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Should a Humidifier Be Your Bedroom’s BFF?

Humidifier in the bedroom.jpgGOOD HOUSEKEEPING SAYS if you use a humidifier, you’ll look better. If that’s not reason enough to make a humidifier in your bedroom your new BFF (i.e., best friend forever), then what is? You see, it might sound odd, but the weather outside can actually play a big role in how you look, talk and feel — and sleep for that matter, especially if you’re experiencing the hallmark signs of dry indoor air.

Think about it, air is dry – particularly in the winter – both from Old Man Winter and from your furnace blasting waves of heat throughout your home.  What’s the result? Skin that feels like the Sahara desert and lips so dry that it hurts to smile. And that’s only part of it.

Here, we take a look at signs that your indoor air is too dry, the types of humidifiers on the market today and how to check the humidity level in your room.

Telltale Signs That You Need a Humidifier in the Bedroom

chapped lips.jpgIf you’ve been lying awake at night tossing and turning due to some of the following, it’s likely that a humidifier could help you get a good night’s rest:

    • Dry or scratchy throat
    • Dry cough
    • Sinus congestion
    • Irritated vocal cords
    • Croaky voice
    • Bloody nose
    • Cracked lips
    • Cracked knuckles
    • Dry skin
    • Cuts in fingertips

The above are all indications that the air in your bedroom is far too dry for you to feel good or sleep comfortably. While most of these symptoms present themselves particularly in the winter months, they can also occur in the summer when you run your air conditioner continuously since it can suck the humidity out of the air.

Whichever season it is though, if you’re experiencing these annoying symptoms, the Mayo Clinic notes that  a humidifier might provide you with relief since one can add 30-40% humidity back into the air.

But what type of humidifier should you get?

Types of Humidifiers

The type of humidifier you opt for is totally dependent on the size of your bedroom, budget and own personal preferences. There are five main types of humidifiers.

Evaporators.  These blow moisture through a dampened filter and are powered by fans that expel the humidity back into the air. These units are less expensive than central ones, and only work in one room at a time. This means they are ideally suited for areas such as bedrooms.

One potential issue to watch out for is that as they expel moisture back into the air, they increase the likelihood of mold growth, and can be an issue if you have asthma.

Central humidifiers. These are part of your home heating or air conditioning unit and, as such, are expensive and best used to add humidity throughout your entire home.

Unlike traditional humidifiers that emit steam that can potentially burn you, central units don’t give out any steam at all. Some users find that they still don’t offer enough humidity in the bedroom, however.

Impeller humidifiers. This type of humidifier works by using high speed rotating disks and is an affordable choice if you’re on a budget. They’re also very kid and animal-friendly as they emit a cool mist, rather than a burning hot vapor.

One downside of impeller humidifiers is that they are only good for a single room at a time, and when they’re overused, they can cause problems to you if you have allergies or asthma.

Steam vaporizers. These are electrically powered and heat water before releasing it into the air. Steam vaporizers are perfect for you if you’re on a tight budget, and are portable compared to the other types of units. There are both steam vaporizers that dispel hot air and cool air. The latter avoids the risk of burns.  Both can be bought in drugstores.

Ultrasonic humidifiers. These use ultrasonic vibrations to create a cool or warm mist within your room and can vary considerably in price. Ultrasonic humidifiers are quiet and require minimal maintenance.

Humidifier Caveats to Watch Out For

As touched on previously, and according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), humidifiers can cause bacteria and mold to grow. To keep this in check, follow these tips:

    • Check your humidity levels every couple of days. Too much moisture can trigger asthma and allergies if you’re susceptible. How can you do this? Well, there is a handy instrument called a hygrometer. You can purchase one of these at your local hardware store, big box home store or online.  According to information from the CPSC, the ideal humidity in your home should be between 30 and 50 percent. The humidity should never exceed 60 percent as this is when problems with fungi and bacteria can occur  — and nobody wants that.
    • Change the water daily to minimize your risk. In addition, be sure to wash buckets or filter systems every few days, even if you tend to err on the lazy side.
    • Maintain your central humidifier.If your central humidifier has a filter, be sure to change it regularly. You should also properly clean it according to the owner’s manual or hire an HVAC expert to clean it for you. It’s a good idea to clean your central humidifier at least once per year.
    • Drink plenty of water.Your new humidifier isn’t the end all solution to your dry skin, cracked lips and scratchy throat. You need moisture both in your environment — and in your body, so drink up — water of course. (Alcohol is dehydrating so that would be counterintuitive, right?).

So, if you want to have skin that doesn’t look like a lizard, a voice as beautiful as Adele’s, and the sleep quality of that of a non-crying baby, get yourself a new BFF — a humidifier.

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