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Humidifier Vs Dehumidifier: What’s the Difference

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Both humidifier and dehumidifier have their own significance, purposes and capacities. Choosing between them depends on the humidity levels present in your surroundings or localities you live in.

In this article, we will learn when you need a humidifier or dehumidifier. We shall discuss the different types and also have a comparison between the duo.

Let us get started with our discussion.

Before that, let us try to know what a humidifier and dehumidifier are.

What is Humidifier?

A humidifier is a device that increases the humidity levels in your space by adding some moisture. It emits water vapour or steam into the dry air and brings up the levels. Lower humidity levels can result in issues like chapped lips, dry throat, nose, and skin. It is essential to increase the dampness in the surrounding air and prevent these. Moreover, you need to keep the skin moistened and clear the nasal passages.

How Does a Humidifier Work?

The working mechanism of a humidifier is simple and is the same for any model or type. These devices contain sensors inside them that sense the humidity level in the room or the living space. Accordingly, if the levels are low, the humidifier switches on. The moment it turns on, the water present in its reservoir starts evaporating into the dry air. Consequently, it increases the humidity levels in the air.

What Is a Dehumidifier?

DehumidifiersA dehumidifier is a device that decreases the humidity levels in your space by eliminating moisture. It absorbs the moisture into its device using a fan and lowers the levels. Higher humidity levels or moist air can result in issues like mould, bacteria, and other allergy-causing triggers. It is essential to decrease the water vapour in the surrounding air and prevent the growth of these.

How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

Let us learn about how a dehumidifier works. It features a refrigerant coil, a heat-based coil, and a fan. The fan draws the moisture from the air to the device and allows it to pass through the coil. The refrigerant coil cools down the moist air and condenses the moisture from it. As a result, you will get cold and dry air.

Again, this cold and dry air is allowed to pass through a heat-based coil, where it is made to come down to your room temperature. After that, the device releases this air back to your room with the help of a fan and through a duct. On a whole, the dehumidifier works on the refrigerator and heat-based system.

Let us now compare the differences between a humidifier and a dehumidifier.

Humidifier Vs. Dehumidifier

Many confuse between a humidifier and a dehumidifier. The only similarity between the duo is that they work to regulate the moisture levels in the air. However, they both are very different and are for different purposes. Let us see how they are different.

The below table depicts the characteristic differences between a humidifier and a dehumidifier. It gives a comparative analysis that will help you know how different both devices are:

Parameters Humidifiers Dehumidifiers
Purpose A humidifier works to increase the
humidity levels of a room or a given space.
A dehumidifier works to lower the humidity levels of a room or a given space.
Uses Humidifiers are designed for use during winter or cold months, especially when the air is dry. Dehumidifiers are specially for use during hot or humid months, especially when there is moisture in the air.
Ideal For Humidifiers are ideal for either a single
room or the whole house.
Dehumidifiers are ideal for either a single room or the whole house.
Benefits A humidifier helps deal with issues like chapped lips, dry throat, nose, and skin caused due to the dry climate. It keeps the skin moistened and clears the nasal passages. A dehumidifier helps get rid of the mould, bacteria and other allergy causing triggers in the air.
Humidity levels You will need a humidifier when the humidity levels in the air are less than 35%. You will need a dehumidifier when the humidity levels in the air are more than 50%.

Let us Discuss about Each Parameter in detail below:

1. Purpose

The acceptable range for humidity is between 30% to 50%. Anything between this range is ideal and highly recommended for good health. However, it can be challenging to maintain the range, especially during extreme winter or summer climates. It is when you need a humidifier and a dehumidifier.

A humidifier helps in bringing up the humidity levels in the air and increases the dampness Similarly, a dehumidifier helps reduce the humidity levels in the surrounding by decreasing the water vapour.

You need to use a hygrometer to measure the level of humidity in the air. It will let you know whether you require a humidifier or dehumidifier at your home.

2. Uses

Humidifiers are exclusively for use during winter or cold months, especially when the air is dry. They emit water vapour or steam into the dry air and bring up the humidity levels.

Dehumidifiers are specially for use during hot or humid months, especially when there is moisture in the air.

3. Benefits

Lower humidity levels or dry climate can result in issues like chapped lips, dry throat, nose, and skin. A humidifier helps in increasing the dampness in the surrounding air. It keeps the skin moistened and clears the nasal passages.

Higher humidity levels or moist air can result in issues like mould, bacteria, and other allergy-causing triggers. A dehumidifier helps in decreasing the water vapour in the surrounding air and reduces the chances of allergy.

4. When to Use

Is the humidity level in the air is less than 35% in your place? You need a humidifier to bring up the levels. Similarly, if humidity levels in the air are more than 50%, you need a dehumidifier. It helps bring down the moisture in the air.

What Are The Various Types of Humidifiers Available?

Humidifiers are basically of two types. They are:

  1. Warm Mist Humidifiers
  2. Cool Mist Humidifiers

Both types perform their job of effectively adding moisture to the air. However, the way they create moisture is different, and this is what differentiates one from the other. Let us discuss about these types in detail below:

1. Warm Mist Humidifiers

The warm mist humidifiers are also known as steam vaporizers, sometimes.

Working Mechanism

As the name says, a warm mist humidifier uses heat to humidify any place. This device features a heating element and a water reservoir. When the water in the reservoir boils, it produces steam which is emitted into the air. Whenever this steam gets released into the air, it brings up the moisture or humidity level of your room or area.

The best thing about using a warm mist humidifier is that the boiling water inside hampers the growth of harmful bacteria in the device. It further prevents them from getting dispersed into the air.

You have to be careful when using a humidifier. Avoid putting it in your child’s room as the steam emitted from it is very hot. Moreover, it can even burn your skin when you come in direct contact with it.

Cost

The warm mist humidifiers are very cost-effective and inexpensive, too.

2. Cool Mist Humidifiers

Cool mist humidifiers are the safest option in comparison to warm mist humidifiers.

Working Mechanism

As the name goes by, the cool mist humidifiers work by dispensing cool water droplets into the air or your room. Thereby, they escalate the humidity levels.

The best thing about using a cool-mist humidifier is that it does not boil water like its warm mist counterparts. Hence, it is safe, and there is no risk of getting burnt.

The disadvantage of a dehumidifier is that there is a higher risk of harmful bacterial growth in the device. Furthermore, it may even get dispersed into the air.

The other drawback is that they need frequent cleaning.

Types of Cool Mist Humidifiers

Cool mist humidifiers are further available in different types, and they are:

  1. Evaporative
  2. Ultrasonic
  3. Impeller

Let us discuss in detail about each type below:

1. Evaporative Humidifier

The evaporative humidifier features a fan and a filter. This fan blows cool air through this filter that moisturizes the air in the room. You will have to replace these filters regularly, as and when needed. Because of the fan and filter, this cool mist humidifier is larger than the other types.

2. Ultrasonic Humidifier

The ultrasonic humidifiers feature two spinning wet plates that produce vibration. This vibration further produces an extra-fine water mist that disperses into the room. These models do not contain any filters to replace, unlike the evaporative devices. Hence, you can save a lot of bucks on these variants in the long run. Although these cold mist humidifiers produce vibration, these are the quietest of all types.

The best thing about the ultrasonic cool mist humidifier is that some of these models come with additional features. These include aromatherapy features, a USB power, colour-changing LED lights, etc., that make them look very stylish.

3. Impeller Humidifier

The impeller humidifiers feature a rapidly spinning disc or ceramic plate. It plays a crucial role in breaking the water into tiny droplets that further get dispersed into the air. The impeller cool mist humidifiers are louder than all the other types. Although these devices are cheaper, they require regular maintenance to prevent the growth of bacteria inside the humidifiers.

What Are The Various Types of Dehumidifiers Available?

Just like the humidifiers, even the dehumidifiers come in various types. They are:

  1. Thermoelectric Dehumidifiers
  2. Refrigerated Coil Dehumidifiers
  3. Desiccant Dehumidifiers

All these models perform their job of effectively reducing moisture in the air. However, the way they work for this cause is different. Let us discuss about these types in detail below:

1. Thermoelectric Dehumidifiers

The thermoelectric dehumidifiers feature a fan, a cool heat sink, and a water reservoir. The device pulls the damp air through this fan and allows it to run through a cool heat sink. While passing through the cold surface, this air gets condensed. During this condensation process, the water gets accumulated in the water reservoir. Now, the dry air will be released back into your room or place.

2. Refrigerated Coil Dehumidifiers

The refrigerated coil dehumidifiers have a working mechanism similar to your refrigerator. They feature a compressor that comes built-in with these devices, a fan, and a water reservoir.

The fan absorbs hot air inside and allows it to pass through the cold coils. This initiates the condensation process where the water produces gets accumulated into the water reservoir. Now, the dry air is reheated and released back into your room or place. Hence, refrigerated coil dehumidifiers are also known as compressor dehumidifiers.

3. Desiccant Dehumidifiers

Unlike the thermoelectric and refrigerated dehumidifiers, the desiccant dehumidifiers do not come with a water reservoir. Instead, they feature a desiccant wheel that helps absorb the air from the room into the device. This wheel comes with silica gel that keeps the air dry by pulling out the excess moisture from the air.

Not all the air that enters inside the desiccant dehumidifier leaves out. Only 75% of it will leave the device after it gets processed as warm, dry air. The remaining 25% will be used as the reactivation air. The heat boosters present in the dehumidifier heat this air to very high temperatures. They further extract the moisture from the silica gel and keep the device going for a longer time.

As mentioned earlier, a desiccant dehumidifier does not come with a water reservoir for removing the moisture. Unlike the other types of dehumidifiers, these models have wet reactivated air as their by-product. This air gets released outside the room or the building through an air outlet.

The desiccant dehumidifiers are available in larger sizes, as well. These versions usually come with a generator and run on fuel. The advantage of these devices is that they can tolerate power fluctuations.

How Do You Maintain Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers?

Both humidifiers and dehumidifiers require regular maintenance to enhance their performance. Let us learn what is the maintenance routine to follow for both devices:

Maintenance Routine For a Humidifier

Below are steps to follow for maintaining your humidifier:

  • It is advisable to use only distilled or demineralized water in your humidifiers. Using this water helps inhibit the growth of bacteria and mould in the water reservoirs and filters.
  • Regularly clean the water tank and filter.
  • Never leave the water in the water reservoir for more than a day. Else, it may pave a way for the build-up of bacteria or mould inside.
  • Whenever you are cleaning the water tank, make sure to rinse it thoroughly. It helps avoid the release of harmful chemicals.
  • Always ensure that the surroundings of the humidifier are dry. It will help you notice any leaks from the device, and further curbs the chances for bacterial or mould build-up near the unit.

Maintenance Routine For a Dehumidifier

Below are steps to follow for maintaining your humidifier:

  • Regularly clean the coil and water reservoir.
  • Never leave the water in the water reservoir for more than a day. Else, it may pave a way for the build-up of bacteria or mould inside.
  • During winter seasons or cold weather, frost may form on the coils. Keep checking for it, as the frost can reduce the efficiency of your dehumidifier.

Which Humidity Regulating Device Do You Need? Whether a Humidifier or a Dehumidifier?

How do you know whether you need a humidifier or dehumidifier at your home? You need to check for the humidity levels first. The optimal range for humidity inside is between 30% to 50%. Anything between this range is ideal and highly recommended for good health. You will have to keep monitoring the levels at least once a week. It will give you a clear picture of whether you require a humidifier or a dehumidifier.

If the humidity levels are less than 30%, you need to have a humidifier at your home. If the levels are beyond 50%, you need a dehumidifier to reduce the water vapour in the air.

Maintaining the humidity range can be very challenging, especially during extreme winter or summer climates. You should know that weather plays a crucial role in deciding whether you need a humidifier or a dehumidifier.

A Few Words To Conclude:

Lower humidity levels or dry climate can result in issues like chapped lips, dry throat, nose, and skin. A humidifier helps in increasing the dampness in the surrounding air. It keeps the skin moistened and clears the nasal passages. Higher humidity levels or moist air can result in issues like mould, bacteria, and other allergy-causing triggers. A dehumidifier helps in decreasing the water vapour in the surrounding air and reduces the chances of allergy. Make an informed decision depending on the humidity levels at your home or place. I hope this article will help you choose the right device you may need. Do share this information with your friends and let them know about the humidity levels.

Write to us in the comments section below, if you have any questions or need more information on humidifiers and dehumidifiers. We will answer all your queries at the earliest with relevant info.

Please share your feedback with us by posting your inputs in the comments below. If you feel that we missed out on any points, do not hesitate to let us know. We welcome your suggestions and would love to hear from you.

Stay healthy and stay safe!!!

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