Humidifiers & Vaporizers: Inexpensive Investments in Health and Comfort

by Debra Karplus

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We explore how vaporizers and humidifiers can be relatively cheap investments in your overall health and comfort during cold weather months.

According to and numerous other reputable websites, the indoor moisture level inside your home should be between 30% and 50% for optimal health for you, your family and your home.

Dehumidifiers are especially helpful, especially during spring, fall and summer, if you are not using central air conditioning in your home to keep moisture levels from getting too high.

So why might you also need a humidifier or vaporizer?

Certain Health Symptoms Might Indicate a Need for a Humidifier

Especially during cold weather months, you may notice that your nose, lips, skin, or other parts feel unusually dry, maybe even itchy. Possibly, your allergies are more annoying than usual, and you are experiencing more colds or respiratory problems. Maybe your mate accuses you of snoring more, or perhaps when you touch something in the house, you get that little electrical spark.

All of these are signs that the humidity in your house may be too low.

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Your House and Personal Possessions Can Be Damaged by Low Humidity

Too much dryness in a house can also do permanent damage to things inside the house, particularly those made of wood, like your treasured furniture, wooden baseboards, and built-in cupboards, cabinets and shelving.

How Do You Know If You Need a Humidifier?

Your first line of defense is to check the humidity levels inside various rooms in your home. That can easily be done using a hygrometer. For $10 or less, you can go to any big box or discount store and buy one or order one from Amazon:

Give the hygrometer some time in various areas inside your home to test humidity levels. Be sure all windows and doors to the outside are closed to get the most accurate reading. If levels are hovering below approximately 30%, then it may be time to start measuring the number of rooms in your home that may need to have the humidity increased and start looking online at dehumidifiers.

A Few Things To Consider When Choosing a Humidifier

What size and type of humidifier should you buy, and how many do you need?

Cool vs. Warm Mist Humidifiers

Your first decision is whether you should purchase a cool mist versus a warm mist humidifier.

According to, warm mist humidifiers are perfect in small rooms and are more inclined to kill bacteria and mold than cool mist humidifiers. However, there are many important advantages to using a cool mist humidifier. They typically use less electricity, are great in large areas of your home, and don’t have the risk of burns as warm mist humidifiers do, which is an important consideration if there are small children in your family.

Humidifier Features

Look at online consumer ratings to determine features you want, such as ease of use. Also, it’s important to know how noisy the humidifier is, especially if it will be in a bedroom or a part of the house where you entertain guests.

You also want to know if it has a timer or automatic shut-off when humidity reaches the desired level, as well as how often you will need to add water to it. Maintenance varies from model to model, but typically just involves cleaning the tank regularly to reduce the risk of mold. You should expect to pay between $45 and $170, depending on the size and features of the desired humidifier.

Humidifier Sizes

When it comes to humidifier size, you have several options.

There are table-top models for tiny areas. Small ones are great for areas of less than 300 square feet. Medium humidifiers work for areas of 300 to 499 square feet. Large ones are great for 500 to 999-square-foot areas, and extra-large humidifiers are designed for square footage of greater than 1000. There are also whole-house humidifiers that are tapped into the ducts of your heating system and are best installed by a heating and cooling professional.

When To Choose a Vaporizer Instead of a Humidifier

Vaporizers are great in small areas and are especially helpful in a bedroom for those with respiratory problems since they typically use an inhalant like eucalyptus. Though they are great for a respirator system, they do nothing to help soothe dry skin.

They require much more maintenance than humidifiers, and because they spew a warm mist into the air, there is a great risk of burns. You should expect to pay between $11 and $90 for a vaporizer.

For under about $200, a humidifier or vaporizer can be a relatively cheap investment in your overall health.

Reviewed October 2023

About the Author

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on Amazon (Kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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