What Does A Humidifier Do?

Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier, HCM-350

Humidifiers Will Create Air Moisture In The Dry Winter Months 


A humidifier is a home appliance used to raise the level of air moisture inside. To answer the question – What does a humidifier do? Or, how does a humidifier work? First we need to know why it is needed.


In parts of the globe where there is 4 seasons, the cold weather can be very unpleasant because of the level of water vapor in the air. Humidity is a measure of that water vapor in the air.

When the amount of humidity is up there, it represents the air is already holding large amounts of water and cannot absorb anymore.

Therefore we don’t perspire and we feel hotter than it really is. However when humidity is low, it represents the air can absorb more moisture in, so one sweats more quickly and the air sucks in the water vapor. Therefore we feel cooler than we should.


Neither of those extremes is desirable. At low humidity, one may suffer from epidermal dryness and the temperature will seem to drop. Wooden furniture may also need repair as the dryness will make them shrink and crack. To bypass this damage, a humidifier can be used to artificially raise the humidity.

So how does a humidifier operate? Well, basically it pumps water into the air thus causing the humidity level rise. When the humidity is increased, water can’t turn into vapor. Moisture in our bodies as well as in objects will then raise and we feel warmer.


There are various types of humidifiers. Therefore, how does a humidifier operate? It depends on what kind it is.


evaporative humidifierEvaporation.

This type of humidifier has 2 basic parts: a fan and a wet base. The fan blows air across a wet area. The air then takes the water vapor alongside with it and spreads it across the place. If you operate a humidifier of this type, make sure you keep the wet pad clean to prevent bacterial contamination.

vaporizerSteam or Vaporizers.

A vaporizer puts in water vapor to the air via distributing steam. The machine has a bowl where water is heated to vapor and then released. Any leftover minerals are of course left behind when the water evaporates. The plus side of this kind of humidifier is it destroys bacteria because of the boiling procedure, so it is cleaner.


warm mist humidifier

Warm Mist.

This humidifier is basically identical as a vaporizer. However prior to blowing steam into the room, the machine cools it down first. The expellant is then warm misty air.


cool mist humidifier

Cool Mist

A cool mist humidifier works by expelling water droplets into the room. Of course this is only as clean as the water that is used in it, since the water is not boiled.

ultrasonic humidifier


This humidifier deploys high-frequency sound waves to break up and disperse tiny water droplets into a room. Most bacteria are killed in the procedure, however not everything.


It is a good thing to know how a humidifier functions. The operation of a humidifier can allow one be more comfortable during winter. It may also assist humidity-sensitive perishables such as wood, wine as well as cigars to last longer. Choose the right one for your house and have a warmer winter.

Humidifiers are essential for creating a balanced environment in your home. If the air is too dry, wood and fabrics can be damaged.

The air temperature will feel more extreme, hot and cold. The drier your air, the more apparent these effects will become. For example, look at the firewood during the summer and you will see the damage resulting from a lack of water.

On the other hand, overly humid air can cause problems in your home as well, so we always suggest a humidistat or hygrometer if your humidifier does not already have one. There are three basic types of humidifiers you can choose from: steaming, ultrasonic, and a wick humidifier.


A steaming humidifier boils water to release a warm vapor into the air. This boiling process destroys many bacteria that are carried into your air with the water, while also removing minerals from the steam. The warm vapor can help to lower heating needs in the winter because moderate humidity will make the air in your home feel warmer.

An ultrasonic humidifier produces nearly no sound and releases a soothing cool vapor into your air. Because no boiling process is involved, the vapor will not add heat to the room. Also, the ultrasonic waves that are used to vaporize the water are well above our hearing range, therefore the unit is entirely silent unless a fan is included.

A wick or “sponge” humidifiers is most common humidifier seen on the market.  A wick humidifier will soak up or pump water into mesh material and then push air through the mesh causing some of the water to evaporate; much like an evaporative cooler works.

This gives the benefit of a cool mist or cool vapor output. Often wick humidifiers come with filters that must be changed occasionally because they will collect minerals on the filters.


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