Humidifier Vs. Dehumidifier: Which Is Best For Your Home?

During peak heating or cooling season, homeowners rely on their main HVAC units to keep their homes comfortable. But even if they keep up with their HVAC maintenance, the air quality may be lacking. Adding a humidification or dehumidification system into the mix can often improve the quality of the air and alleviate undesirable health symptoms that may present themselves during extreme weather conditions. Let’s take a closer look at these two types of systems and assess which will work best for your needs.

What Do Humidifiers Do?

As its name suggests, a humidifier makes the surrounding air more humid by adding moisture. When a given room is too dry, humidifiers can add necessary moisture into the air.

Humidifiers are typically used during the colder months of the season. It may surprise you to learn that cold air actually contains less moisture than hot air does. So in the summertime, our homes tend to be more humid than they are in winter. During the colder months, we may need to add in excess moisture to breathe more comfortably. This is especially true if you’re dealing with nasal or chest congestion or very dry skin. If you or your family deals with frequent nosebleeds, headaches, sore throats, allergies, or cracked skin, you may benefit from introducing a humidifier. It may also be necessary to complement your space heating — which is responsible for an average of 45% of one’s energy bill — with extra humidity. All that hot air in a given space will dry out any natural moisture, so using a humidifier can balance that out in some cases.

Keep in mind that you can choose between a cold mist humidifier and a warm mist humidifier. A cold mist humidifier can be a bit more soothing, particularly if you’re someone who doesn’t like to be overheated when you’re asleep. Babies and young children often benefit from warm mist humidifiers. Take note that while both types need to be cleaned and maintained regularly, warm mist versions require the most maintenance to prevent the growth of mold.

What Do Dehumidifiers Do?

Now that you understand what humidifiers do, you’ve probably guessed that dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air. During humid seasons or in rooms that are prone to too much humidity, dehumidification systems can ensure your family and home are healthy.

Most people will use dehumidifiers in the summertime to ensure mold and mildew don’t grow as a result of too much moisture in the air. Some homeowners will use residential humidifiers in their basements or in other areas that are prone to dampness. If you suffer from certain allergies, asthma, or tend to get headaches in summer, a dehumidifier can restore comfort to your environment. In hot and humid clients or during certain times of the year, these machines are a must.

Both humidification and dehumidification systems can improve your family’s health and comfort. The machine you choose will largely depend on your climate, the specifics of your home, and any underlying health conditions your loved ones face. Remember that the average home should have humidity levels somewhere between 40% and 50% while in the winter months it may have to be lower than 40% to prevent condensation on your windows. If your home’s humidity levels lie outside these parameters, you may want to contact your local HVAC company to determine whether a humidifier or dehumidification system might be recommended.