to see if a humidifier is a good addition to your home? Here’s a few thing you need to know:

Kinds of humidifiers

If you’ve never been in the market for a humidifier, you may have noticed that there are more types of humidifiers than you think. There are four common types of humidifiers: Impeller, Steam, Ultrasonic and Wick/Evaporative. Not sure which one to get or what kind is right for you? Here’s a quick rundown of what each humidifier option has to offer:

Impeller humidifier – This type of humidifier contains a rotating disc. This disc throws water at a diffuser that’s shaped a lot like a comb. This diffuser breaks up the water into droplets that can float in the air. The water looks a little like fog as it makes its way out the humidifier.

Steam humidifier – Also known as a vaporizer, this type of humidifier releases warm steam. This is usually the cheapest type of humidifier as it uses a simple method. In addition to this, you can usually add inhalants to the humidifier to help you breathe a little more easily.

Ultrasonic humidifier – A humidifier such as this contains a metal diaphragm that vibrates. It does this so that water droplets are created. They tend to be silent while producing a cool fog of water.

Wick/Evaporative system –  A wick/evaporative humidifier uses a foam wick, paper cloth, or a sheet so that water is drawn out of the reservoir. A fan blows over the wick and ensures that the water is absorbed into the air. The higher the humidity the harder it is for the water to evaporate.

Reducing Airborne Viruses

Increased ventilation, frequent cleaning and quality filtration all contribute to reducing the risk of transmitting airborne viruses like the flu or COVID-19. Humidity also plays a role in virus prevention as researchers have found that viruses thrive in environments where humidity is low. If you live in the desert or your hometown is particularly dry during the winter months, it is easy and relatively cost effective to set up a controlled humidity in your abode. If reducing airborne viruses is your goal, you’ll want to try and keep your living space between 40 and 60 percent relative humidity. This is a common level that facilities such as hospitals, offices, factories and other buildings like to strive for to keep their employees and visitors safe. These are often large buildings that use industrial grade humidifier set ups inside HVAC systems, but you don’t need anything like that just for your home or living space. There are plenty of personal humidifiers on the market that offer a wide range of desired specifications. If you want something that boosts humidity quickly, there’s a product out there for you. If you’re looking for a whisper quiet machine that will run for hours on end? You’ll also be able to find something that works for your budget. The humidifier market is rather large, so don’t get discouraged if you’re struggling with finding the right machine after a few searches. Keep at it and ask your friends and family to see if they have a product that they might recommend.

Reducing Bacteria

In addition to reducing airborne illnesses, humidifiers can also reduce bacteria in your home. By creating a cool mist, humidifiers will help you reduce the number of germs in the air by adding more moisture to it. However, you will need to be vigilant and ensure you’re changing out filters very often. All humidifiers utilize a filter to ensure the stream of steam coming out of the machine is free of bacteria and viruses. Some go through filters quicker than others, so be sure to check the recommended duration of a filter and change it when it’s been maxed out or shortly before it gets to the end of its suggested use. If you don’t change your filters often, you will effectively be adding bacteria into the air you’re breathing.

How To Use Humidifiers

Depending on how dry your home environment is, you’ll need to decide whether you run a humidifier 24/7 or just while you sleep. If you live in a less dry area, you may only need to run your machine during times where you are resting or relaxing at home. If you’re away for a while, you can turn it off and conserve water and power. However, if you live in a very dry area where it can be difficult to maintain a consistently humid atmosphere running a humidifier 24/7. Many humidifiers on the market can hold up to 6 liters of water and boast an impressive 50 hour continuous run time without the need to refill or change the filter. This makes it easy for you to set the humidifier and forget it for more than two days!

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