Air that is too dry can irritate delicate nasal and air passages. If you have asthma, it can make you more prone to an asthma attack. If you have allergies, it can compound your other allergic symptoms.
You don't want a unit that creates the additional problem of stagnant water. You absolutely don't want to nebulize things like mold and bacteria into the air.
In most cases, a room humidifier or portable humidifier should be sufficient. You don't want to create humidity in your daytime living spaces or basement, generally. In most cases, keeping your bedroom at the right humidity while you sleep will provide you with sufficient relief from dry air. Also, keep in mind that rooms on the level of the kitchen will often receive some additional humidity from cooking during the day.
If you are considering a humidifier, keep in mind some of the new advances in technology. Today, some models of humidifiers use unique new processes that create a mist virtually free of mold, mold spores and bacteria.
Features to Look For:
- Easy maintenance. Find out how much cleaning the humidifier requires and how often. Prevent bacteria and mold before it starts.
- Mineral dust. Some cheaper humidifiers may disperse mineral dust and this can cause further respiratory issues.
- Humidistat. Having a built in humidistat helps regulate the humidity of a room. An overly humid room can cause dust mites and even mold problems. Set humidity level to 30%- 45% for best performance. This will help your water tank last longer too.
- Automatic Shut Off. While this would seem to be a no-brainer feature, usually only the top-of-the-line models have an automatic shut off capability when the water runs out. Continually running humidifiers without water in the tanks can become a safety issue.
If you are going to humidify the air, why not filter it at the same time? Many units will combine a filtering technology with the humidifier functionality.
Consider a humidifier with a germ-free air filter system to rid the air of pollen, mold spores, dust and dust mite allergens. Many systems make use of HEPA filter technology.
The HEPA filter used to be the 'gold standard' in the area of air purification. To qualify as a true HEPA, the filtering system must allow no more than 3 particles out of 10,000 to penetrate the filter.
Most filters will require replacement. Keep in mind the cost of filters when you are comparing humidifier models. The cost and frequency of filter replacement will indicate your ongoing costs with the model and such costs may make a more expensive unit a better buy.
Avoid unnecessary extra irritants such as smoke and chemical fumes.