A humidifier is a blessing in winter when the heat is running non-stop and moisture is scarce. By using a humidifier, you can help eliminate dry skin, lips and noses, as well as scratchy throats, static electricity, cracks in floors – even warped furniture and chipping paint.
So what’s the best option for maintaining a comfortable humidity level in your home this winter? And what are the differences between a whole home humidifier and a portable unit? MTB Mechanical shares some answers, which can be surprising.
A whole home humidifier is professionally installed directly into your heating system. It distributes moist air throughout a home via the ductwork. A whole home humidifier is a safe and sanitary option because it is plumbed into your home’s water source and uses fresh, clean water. The unit only needs cleaning at the end of the heating season because water never collects in a tank or reservoir. Once a whole home humidifier begins working for the winter, you don’t need to give it a second thought.
A portable humidifier is a different story. While a unit like this adds moisture to a home, it also requires significant work and maintenance to ensure effectiveness and safety:
- It’s inconvenient. If only one unit is in use, it must be moved from room to room.
- It’s not always cost-effective. If multiple units are needed to fully humidify various rooms or areas or a home, the costs can quickly add up.
- It’s a dirty job, and you have to do it. Water collects in the tank of a portable unit, which can allow bacteria and germs to grow and then be emitted into the air. To ensure that a portable humidifier is operating as safely as possible, you should change the water on a daily basis, and clean the unit with an approved cleaning solution every third day. To eliminate scale and mineral deposits from building up, distilled water should be used instead of tap water.
- It’s inconsistent. Even with regular maintenance, moisture is difficult to control with a portable humidifier. There can be too little moisture, or too much – which can cause problems ranging from peeling wallpaper to aggravated allergic reactions. This is in marked contrast to a whole home unit, where the settings allow precise and even control.
Given all these issues, why would homeowners choose a portable humidifier over the whole home solution? Cost would appear to be the deciding factor. But while a basic unit is certainly economical, the reality is that the most reliable and durable portable humidifiers can easily exceed the cost of investing in a whole home system, especially if multiple units are needed.