One of the hazards of winter that often goes ignored among the bitter cold and the slippery roads is the low humidity. Since the grass is covered by snow and green leaves have all fallen from trees, there is practically no moisture in the air.  Colorado is already known for its dry climate and the winter makes it worse.  This is unfortunate; especially since humidity levels below 30 percent can cause a number of different problems such as respiratory irritation, nosebleeds and uncomfortably dry and itchy skin.  Not only does it affect your body but it also affects your home.  Dry air removes moisture causing cracking and splitting in wood such as hardwood floors, furniture, moldings, woodwork, musical instruments, and antiques.  Another benefit of humidifiers in your home is energy savings.  When a home is properly humidified in the winter you feel more comfortable at a lower temperature. Turn down the thermostat and enjoy the comfort and savings!

People often attempt to fix the problems associated with dry air in the winter with humidifiers, but people are at a loss as to whether they should go with a portable humidifier or a whole home humidifier.  You should know at least a little bit about each one if you want to make a good decision about humidifying your home this winter.

Portable Humidifiers (Room Humidifiers)

portable humidifier

Just as its name implies, a portable humidifier is a free-standing unit with its own water supply and plugs into a wall outlet. It is usually big and powerful enough to humidify one or two rooms, although larger units can affect larger spaces.

The biggest advantage to using a portable humidifier is that it’s portable. Even larger units can usually be wheeled to wherever they are needed, and smaller units can sit comfortably on a desk. Portable units are also ideal for renters who cannot install a whole home humidifier, and they are relatively easy to use. The downsides are that the larger portable units can be pretty expensive. While a whole home humidifier can be connected a central HVAC system, larger portable units have to have their own furnace blower. They also tend to be noisier, or at least you will be more likely to notice the noises they make.

Whole Home Humidifiers

Whole Home Humidifiers

A whole home humidifier is integrated into a home’s HVAC system. It usually draws directly from a home’s plumbing system, so there is no need to have to refill a reservoir. It also requires relatively little maintenance compared to portable units. In that way, a whole home humidifier is very much an “install-it-and-forget-it” product. Whole home humidifiers are also much less expensive than larger portable humidifiers, and they are much quieter. The only real downsides to having a whole home humidifier are that they need to be installed and may need some minimal maintenance once a year.

Deciding whether to go with a portable humidifier or a whole home humidifier really depends on what kind of home you have. If you own your own house, it is probably in your best interest to install a whole home humidifier. Not only is it cheaper in the long run, but it requires less maintenance while helping health issues, dry skin, and prolong the life of your wooden household items.

By Frank Prestwood