Humidifier Vs Dehumidifier: What’s the Difference?

  • Simon Kent
  • Date: October 12, 2021
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Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers have their independent uses, and they both can be very beneficial tools to utilize to maximize comfort in the home. However, used improperly can cause lots of health issues and can cause an uncomfortable daily life. 

In today’s discussion, we will explore the difference between humidifiers and dehumidifiers in-depth, so that you’ll know which appliance is right for your needs. Never again will you ask humidifier vs dehumidifier which one do I need?

In simple terms, a humidifier adds humidity (Moisture) to the air, and dehumidifiers reduce humidity (Moisture) from the air.

Let’s Talk About Humidifiers

Humidifier vs Dehumidifier

Humidifiers are often used in places that experience cold, dry air, such as our homes during the winter months. When the air is dry, it can lead to dry skin and hair, respiratory issues, and even nosebleeds.

A humidifier works by adding moisture to the air. This increases the relative humidity level of your home while decreasing its temperature. They use water as their cooling agent.

They can be either portable or permanently installed and come in different types for different uses. Portable humidifiers can be placed on a table or floor and are typically used to humidify a single room.

There are four main types of stand-alone at-home humidifiers, they are;

Evaporator Humidifiers

An evaporator humidifier works by sucking in air and blowing it through a moistened filter. The fans then push this hydrated air back into the room.

Impeller Humidifiers

An impeller humidifier uses a rotating disc to fire water at a diffuser to break the water up into tiny droplets which then float into the air like a mist. Another common name for this type of humidifier is a cool-mist humidifier.

Although inexpensive they do have a couple of disadvantages in that they are small and will only work in single rooms. Also, the water needs to be crystal clear as you don’t want to be spreading mold and bacteria around the room.

Steam Vaporizers

These types of humidifiers tend to be for personal use. They use electricity to power a heating element that boils the water to create steam, as the steam cools it leaves the machine and enters the air.

Ultrasonic humidifiers

These humidifiers have the capacity of producing warm or cool mist and is much quieter than an evaporator or impellor humidifier.

An ultrasonic humidifier uses a metal or ceramic diaphragm which vibrate against the water to produce a very fine mist. Often the more expensive option.

When Would Using A Humidifier Be Necessary

Most will admit that dry air is not just uncomfortable! But it can have significant effects on your health. As a result, some people like to keep their environment humid enough to help maintain the balance of their skin and their respiratory system. This is where a humidifier would work great.

Humidifier’s work great when you’re sick, or during the winter when many people will use them to keep their noses and throats moist especially at night while they sleep.

Plants And Humidifiers

Humidifiers are not just great for human bodies, but for plants too. Humidifiers help regulate the indoor humidity levels which encourage plants to grow faster.

Without humidity plants simply will not be able to survive, and being browning; soon after that plants will decay and die.

Studies have shown that adding a plant humidifier to your home can increase the plant’s growth rate by up to 50%. Plants can improve indoor air quality by removing chemicals and pollutants from the air.

A NASA Clean Air Study found that houseplants alone cannot remove all toxins and pollutants from the air. However, plants are still an effective way of improving indoor air quality. 

Humidity is a very important environmental factor for many organisms to thrive and plants are no different. If the environment is too dry plants will simply not survive.

Negatives of a Humidifier

Adding too much moisture to your home can cause problems. Mold and mildew can grow on surfaces like your bathroom or kitchen floors, walls and high moisture areas. It can also have a negative effect on furniture and household items causing them to rot in extreme cases.

What is a Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifier vs Humidifier

A dehumidifier is a device that removes excess moisture from an area, typically reducing humidity levels below 50%. Humidity is not something people think about too often, but it can lead to all sorts of problems.

Dehumidifiers function by absorbing water from the surrounding air into a desiccant material like a silica gel through a process called absorption. This moisture is then captured in some sort of water storage container tank.

It is important to note that there are two different types of dehumidifiers, desiccant dehumidifiers and refrigerant dehumidifiers.

Desiccant Dehumidifiers

Desiccant dehumidifiers are great in colder conditions. They will work in much lower temperatures anything from just above freezing.

In simple terms, they work by pulling moist air in which passes through a desiccant material. This material then absorbs the moisture from the air and dry air is then returned to the room.

Refrigerant Dehumidifiers

Refrigerant dehumidifiers work much better in warmer temperatures of between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because of how they work to remove the moisture from the air.

Once the moist air is drawn into the machine the air is cooled to a point where water vapour condenses. This condensed water then drains off into a tank and the dry air is then heated and returned to the room.

Who Will Benefit The Most From Using a Dehumidifier

Many people are just simply not comfortable in high humidity atmospheres. High humidity can cause pain. Whether it is the pain in your joints, muscles, or bones, high humidity can make anyone feel less than good.

The higher the humidity is, the more water vapor there is in the air and the more you will sweat. This makes it hard for your body to cool down and regulate its temperature.

Dehumidifiers can remove excess moisture from the air to help reduce health risks of things such as mold, mildew, bacteria, and dust mites.

Properties that suffer from damp can benefit greatly from a dehumidifier. Areas like basements, kitchens, bathrooms are prone to damp issues, but they are not alone.

Every time we breathe, we breathe out moisture, because our mouths and lungs are moist. When this warm air meets the cooler air it condenses and forms tiny tiny little droplets of water on surfaces like windows.

Commercial Use Of Dehumidifiers

Many businesses and warehouses use dehumidifiers frequently because of mold problems. They will often run dehumidifiers at night when there are no customers to dry up the extra moisture on the walls thereby reducing the moisture in the environment of that building helping keep the building dry.

Flooding is a major natural disaster that can happen anywhere in the world. Flooding can be caused by anything from heavy rain, snowmelt, or an overflow of a river or dam.

If you are unfortunate enough to become a victim of flooding then you will need a dehumidifier. It’s not enough to pump out all the flooded water, a commercial dehumidifier will be required to dry out the walls and foundation of your property.

So What is Better A Humidifier or Dehumidifier?

Well, if you’re asking this question then maybe you have the wrong idea about what humidifiers and dehumidifiers do. Remember that both serve different purposes and they don’t compete with one another.

How To Choose The Best Humidifier Or Dehumidifier For You And Your Family?

At the end of the day, both humidifiers and dehumidifiers have different uses. You need to assess your family’s needs. If you are waking up every day in a musty damp environment then you should consider using a dehumidifier, but if you are waking up every day with a dry nose, and a sore dry through then you should consider using a humidifier.

In reality, most families need both a humidifier and a dehumidifier in the home to make sure that the environment indoors can be regulated to a happy medium that suits everyone’s needs throughout the year.

Humidifier supplying plants with mist water

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