Ultrasonic hare incredibly useful devices, but what makes them so special? And how are they different from other types of humidifiers?
Increasing the humidity levels in your home – especially during winter months – can improve the overall air quality in your home, and can also have significant positive effects on your health.
According to the EPA, single-room “portable” humidifiers are definitely the most popular option for home humidification, so much so that in the US alone more than eight million devices are purchased annually.
Portable humidifiers usually come in two types: evaporative and ultrasonic.
While both types add moisture to the air in your home, they do so in very different ways.
There are several reasons why you should get a humidifier, including the betterment of your health, help with skin and help with the upkeep of your home, just to name a few.
In this article we’ll take a closer look at ultrasonic humidifiers and their benefits for your home and health.
Reason why you should use a ultrasonic humidifier
Several associations recommend cleaning any new humidifier before the first use and then cleaning it regularly during the life of the product. Even if you are unsure of what type of humidifier you have, most have similar cleaning instructions.
- Increasing the humidity in your home helps eliminate the Dry Air, that can irritate and inflame the passages in the nose and throat.
- Humidified air can relieve the discomfort of colds and flu.
- Using a humidifier in the home can help relieve a stuffy nose and can help break up mucous so you can cough it up.
- During the dry, winter months, keeping humidity levels between 40–50% in the home makes the air feel warmer. This can mean you'll run your heat a bit less and save money on your bills!
- Dry Air, can dry out skin, hair, lips, throat, etc. This causes irritation until moisture is restored.
- Reduces damage to wooden items in the home. Wooden furniture can become damaged, wooden floors can get creaky and instruments can become out of tune. Even wallpaper can begin to peel!
- Proper humidity levels help to reduce the number of nosebleeds some people are prone to in the dry, winter months.
How Do Ultrasonic Humidifiers Work?
Ultrasonic humidifiers are relatively simple devices. Using a water tank and a vibrating surface, they send microscopic water droplets into your indoor air. The vibrating element, called diaphragm, vibrates at an extremely high frequency and is responsible for creating the water droplets. These vibrations are at a frequency that’s so high it’s above the range of human hearing so these air purifiers are normally extremely quiet. That’s why they’re called ultrasonic humidifiers in the first place.
Once the microscopic water droplets have been propelled into your air, they evaporate into the air helping to raise the indoor humidity level of your space.
So, to recap, ultrasonic humidifiers work in three specific steps:
- First, water from the tank travels through a demineralization cartridge(not all ultrasonic humidifiers have these) to remove mineral solids. The water travels through a pipe to the piezoelectric transducer’s diaphragm.
- Next, the piezoelectric transducer vibrates at high frequencies to create mist dropletsthat form inside the humidifier’s nebulizer chamber.
- Lastly, a circulation fanblows the mist droplets out of the humidifier, into the space that is to be humidified.
Ultrasonic Humidifiers Vs. Evaporative Humidifiers
What’s the difference between an ultrasonic humidifier and an evaporative humidifier?
Unlike ultrasonic humidifiers, that release water droplets into the air, evaporative humidifiers evaporate the water inside the humidifier itself, and send water vapor (instead of droplets) into the air.
This may seem trivial, but is a crucial differentiation: while in ultrasonic humidifiers water never enters in contact with pollutants present on the surface of the device, this is not the case for their evaporative counterparts. Once water gets in contact with microorganisms and pollutants and gets vaporized, these pollutants are released into the air, possibly increasing the risk of respiratory syndromes.
That’s also one of the main reasons why evaporative humidifiers need very frequent and thorough cleaning, to avoid the formation of molds and bacteria where the water touches the device.
Evaporative humidifiers can be found in cool mist, warm mist, and steam humidifier options. In terms of the “humidification” no matter how they convert water into a fine mist, all evaporative humidifiers deliver the same end result.
Pros and Cons of Ultrasonic Humidifiers
Benefits of Ultrasonic Humidifiers
When comparing ultrasonic humidifiers to evaporative humidifiers, there are a few advantages of ultrasonic humidifiers.
- Effective Humidification Solutions: Since ultrasonic humidifiers push water droplets into your air where they evaporate, they are perfect for adding moisture to your indoor air. They’re so effective that there’s a risk for over-humidification, so it’s important to find an ultrasonic humidifier with a built-in humidistat to control your humidity level.
- Quiet Performance: Since they use ultrasonic vibrations, not a fan, to humidify your indoor, ultrasonic humidifier are quiet options for bedrooms, offices, and more.
- Safe For Children: Because they don’t heat or boil water in order to produce water vapor, ultrasonic humidifiers are ideal for a child’s room or nursery.
- Low Energy Costs: Compared to evaporative humidifiers, ultrasonic humidifiers use very little electricity.
Drawbacks Of Ultrasonic Humidifiers
On the other hand, there are a few potential drawbacks to ultrasonic humidifiers.
- Possible White Dust: Evaporative humidifiers usually have a filter the removes minerals from your water. If you live in an area with hard water, an ultrasonic humidifier may release trace amounts of these minerals creating white dust.
- Damp Areas: If your room is cold, or if it already has a high moisture content, some water droplets from ultrasonic humidifiers may settle on surfaces before they have the chance to evaporate. This can create puddles or wet spots.
- Ultrasonic Humidifiers and Dogs: The vibration of ultrasonic humidifiers is too high of a frequency for humans to hear, however it may not be for your dog. Watch your dog’s behavior to make sure the sound isn’t uncomfortable or painful for them.
The dos and don’ts when using an ultrasonic humidifier
- Do clean your ultrasonic humidifier on a regular basis. Cleaning your ultrasonic humidifier regularly will keep it running in tip-top shape. Cleaning also helps to prevent bacteria and mold build up inside your ultrasonic humidifier.
Don’t use tap water in your ultrasonic humidifier. Since ultrasonic humidifiers lack filters to filter out minerals and contaminants, don’t use normal tap water to fill your humidifier.
Mineral deposits in your ultrasonic humidifier will damage your humidifier and can cause your humidifier to stop working.
- Do always use distilled water in your humidifier.Instead of tap water, use distilled water in your ultrasonic humidifier. Distilled water is treated to remove any dissolved minerals and particles. Dissolved minerals can impede the performance of your ultrasonic humidifier.
Don’t place your ultrasonic humidifier in an enclosed area. Like other types of humidifiers, ultrasonic humidifiers don’t perform well if placed in a corner. They also don’t work in small areas where they can’t get proper airflow.
If your ultrasonic humidifier placed in an enclosed area, it won’t have enough “breathing room” to disperse moisture evenly throughout your area. It may also cause moisture to build upon the surfaces in your room.
Do place your ultrasonic humidifier on a table or shelf.Placing your ultrasonic humidifier up high off the floor is usually a good idea. This helps it to prevent moisture accumulation around the base of your humidifier.
If you place your humidifier on the floor, then the mist droplets don’t have much time to evaporate before they fall onto the floor and accumulate as moisture.
If you place your ultrasonic humidifier on a shelf, ensure that you direct its mist stream away from any walls or ceilings. This helps to prevent moisture build-up on those surfaces.
- Do place your ultrasonic humidifier on a plastic tray.If you are having issues with moisture accumulation around the base of your ultrasonic humidifier, consider putting it on a plastic tray. Placing your humidifier on a plastic tray will catch moisture and prevent it from getting all over your floor.
A conclusive note
If you’re suffering from sinus-drying allergies, consider getting a humidifier. It doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles of the top-rated one above, but it should help matters a bit in terms of lessening your symptoms.
Like most people, you probably bought (or are thinking of purchasing) a humidifier for your home to find relief from the unpleasant effects of dry air. By taking care to clean your humidifier regularly, you can extend the life of your unit and protect the health of yourself and your family as well.