humidifier distributes steam in the living room against the back

Knowing when to use it can prove useful if you’re only considering purchasing a brand-new humidifier or already have one. Yes, it sounds like pretty basic knowledge, but you’d be surprised how many people use their humidifiers incorrectly. 

And since you’re here, we can assume you aren’t sure of that either. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, as there’s much more to humidifiers than meets the eye. And since a humidifier can only do its job properly when you use it correctly, we want to ensure you get the most out of your purchase. 

With that in mind, we’ve prepared the following guide. 

Signs that You Might Need to Use a Humidifier

The purpose of a humidifier is to, well, humidify the air. Humidifiers achieve that by dispersing moisture into the air. When used correctly, a humidifier can help alleviate numerous problems associated with dry air, such as dry skin, asthma, allergies, dry throat, cough, nose irritation, and cracked lips. 

If you experience any such issues, it might be a sign that the air inside your house or apartment is too dry. Introducing a humidifier can resolve this problem, ensuring the inside air remains moisturized. 

On the other hand, excessive or incorrect use of a humidifier can result in extreme dampness. Such a condition can cause rot and decay to your furniture and might also lead to the increase of mold, mildew, and bacteria. 

To prevent that, the best idea is to learn how and when to use your humidifier. We’ll deal with that in the following paragraphs. 

Using a Humidifier in the Winter and Summer

Since winter is the “driest” of all seasons, it is the best time of year to use a humidifier. The dry air during winter can severely dehydrate your skin, hair, nails, and nose. You name it. That’s the season of cracked lips, dry hands, and crusty noses. 

And it’s not just the winter air that causes it. To battle freezing temperatures, we tend to blast central heating. And while it’s impossible to go through the winter months without your furnace constantly running, it can dehydrate your home air even further. 

This is where a humidifier will prove itself most useful, restoring lost moisture and properly humidifying indoor air. 

With winter being the driest season, using a humidifier during colder months is a must, especially if you have problems with dry skin, nose, hair, etc. But what about the summer? Since it’s the winter’s opposite, one would assume there’s no need to use a humidifier during summer. 

Should you use one, then? The answer is yes. 

While the outdoor air might remain relatively humid, it doesn’t always translate to your indoor air. Furthermore, if you live in an area where summers are extremely hot and humid, you probably have your air conditioning working almost 24/7. 

And as great as AC systems are, they can significantly decrease the air’s moisture levels. If that’s the case in your house, using a humidifier to balance the amount of humidity decreased by the AC is an excellent option. 

A humidifier in the summer is also recommended if you often sunbathe or cool yourself down in a chlorinated pool. 

Warm Mist vs. Cold Mist Humidifiers

Okay, we’ve proved that using a humidifier, although for different reasons, is recommended both during warmer and colder months. The next issue is deciding when to use a warm mist humidifier and a cold mist humidifier. 

While both can prove themselves more than useful, they work better in specific circumstances and seasons. So yes, which one you use and when matters. 

  • When to use a warm mist humidifier?
    Warm mist humidifiers work best during winter when the air is cold and dry. Essentially, they generate moisture by dispersing steam into the air, allowing them to warm it. On the other hand, warm mist humidifiers aren’t recommended if you have little kids or pets, as the boiling water can cause a burn when the humidifier is touched. 
  • When to use a cool mist humidifier?
    A cool mist humidifier might be a better option for warmer months. It’s also better if you have kids or pets, especially newborns. That’s because cooled air is more smoothing to breathe into. Cool mist humidifiers are also more energy efficient, as they don’t need to boil the water to disperse it into the air. 

When to Use a Humidifier for a Baby?

Another question many humidifier users ask themselves is when and how to use one with the baby at home. As covered, if you have a newborn, the best option is a cool mist humidifier, as it has less risk of causing a burn. 

When to use it? As with adults, you should use one during colder and warmer seasons. You should also keep an eye on your room’s air humidity levels. They should be between 40-60%, and you should use a humidifier to keep that balance. 

Another way to tell your newborn’s room humidity is too low is when it starts coughing or you notice signs of minor nasal congestion. The good idea is to use an air humidifier at night to help your newborn sleep better. 

Using a Humidifier: Best Practices

It’s not just about when but also how you use your humidifier. If you want to get the most out of it, you should apply the following practices:

  • Refresh the water frequently and wash your humidifier’s water container and filter to prevent the mold or bacteria from settling;
  • Set your humidifier to maintain a healthy air moisture level (40-60%) for the best results;
  • Use your humidifier all year round, especially at night.

Key Takeaways

As covered, using a humidifier is an excellent idea, no matter the season. Whether winter or summer, an efficient air humidifier can be the key to maintaining healthy humidity levels indoors, ensuring you don’t experience any dry air-related issues, such as dry throat, dry skin, dry cough, allergies, or nose irritation. 

Indeed, if you know you have problems with such conditions, using a humidifier is a must. That said, we really recommend you invest in one. And if you already have a humidifier, don’t hesitate to keep it running all year round. Just be sure you don’t exceed the 70% humidity threshold, as it will lead to over-humidified air.