How You Can Tell If You Need a Humidifier
Setting up a humidifier can improve breathing and reduce lung problems. Learn if you need a humidifier and the five types available.
Static in your hair or the sparks that fly when you touch someone or something in winter are sure signs the air in your house is too dry.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Setting up a humidifier is your best bet for improving indoor air quality and your breathing, says pulmonologist Kathrin Nicolacakis, MD.
“When the air is dry, your respiratory system just isn’t happy. Even if you have no medical problems at all, you can suffer,” she says. “Your skin and nasal passages get dry – all the way down to your lungs. You can wake up with a dry mouth and start coughing for no reason.”
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping your home’s humidity level between 30% and 50%. It also suggests using filtered water in humidifiers, if possible, to avoid the minerals and micro-organisms that unfiltered water might contain.
Dry air can wreak havoc on your nose and lungs and make existing conditions worse, Dr. Nicolacakis says. And, humidity levels that aren’t optimal can harm everyone.
Using a humidifier can relieve:
Regardless of what kind of humidifier you choose, she says, everyone should have some type of humidifier in their home, Dr. Nicolacakis says.
“There’s no magic to a humidifier,” she points out. “But, if you use one, you will feel better.” Here’s a quick breakdown of the types available:
You need to keep tabs on your humidifier to ensure it’s clean and in proper working order, Dr. Nicolacakis says. Try following these three simple steps:
Consider purchasing a hygrometer that will keep a constant measure of your home’s humidity, she says.
“Humidifiers are a preventive measure. Without proper humidity, the air is uncomfortable,” Dr. Nicolacakis says. “This is about maintaining your health.”