Your latest bout with a winter cold might have you looking for relief and a cool-mist humidifier is often the solution to go. Cool mist humidifiers can ease the unpleasant physical effects of winter like dry sinuses, itchy skin, and chapped lips. But many people wonder does a humidifier makes a room cold?
A humidifier makes us feel better because it changes the relative humidity indoors. Although a new humidifier may seem unassuming, it is a complex machine that can have profound effects on your environment.
Cool mist humidifiers do not reduce the temperature in the room. After running for a while, they might actually make the room feel a bit warmer, though the actual temperature is not changed. This may seem counter-intuitive, but there is a simple science behind why.
We’re here to help you get what you need out of your humidifier, whether you’ve had it for years or are looking for a new one. Let’s explore the way a humidifier will change your indoor environment.
Why Doesn’t a Cool Mist Humidifier Cool the Room?
Moisture evaporating from our skin is nature’s original air conditioner. This is why we might crave a swim on a hot summer day, or find a shower cools us down better than a fan.
Initially, a cool mist humidifier might make the room feel cooler–but only for a short time. It sends moisture into previously dry air, which may then evaporate from your skin before the air becomes more humid. However, as the humidity levels in the room increase, evaporation decreases.
We feel warmer because less moisture is evaporating off of our skin.
So although it may seem odd at first that a cold mist can warm a room, we can work with science to figure out the best humidifier regime for our needs.
A warm steam humidifier can slightly raise the ambient temperature in the room, but a cool mist won’t change the actual degrees. A cool mist humidifier will give you more control over your environment.
How Does A Cool Mist Humidifier Work?
Humidifiers operate on simple principles. Attention to detail is essential for proper use and maintenance. There are several types of humidifiers and three main kinds you would expect to find in the average American household.
The first most common is ultrasonic. A metal piece that emits an ultrasonic frequency is central to how these humidifiers function. This frequency essentially vibrates and breaks up water droplets into the air.
These affordable humidifiers use a minimal amount of electricity, making them a popular choice for personal and household use.
Tip: look for one that has a built-in demineralization filter.
The other common kind of cool mist humidifier uses a self-regulating wick. The “element” in these is an absorbent material, such as paper or foam, that soaks up water from a reservoir. Then a fan blows over this wick, distributing the moisture into the air.
The natural balance of water in the air and the wick means that if the air becomes saturated, the humidifier releases less moisture.
Alternately, a vaporizer-type humidifier uses more electricity because it relies on heating the water to create steam. The biggest downside to vaporizer humidifiers is the risk of burns, which for an already overwhelmed parent or pet owner is simply not worth it.
Some may not like the slight increase in room temperature that a steam humidifier can create.
Tip: Humidifiers that use heat may not be suitable for homes with children, pets, or the elderly.
This type of humidifier is not so common these days. It makes use of the rotating disc to fling the water to a diffuser and then break the water down into water droplets. It is similar to ultrasonic units but there is some mechanical noise.
So, which humidifier is the best?
To determine that, you’ll want to assess your personal reasons for using a humidifier, and know about the benefits.
What Are The Benefits of a Cool Mist Humidifier?
The main reasons people use cool mist humidifiers in their homes have everything to do with creature comforts and the benefits they provide. We may love the cozy heat our wood-stove produces, but the toll winter dryness takes on our sinuses and skin can go so far as causing health issues.
So, why use a humidifier?
WebMD recommends an indoor humidity level of 30%-50%. A good humidifier provides the moisture our cells need to be more comfortable. We all know the importance of drinking eight glasses of water a day, but if your environment is excessively dry, you’ll still feel parched.
When a person’s sinuses are dried out, it may make them more susceptible to infection. A good humidifier, when used correctly, replenishes our sinuses, lips, and skin. As a bonus, adding humidity to the air can reduce its capacity to carry viruses.
If we do catch sick, Julie Baughn M.D. of the MayoClinic advises that a cool mist humidifier might help ease your woes.
“Cool mist humidifiers may help ease coughing and congestion due to a cold. But more research is needed. Some research has found that heated humidifiers don’t help cold symptoms.”
So if you’re feeling a sniffle or waking up with a Saharan-like dry throat every morning, it may be time to invest in some cool mist.
Are Cool Mist Humidifiers Okay For Winter Use?
The short answer is yes, and the long answer has everything to do with your needs and how sensitive you are to your environment! Whatever these specifications are, there is sure to be a clear answer about which humidifier is best.
If illness prevention and symptom relief are your primary concern, then a cool mist humidifier is preferable. The mist is room-temperature by the time you breathe it in, meaning it’s less irritating to your sinuses and throat.
Cool mist humidifiers also tend to cover a larger area of the home and be a bit more efficient all around. So if you’re trying to make your bedroom less of a desert while you sleep, an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier will definitely do the job.
Some people are highly sensitive to changes in air temperature, even by a few degrees. Maybe you’ve worked hard to calibrate your furnace so that it stays a perfect 72 degrees day in and day out and don’t want to mess with perfection.
The good news is that a cool mist humidifier won’t mess with your curated room temp. If general dryness is bothering you, you can raise humidity without cooling the room down.
Alternately, here are a few reasons you might consider a vaporizer humidifier:
- If you want a little extra warmth in the room.
- You don’t need the humidifier for health reasons.
- You don’t have children or pets who could get burned.
- You don’t want to deal with sanitization.
The disclaimer about cool mist humidifiers is that it’s important to read and follow the instruction manual exactly when it comes to caring and cleaning. Left unattended, wick and ultrasonic humidifiers can accumulate mold and bacteria. Make sure to keep some quality vinegar on hand!
Since we’ve established that a cool mist humidifier won’t drop the room temperature, what are better ways to cool a room?
Check here to know the proper humidifier settings in the winter and summer.
How To Cool Off A Stuffy Room
Let’s imagine we’re in a place where popping an air conditioner into the window isn’t an option. How can we get a more comfortable temperature going?
One of the oldest tricks is working with nature. Keep windows and curtains open during the cooler night or early hours of the morning. As soon as the sun starts streaking in, close everything up to preserve the pleasantly-chill temperature.
Level up your box fan with a DIY air conditioner and place a bowl of ice, water, or ice water in front of the breeze. Much like an AC or a wick humidifier works, the fan will evaporate the water into the air, and the ice will chill the subsequent breeze as it flows into the room.
Another way to keep a room cool that might not come to mind is to make sure you’re using lights that don’t emit much heat. If you haven’t made the switch to LED yet, and you’re finding yourself sweltering in your armchair, it might be a sign that it’s time to leave the incandescent bulbs behind.
Sadly, sometimes the heat is so oppressive, that there’s not much choice but to go out and buy an AC.
Cool Mist Humidifiers Can’t Cool The room But They Are A Great Choice
Even though cool mist humidifiers don’t make the room cool, they are easy to set up, cost-effective, and comforting. A cool mist humidifier is a staple in the homes of America’s health-conscious.
They may not take the edge off the heat of a room, but they will act as a balm to the parched air. Cool mist has many environmental advantages that can make our home more pleasant and prevent us from getting sick.
When used properly, cool mist humidifiers are safe and get us thinking about how important air quality is. There’s no need to suffer through dryness when it is a problem so easily remedied with a well-researched machine.
Hopefully, you have learned all you need to choose a humidifier that fits your personal self-care regime. If you’re looking to cut through dryness and take control of your home environment, a cool mist humidifier is bound to become your best ally.