Does A Humidifier Increase Oxygen? Myths Busted!

Liz Yang

Many of us understand that a humidifier is used for adding moisture to the air. But we also wonder if a humidifier has other functions? Such as, does a humidifier increase oxygen?

Unfortunately, humidifiers don’t increase the oxygen level in the room. It can even decrease the oxygen level a bit. But a humidifier can help improve the oxygen indirectly when it works with other objects together.

I know this statement seems contradictory, but it is true. I will explain how it happens and answer a few related questions in this post. 

It would be very interesting, and let’s dive in!

Does humidity affect oxygen levels?

Have you ever felt it hard to breathe when stepping into an indoor tropical botanical garden? The high humid environment doesn’t make me feel good. 

In fact, the higher the humidity level, the lower the oxygen level. Assuming the amount of oxygen is stable, the added moisture droplets in the air lower the proportion of oxygen in the air, causing difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.

In other words, the water in the air will decrease the partial pressure, and our lungs will try their best to hunt for oxygen.

So you will feel better staying in a cool place than in a hot one. 

Does a humidifier add oxygen to the air?

To answer this question, you should figure out how a humidifier works. While there are many types of humidifiers, they all boil down to adding moisture to the air.

Some evaporate water into the air with the help of a fan or heating element; others break the water into tiny water droplets and disperse it into the air as a mist.

You see, the whole process doesn’t produce any oxygen. The humidifier works by turning the water into water molecules in the air. 

Therefore, a humidifier can’t add oxygen to the air.

Do oxygen humidifiers increase oxygen?

Do oxygen humidifiers increase oxygen

Many people have heard about a device called an oxygen humidifier. Unlike a regular humidifier, it is a medical equipment used in hospitals. Even though its name contains “oxygen,” it doesn’t produce oxygen either. 

You can treat it as an accessory to the oxygen cylinder. When people are doing oxygen therapy or other treatments, the oxygen humidifier can filter and moisten the air from the oxygen cylinder and make the patient feel comfortable.  It only uses sterile water.

When and how to use an oxygen humidifier should follow the instruction of your doctors. Overusing it could cause adverse effects too.

Can a humidifier make breathing worse?

According to many sources, the ideal humidity level is around 30% to 55%.

When the air is too dry, the dehydrated mucus membranes will become susception to infections. People who live in such an environment might suffer from an array of respiratory issues such as cough, congestion, parched throat, and shortness of breath.

Humidifiers can increase the humidity by putting more moisture particles in the air. When the humidity level goes back to the normal range, your conditions will be alleviated gradually.

So using a humidifier is good for the lungs in this situation. However, when your humidifier goes overboard, the over humidified air could make breathing worse.

As we discussed earlier, the high humid air has a lower oxygen level. Add to that the damp air is the breeding ground of mold, mildew, and dust mites, the COPD syndromes will worsen, and you feel difficult to breathe.

Do you need a humidifier with an oxygen concentrator?

Do you need a humidifier with an oxygen concentrator

Some people like to do their oxygen therapy at home using a portable oxygen concentrator. Many experts would advise them to install an added humidifier as the high flow of oxygen above 5 liters per minute can result in dryness in the nasal, throat, and mouth.

While it is not a must-have when using an oxygen concentrator, a humidifier can help to relieve these discomforts and make the whole process more enjoyable.

If you plan to use the device for a long time, preparing a humidifier could be very beneficial.

How can you increase the oxygen level in your room? 

Even though a humidifier can’t increase the oxygen level directly, there are a few ways to increase oxygen at home with or without a humidifier.

Open windows 

The air outside often contains more oxygen. When you want to get some fresh air, just open your windows and increase the ventilation. Then the stale air in the room will be replaced, along with the airborne contaminants. 

Nevertheless, this action may also bring in pollen and other allergens. You can counteract these adverse effects by using an air purifier later.

Add houseplants

Planting some houseplants is an excellent way to increase oxygen levels at home.

As you know, plants can transfer carbon dioxide to oxygen by means of photosynthesis. So they will act as a natural oxygen producer in our house.

We human beings need to inhale oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. The plant can make use of it and turn it into oxygen again. 

To make your plants thrive, you can use a humidifier. It can make them stay in an environment with the proper humidity so that it can produce oxygen constantly. In a sense, a humidifier increases the oxygen indirectly.

Conclusion 

Many people feel like their shortness of breath is relieved after turning on the humidifier. So they assume that a humidifier can increase oxygen. 

However, it can’t. Humidifiers can relieve your discomfort by increasing the level of humidity. When your mucus membranes, lungs, nasal and other organs are not dehydrated, they are able to combat more viruses and allergens. You will also feel it easier to breathe.

So the oxygen is not increased, but your ability to inhale the air has been improved by using a humidifier. 

In fact, using a humidifier can decrease oxygen levels to some extent as the added moisture particles can dilute the oxygen in the air. 

You can increase the oxygen level by increasing ventilation or adding houseplants. A humidifier can help to increase oxygen by offering your plants a comfortable environment. 

Liz Yang is the founder of Airsmartly. She has been working at home for a few years and realizes that the performance of the HVAC system plays such an important role in our life. She has tested a lot of products in person, like humidifiers, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ACs, and wants to share tips about using or troubleshooting these products with you. Her uncle is an HVAC expert with over 30 years of experience in the field, and often offers assistance when she is unsure how to handle a situation. He is also in charge of reviewing the articles on this site.

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