Purpose of a Humidifier: Uses & Benefits

What is the purpose of a humidifier?

Are you too cool for school? Are you as cool as a cucumber as you tote that oversize, overstuffed diaper bag to the gym for your spin class or that giant duffel bag full of hockey equipment down to the skating rink?

Is cool your default?

Yeah me too 😛

Truthfully, cool is great when you are talking about a confident attitude and the ability to keep your head when mom duties rule the day.

Cool, or cold, is not so great when you are talking about dry, glacial air in your home!

You may be thinking that it can’t make that much a difference how humid your house is.

If you need to be convinced, consider the following:

8 Ways A Humidifier Can Keep You and Your Family Healthy

  1. Humidifiers can prevent the transmission of airborne viruses and bacterial infections. Germs are evidently very poor travelers through moist air.
    Studies have shown that increasing the humidity in your home can reduce your chances of getting the flu by 50%. Millions of people in the U.S. catch the flu each year. A bedside humidifier could be another way to decrease your family’s chance of succumbing to it.
  2. If you do manage to catch a pesky winter virus, humidifiers can accelerate the healing process by keeping your throat and nasal passages lubricated and relieving both coughing and sneezing.
  3. Keeping your nasal passages moist throughout the winter can prevent sinus congestion, sinusitis, and nose bleeds.
  4. A humidifier can prevent snoring caused by nasal congestion. This will improve the quality of sleep for the snorer as well as for everyone within earshot of whomever is sawing logs.
  5. Moist air prevents dry, chapped lips which will save you hours of searching your purse, medicine cabinet, and couch cushions for lip balm.
  6. Tired of buying out the lotion section of your local drug store every winter? A humidifier protects against dry, cracking skin which can lead to itching and (gasp) aging.
  7. The moisturizing effect of a humidifier on the throat can reduce dry hacking cough and inflammation of vocal chords so you won’t sound like a 2-pack-a-day smoker when you wake up each morning.
  8. Adequate levels of humidity in your home are good for your house plants keeping them from shriveling in the dry winter air. Good health for your house plants equals good health for you.

Cold, winter air is dry air; that is a fact. As it turns out, the arid space that fills your home during the winter can be the underlying cause of many health woes that we encounter during this time of the year.

It often leads to winter illnesses that result in your kids missing school and you missing work. It is responsible for the hours you spend applying lotion to your hands and for the quick death of your pumice stone from dealing with your dry, cracked feet.

There is, however, a way to improve the air quality in your home which will combat the effects that dry air has on your body both inside and out.

Buy a humidifier.

What Is The Purpose Of A Humidifier And What Does It Do?

Humidifiers are important household items that bring with them countless benefits.

In addition to normalizing dry air in homes, humidifiers also lower the risk of contracting air viruses and bacteria. Because of advancements in technology, different brands of humidifiers are available in offline and online stores.

A humidifier purpose, is that it is a device that emits water vapor into the air.

This increases the humidity to varying degrees in the space around it. They change the climate in your home by raising (and in some cases holding) humidity to a level that encourages optimal health for your family.

What Is The Appropriate Level Of Humidity For My Home?

The Mayo Clinic recommends keeping the humidity levels in your home between 30-50%.

Mark A. Zacharek, MD, residency program director for the department of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit claims that ideal humidity in the home should be between 35-40%.

The exact levels within that range may end up being a matter of preference for you and your family, but there is a consensus among health professionals that moist air is better for your health.

Finding The Best Model

First, in order to find the right humidifier for your needs, you are going to want to figure out which kind of model is the right one for you. Because there are many different models to choose from, you need to make sure that you find the model that is going to benefit you the most.

Below, we will be going over some of the differences of each model to better help you make an informed decision.

Steam Vaporizer

This particular humidifier is one of the most dominant styles on the market.

This model ends up heating the water that is located inside of it until it boils. Once this is completed, the steam is then vented directly through the holes in the product and spread throughout the room.

These are going to be more suited for asthma sufferers that prefer to live in a much more humid and warm environment. However, the drawback of this particular type of unit is that it requires more maintenance than some of the others available.

  • Great for humid environments
  • Very popular so plenty of options
  • Fairly quick to get going
  • Requires more maintenance
  • It must be kept very clean
  • Could make alllergies worse if not looked after

Warm Mist Vaporizer

This model is similar to the steam vaporizer.

However whilst it creates a steam, it also cools it down to the point where the actual temperature of the output of the steam is not nearly as hot. Thus, it is essentially referred to as a ‘warm mist.’

This is better for asthma sufferers that do not want to alter the temperature at all and it is especially effective if it is paired properly with air conditioning.

  • Excellent to create a stable temperature
  • Relatively simple operation - Set & Forget
  • Perfect to use in conjunction with A/C
  • Slightly longer to set up
  • More moving parts to go wrong
  • Will need to find the "perfect" temperature involving a bit of trial & error

Cool Mist Humidifier

This particular style of humidifier is one of the more advanced styles on the market.

These electric devices can ultimately function in a variety of ways. Some of the models on the market actually have a rotating disk and/or fan within them.

This is where the mist is dispersed into the air.

Other more advanced models have ultrasonic frequencies that are utilized to essentially vibrate water into smaller molecules and then shot off into the air.

Regardless of the method, this humidifier is going to produce a much cooler mist and will therefore make the air feel much cooler as a direct result. Because there is absolutely no heating element involved with this kind of model, it is going to utilize much less electricity in the process.

  • Very advanced
  • Number of options & models to choose from
  • Some models create carefully measured molecules
  • Uses less electricity and energy
  • More expensive than other models
  • Can be a bit overwhelming for your first humidifier
  • No way to create warm mist if needed

3 Questions You Need To Ask

What do you want to spend?

What features do you need?

What type of environment are you living in?

  • Is the cost to benefit ratio worth it...just how bad are your allergies and symptoms?

    Do you need the most expensive option to alleviate any issues you have?

  • Are you using in conjunction with air conditioning or a heater?

    What kind of options do you think you will need, e.g. variable temperature, automatic or timed shut off etc.

  • Will you be sharing a room with young children?

    What is the outside temperature vs inside temperature, (this is a big deal, especially if you will be moving throughout rooms in the night with babies & children etc).

It's not an easy task!

When it comes to getting the most out of your humidifiers, you are going to want to make sure that you maintain it as best as you can.

It’s important to utilize pure water when you are using it to avoid placing any kind of pollutants in it. It is also important to keep your humidifier completely clean and never let water stand in your unit.

Finally, you are going to want to be sure that you are not completely overdoing it. While the benefits of humidifiers can be excellent for asthma sufferers, using it too often or too much is only going to lead to even more respiratory problems.

If you have a child that also has asthma, then you are really going to need to see which models are the best for children with asthma.


Now that your convinced, you may be wondering where you can find one and how much money it will set you back. As with most small appliances, that depends on a number of things, most notably, how many bells and whistles you want on the device.

There are many options to choose from when purchasing a humidifier. Machines range from simple bedside models to centralized mechanisms which can be built into your home’s HVAC system. Whether you want a humidifier to take with you when you travel, one that is extra quiet and has a nightlight for your child’s bedroom, or one that looks like a beautiful metal sculpture for your office, there is something out there to meet your needs. There are also more specialized models which offer a built in hygrometer (an apparatus that measures humidity) and will shut off when your space reaches the desired level of humidity. You may also find features that allow you to choose between warm or cool mist or that allow you to add essential oils for a pleasant aroma.

Here’s another chance for you to allow cooler heads to prevail when cooler months approach. Protect your family’s health by putting a humidifier in your home. You won’t regret the decision.

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