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Do I Need a Humidifier or Dehumidifier?

Do I Need a Humidifier

Are you trying to breathe a little easier or limit allergens in your home? A humidifier or dehumidifier can help. As you’re figuring out whether you need a humidifier or a dehumidifier for your home, check out this convenient guide from us at Pottery Barn.

What Is a Humidifier?

A humidifier is an appliance that adds moisture to the air in a room. People often use them to decrease the dryness in an artificially heated room, home or building. It can also increase humidity in a home in a perpetually dry climate. These appliances can meet health and wellness needs, too. By adding humidity to a room, they can ease dry skin and a dry cough. They may also reduce sinus congestion when you have allergies or a cold.

How Does a Humidifier Work?

While there are a number of different types of humidifiers, they all work in essentially the same manner. They add moisture to your room by releasing an invisible mist into the air. Different types of humidifiers do this in slightly different ways. An evaporative humidifier uses an internal fan to pull air from the room into the unit. Then, it saturates the air with moisture, and sends the moist air back out into the room. Ultrasonic humidifiers use an ultrasonic vibrating diaphragm that forces tiny water droplets into the air.

Types of Humidifiers

There are five types of humidifiers: central humidifiers, evaporators, impeller humidifiers, steam vaporizers and ultrasonic humidifiers. Central humidifiers are built directly into your home’s heating or air conditioning unit. They’re a good choice if you want to add humidity to your entire house. Evaporators blow air through a moistened filter. Impeller humidifiers use rotating disks that run at high speeds to release cool air into the room. For people who prefer cool air humidifiers, these are a good choice. Steam vaporizers heat and then cool water and release it into the air. Steam vaporizers are the most compact and portable type of humidifier. Finally, ultrasonic humidifiers produce mist with the help of ultrasonic vibration. Both warm and cool mist options are available with this type.

What Is a Dehumidifier?

dehumidifier is an appliance that reduces the level of humidity in the air. There are many reasons you might want to use a dehumidifier. You might want one for health or comfort reasons, such as limiting allergens in the air or helping a space feel cooler. People also use them reduce musty odors in a humid area. Larger industrial humidifiers are used in buildings like pools or ice rinks to control the humidity levels in the building, or your entire home.

How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

A dehumidifier works by drawing air out of a space, filtering the moisture out of that air and then siphoning the air back into the room. The moisture collected is stored in a tank that you empty out. It’s similar to the concept of a vacuum cleaner, where you empty out the canister. 

Most dehumidifiers work in one of two ways: by refrigeration or absorption. Refrigeration-type dehumidifiers work by using an electric fan to suck warm air through a grille. A refrigerated evaporator, in the form of a coolant, chills the air. This forces the water vapors to separate and drip into a tank. The now moisture-free air passes through heated pipes on its way back out into the room. Absorption-type models draw the air through a desiccant material and push it back out. This type of dehumidifier doesn’t cool the air before dehumidification. It’s best to use one of these if you live in a cool climate.

Which Type?

Other than deciding between a refrigeration-type or absorption type, you’ll decide between a whole-house dehumidifier, a portable dehumidifier or using a natural dehumidifier. A portable dehumidifier is a good option if you only need to dehumidify one room. If you want to dehumidify your entire home, and do so evenly, an internal, whole-house system is best. If you’re looking for a natural alternative for dehumidification in your home, Boston fern, English ivy, and peace lily are a few plants that help reduce humidity in the air. They’ll make a beautiful addition to your space and a nice supplement to your machine.