The best air purifiers and humidifiers on the market can do a lot to improve the indoor air quality in a home.
Whether your priority is clean air, alleviating dry air, or both, these machines are the best way to go about it.
If you are interested in pollutant-free air and increasing humidity, you may be concerned that the two machines can’t work together in the same home.
Let’s discuss the purpose of each machine, the different types, and how they interact in a single room.
Purpose of An Air Purifier
Air purifiers are excellent devices for cleaning the air in your home. Every time you open a door or window, fresh air from outside comes in and brings some contaminants with it: allergens like pet dander and pollen, microorganisms like viruses and bacteria, and more. You’ll also have dust mites, mold spores, and various odours and invisible gases floating around as well. Once these things enter your home, they aren’t really able to get back out, so your home ends up becoming far more polluted than the outside air. An air purifier is designed to remove all of the air pollution in your home with the use of air filters or other purification methods.
The two most common types of filters used in air purifiers are HEPA filters and activated carbon filters. HEPA filters can trap particulates as small as 0.3 microns, so they are incredibly efficient at trapping dust, microbes, allergens, and more. Activated carbon filters are an adsorbent filter that trap odours and gases. If your home is affected by strong cooking smells, smoke, or you worry about VOCs (volatile organic compounds), a carbon filter can help remove those pollutants. There are other types of air purifiers that don’t use filters at all, but they aren’t as common or as effective.
Filtration of contaminants in the air can help improve your health by reducing the concentration of pathogens in your home, it can help keep the home cleaner by removing dust, and it can increase the longevity of your HVAC system by ensuring that the interior components stay clean and fully functional. You can use air purifiers if you’re targeting one of these effects or all of them.
Purpose of A Humidifier
Humidifiers are machines that add moisture and some heat to the air in a room. They use an air quality sensor called a humidistat to gather relative humidity readings to maintain an ideal level of humidity. Make sure you know what the relative humidity is in your home before purchasing a humidifier, because you may actually need a dehumidifier instead.
Humidifiers can use a number of different methods to add water vapor to the air. Most commonly they create steam and then cool it before it leaves the machine, but some use other methods to add water vapor in the absence of heat to make it safer for children. As a general rule, you should always use reverse osmosis or distilled water to ensure that your humidifier is not adding and contaminants to the air. These types of water will also keep your machine cleaner and therefore reduce maintenance demands.
Humidifiers have a number of positive effects on you and your home. Low humidity levels can result in sinus problems, dry skin, cracking wallpaper, and ageing furniture among other things. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends a minimum humidity of 35% to ensure health. People suffering from frequent asthma attacks or frequent nosebleeds from dry nasal passages will notice a major improvement with the addition of a humidifier to the home. In the wintertime, a humidifier can also help reduce the strain on the heating system since the air will already be warmer than average.
Types of Air Purifiers
The most common type of air purifier is a HEPA air purifier. They are the most popular because of their effectiveness and versatile trapping ability; aside from odours and gases, they can trap all pollutants in the air. They are almost always incredibly portable units, and fairly affordable. They do require regular filter cleanings and annual replacements, but they won’t cost you an arm and a leg for maintenance.
Activated carbon air purifiers use a carbon filter to trap VOCs and other gases such as cigarette smoke or chemical fumes. Strong cooking odours and odours from other sources can also be contained with this purifier type. Carbon filters are often combined with true HEPA filters to create maximum efficacy in an air purifier.
UV air purifiers don’t use air purifier filters at all, but instead use UV light to kill pathogens in the air. This is the best choice for people who suffer from frequent illness but aren’t too worried about other airborne particles in the air; a UV air purifier cannot trap dust or allergens and would need to be combined with some kind of filter in order to do so.
Ionic air purifiers create negative ions and send them out into the general space of a room. These ions bind to particulate matter in the air, making the particles heavy enough to fall onto surfaces like floors and windowsills. While this does remove the contamination from the air that you breathe, it is still trapped in your room. This process will increase the amount of cleaning you need to do, and it is always possible that the particles can be swept back into the air. Ionizers are the least popular type of air purifier as a result, but it is one you should consider if quiet operation and minimal maintenance are your ideals for an air purifier.
Types of Humidifiers
There are a number of humidifier types that can be loosely grouped into warm mist humidifiers and cool mist humidifiers. Some humidifiers use heat to produce the mist, and others don’t. This is the only major distinction for humidifier classification.
Steam vaporisers are a popular type of humidifier. They create steam using electricity and then cool the mist before sending it out into the room. The steam can still be hot upon exit though, so it is not recommended that you use these machines around children or pets that can burn themselves accidentally.
Ultrasonic humidifiers also create water vapor, but instead of using electricity, these humidifiers use vibrations. This type of humidifier creates a cool mist and is therefore safe for children. They operate very quietly and are seemingly the most popular type of humidifier for home and office use. Impeller humidifiers use rotating disks to create vapor and are therefore also very safe for children.
Evaporators are a more unique type of humidifier. They use fans to blow air past evaporating water; the air collects the evaporated water droplets and disperses into the room. The steam from this type will be warm as well due to the temperature of the evaporated water.
No matter what type of humidifier you choose to use, it is essential that you don’t use water than contains any mineral particles as they can damage the machine. Cleaning your machine on a regular basis will ensure it is putting clean air out into the room; this is especially important if you are using an air purifier in conjunction with your humidifier, as you don’t want to negate its effects with dirty water vapor.
Can I Use An Air Purifier and Humidifier Together?
Air purifiers and humidifiers can work very effectively in the same room. Since their functions are very different, many homes will require both machines; you won’t need to worry about them interfering with each other when used in the same area. One major note to make is that you need to consider the type of water that you’re using to fill the humidifier tank. If you are using any water source other than distilled or reverse osmosis water, there is the potential for your humidifier to introduce more contaminants into the air attached to the water vapor. This will increase the demand on the purifier and is just not an efficient way to do things. As long as you’re using ultra clean water, an air purifier and humidifier can work very well together in the house.
Should I Get An Air Purifier-Humidifier Combo?
If your home is in need of air purification and an increase in humidity levels, you may wish to purchase an air purifier-humidifier combo rather than purchase each machine on its own. There are a number of manufacturers that combine these two different purposes into a single machine. Of course, you won’t have as much control over what type of humidifier and air purifier are built into the machine, but that is really the only downside aside from a slight decrease in effectiveness. Purchasing a two-in-one machine will save you money on the initial purchase, reduce energy consumption, and save on maintenance costs. Plus, it will be easier to move a single machine around the home to work where it is most needed rather than juggling two separate units with different functions.