During the winter months, when indoor air can be dry and irritating, a humidifier can relieve chapped lips and skin. Placing a humidifier in the bedroom can reduce the chances of illness by keeping mucous membrane moist, creating a barrier for germs. Humidifiers can also reduce snoring and relieve cold symptoms. However, you should not run your humidifier all day long because a too-humid indoor atmosphere can promote mold growth, which can harm your health.
A warm-mist humidifier includes a heating element that boils the water in the reservoir, allowing steam to escape and humidify the room. Warm-mist humidifiers do cause the room's temperature to rise and may be more desirable for use in colder winter climates. While many people find warm-mist humidifiers to be comforting, they are more expensive to operate. Families with children should be careful when using this type of humidifier because the boiling water in the tank is a scalding hazard.
Cool-mist humidifiers are equally as effective as warm mist in adding moisture to a room, but they operate a bit differently. With a cool-mist humidifier, a fan is used to release a room-temperature vapor into the air. There is no hot water to worry about, so these types of humidifiers may be more popular with people who live with young children. Also, if you don't want to raise your bedroom's temperature, a cool-mist humidifier would be a better choice.
Whether you choose a warm- or cool-mist humidifier, the best humidifiers will offer automatic humidity control for the room. According to the University of Wisconsin, indoor humidity should be at levels of 50 percent or lower to prohibit mold growth. Choose a humidifier with automatic humidity control and set it to between 30 and 40 percent humidity for the room.
Another feature of the best humidifiers is that they have antibacterial filters and components. Even though you should clean your humidifier's parts on a regular basis, it helps to know that the components are impervious to bacteria and mold growth, the effects of which can cause Legionnaire's disease, according to Drexel University College of Medicine.