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Cool vs Warm Moisture Humidifier Systems

In the cold winter months when your heating system is most likely to dry out the air in your home, some type of moisture humidifier is beneficial to the health of your family-particularly if you have small children suffering from respiratory ailments. To add humidity to your home there are three types of humidification systems: cool-mist humidifiers, steam vaporizers and ultrasonic humidifiers.

If you have a child with asthma, you should discuss the purchase of a humidifier with your pediatrician. A humidifier could put your child at risk because of the potential exposure to mold and bacteria that is emitted from a humidifier into your carpet or other areas of your home. If you are considering making a humidifier purchase and are wondering which option is best, the following information will educate you regarding the differences in the systems and assist you in making your decision.

Cool-Mist Humidification

Humidification takes place in this type of humidifier because of a disk that turns rapidly in the water and creates water vapor.

The biggest advantage of this type of system is, because the water is not heated, no steam is created and therefore there is less risk of your child being burned from steam vapor or a spill.

The disadvantage to a cool-mist humidifier is that it acquires mold and bacteria easily and thus requires cleaning with soap and water on a daily basis to keep it free from these organisms. If tap water is used in a cool-mist humidifier, the minerals in the water can be dispersed into the area which could also create a health risk. It would be safest when using a cool-mist humidifier to use distilled water.

Steam Humidification

The obvious risk of a steam vaporizer is the steam itself. Steam is produced in a vaporizer by a heating element. If the machine can be placed where it can not be reached by children or only used when there are no children, then it is a good choice as mold and bacteria aren’t as likely to develop on this type of machine and there is no dispersal of the water minerals into the air, which allows you to use your tap water versus having to purchase distilled water.

Ultrasonic Humidification

Ultrasonic vibrations in the water create water vapor in this type of system. Ultrasonic humidification is not only safer because it doesn’t produce steam, but it also seems to disperse less bacteria in the air than a cool-mist humidifier. However, it does diffuse some and so it will also need to be cleaned daily. You will need to use distilled water with this type of system as it does disperse minerals into the air.

Some Things to Think About

After knowing how the three different systems work and their advantages and disadvantages, you can draw the following conclusions:

  • If you have small children, you should avoid purchasing a steam vaporizer.
  • If you are not interested in having to clean a humidifier daily, neither a cool-mist humidifier nor an ultrasonic humidifier would be very attractive options