With today’s air pollution status, it is crucial to consider ways to make the air you breathe cleaner. This means you have to use an air purifier to filter the air. You will also have to use an air humidifier to regulate the humidity in the air.
Keep reading to learn the difference between an air purifier and a humidifier. And how to use them efficiently.
Can you use an air purifier and humidifier at the same time?
Yes. You can use an air purifier and humidifier in the same room. Both devices serve a different functions as the humidifier brings moisture to the air and the air purifier purifies the air from contaminants.
Air purifier filters are designed to work in wide humidity ranges, ensuring that the extra moisture in the air won’t do any filter damage. At the same time, purifiers don’t filter out moisture, meaning that your air filters won’t be working against your humidifier by drying the air out.
Air purifiers and humidifiers have very different functions, so you can use them simultaneously in the same room to add moisture and reduce unwanted particles. For example, a dirty humidifier can add particulate matter to the air, but True HEPA Filters can capture 99.97% of airborne particles*, including minerals and mold spores.
Can a humidifier cause bad air quality?
Sadly humidifiers can cause poor air quality. Dirty reservoirs and filters in humidifiers can quickly breed bacteria and mold. Dirty humidifiers can especially cause problems for people with asthma and allergies. But even in healthy people, dirty humidifiers can trigger flu-like symptoms or even lung infections when the contaminated mist or steam is released into the air.
Evaporators and steam vaporizers may be less likely to release airborne allergens than cool-mist humidifiers. However, air quality is severely degraded when ultrasonic humidifiers emit minerals, and the risk of inhaling PM is substantial.
This has to do with the way ultrasonic humidifiers work. They have an internal device that vibrates and creates extremely fine liquid droplets ejected into the air as a cool mist. These fine liquid droplets contain TDS and fall within the range of PM, which pose risks when inhaled by humans.
Despite the risk, the ultrasonic technology was seen as a breakthrough in the humidifier industry as it complemented the once-ubiquitous steam humidifiers. Steam humidifiers work as their name suggests — by releasing water into the air as steam.
The steam humidifiers fell out of popularity because they emit hot steam and can pose a danger to young children who may inadvertently burn themselves on the steam. However, steam humidifiers release water vapor which does not contain small mineral particles in large numbers like ultrasonic humidifiers.
Ultrasonic humidifiers may have solved the heat problem of steam humidifiers, but they have created a new one by releasing unwanted particulate matter into the air.
Tips for Safe Humidifier Use
While there isn’t a consensus about white dust, it’s still wise to reduce exposure to any form of particulate matter in your home.
Switch to an evaporative humidifier
The main thing you can do to cut out white dust is to switch over to an evaporative humidifier. This humidifier doesn’t release water droplets into the air, so you won’t encounter the same difficulties with white dust and scaling as you do with ultrasonic humidifiers.
Maintain your demineralization filter
If you don’t want to toss out your ultrasonic humidifier, there are still some options to limit how much dust your humidifier emits. One convenient tool is a demineralization cartridge, a ceramic filter that strips the minerals out of water.
Many ultrasonic humidifiers come pre-equipped with this device but require upkeep and replacement. While you need to check the specifications for your particular filter, a good rule is to perform annual filter replacement and monthly cleaning (soaking in water and vinegar for 15-20 minutes).
Keep your humidifier squeaky clean
Humidifiers, both evaporative and ultrasonic, can get gunked up without a good cleaning and descaling once in a while. Minerals and bacteria can build up in your humidifier, eventually blowing out into your home and your lungs.
You should deep clean your humidifier at least once a week by disassembling all the parts, soaking them in a vinegar solution for 30 minutes, and removing scaling buildup with a brush. Depending on how much you use your humidifier, you may have to clean it more or less often.
Replace tap water with distilled water
No matter what type of humidifier you own, using distilled water instead of tap water will reduce maintenance and scaling. Distilled water is pure H₂O, without the compounds found in hard water. As a result, it won’t leave behind solids when the water evaporates, so your humidifier stays cleaner for longer and doesn’t produce nearly as much white dust.
Tips for keeping your humidifier clean
To keep humidifiers free of harmful mold and bacteria, follow the guidelines recommended by the manufacturer. These tips for portable humidifiers also can help:
Use distilled or demineralized water.
Tap water contains minerals that can create deposits inside your humidifier that promote bacterial growth. These minerals often appear as white dust on your furniture when released into the air. It’s also possible for you to breathe in some minerals that are spread into the air. Distilled or demineralized water has a much lower mineral content than tap water. Also, use demineralization cartridges or filters if recommended by the manufacturer.
Change humidifier water often.
Don’t allow film or deposits to develop inside your humidifiers. Empty the tanks, dry the inside surfaces and refill with clean water every day if possible, especially if using cool mist or ultrasonic humidifiers. Unplug the unit first.
Clean the humidifier every three days.
Unplug the humidifier before you clean it. Remove any mineral deposits or film from the tank or other parts of the humidifier with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, which is available at pharmacies. Some manufacturers recommend using chlorine bleach or other disinfectants.
Always rinse the tank after cleaning.
This can keep harmful chemicals from becoming airborne — and then inhaled.
Change humidifier filters regularly.
If the humidifier has a filter, change it at least as often as the manufacturer recommends — and more often if it’s dirty. Also, regularly change the filter in your central air conditioning and heating system.
Keep the area around humidifiers dry.
If the area around a humidifier becomes damp — including windows, carpeting, drapes, or tablecloths — turn the humidifier down or reduce how often you use it.
Drain and clean humidifiers before storing them.
And then clean them again when you take them out of storage for use. Finally, throw away all used cartridges, cassettes, or filters.
Follow instructions for central humidifiers.
If you have a humidifier built into your central heating and cooling system, read the instruction manual or ask your heating and cooling specialist about proper maintenance.
Consider replacing old humidifiers.
Over time, humidifiers can build up deposits that are difficult or impossible to remove and encourage the growth of bacteria.
Air purifier or humidifier for asthma: which should I get?
So should you pick an air purifier or humidifier?
Air purifiers and filters are different than humidifiers, which add moisture to the air to prevent dryness. Humidifiers don’t affect allergens or other environmental asthma triggers, but they may help you breathe more easily.
An air purifier is a portable air cleaner. It filters and traps pollutants from the air inside your home. It also sanitizes the air that comes through it. One of the most popular air purifiers is an ionizing air purifier, which uses an electric field to trap particles.
On the other hand, a humidifier may add too much humidity to the air, which can cause mold or dust mites to fill the air. Both of these can make your asthma worse.
Can an air purifier help with asthma?
The jury is still out. An air purifier can take asthma triggers out of your home by trapping them in the filter. It works by bringing in air and trapping these small particles, then releasing the clean air. An air purifier also sanitizes the air around it. However, studies have found mixed or inconclusive results regarding whether air purifiers help asthma symptoms.
According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), air purifiers may be less effective than regular air filters as they often don’t trap particles as well as air filters. As a result, if the allergens aren’t trapped effectively, they may be redistributed on surfaces closer to the purifier.
Other studies have a different opinion. For instance, a 2018 study found that air purifiers are effective in helping to relieve asthma symptoms, especially for children. However, according to a 2016 study, air purifiers may be better at removing some allergens, like smoke, but less effective at reducing other allergens, like animal dander.
Overall, how well an air purifier can help with asthma symptoms depends on the following:
- Airflow rate of the purifier
- Filter design
- Size of the allergen particles
- Location of the purifier in your home
Air purifier vs humidifier for sinus
An air purifier is preferable for asthma conditions as it removes the contaminants and asthma triggers, so you don’t inhale them while breathing. A humidifier, on the other hand, only makes the air fresh to breathe.
A humidifier will only ease the symptoms caused by the dry air. One more thing to notice is that if the humidifier is used for a long, it will raise the humidity level, and a humidity level above 50 can become the reason for asthma attacks as viruses and bacteria grow in high humidity.
- When choosing an air purifier for asthma, it’s best to opt for an air purifier that is highly efficient in filtering out large and ultrafine particles. Airborne for very long periods, ultrafine particles are best captured with air purifiers instead of vacuuming them once they settle on the floor.
- To select the best air purifier for asthma, consider room size. It is best to choose an air purifier with a recommended room size larger than your room dimensions, especially for people with highly sensitive lungs.
- Some air purifiers produce a type of gas called ozone. Be sure to avoid these products. The ozone can irritate your lungs and make your asthma worse. In addition, this type of purifier only sanitizes the air and doesn’t remove particles from it.
- Be aware that while air purifiers can reduce mold particles and odors, they can’t solve a mold problem. If you have mold in your house, take steps to clean it directly. You may need someone else to do this, so it doesn’t lead to an asthma attack.
How to choose the right filter
Only air purifiers that remove small particles will help asthma symptoms. If possible, it should meet HEPA requirements, which means it will filter very small particles. For best results, ensure your air purifier can filter and sanitize the air.
Some types of air filters have two filters: one for gasses and one for particles. These filters together will help you get the best clean air.
You should use a filter with activated carbon in your air purifier to remove chemicals and gases from the air. Using air purifiers for tobacco smoke can help prevent asthma attacks in people with sensitive lungs who live in an environment where smoke is present.
How to place a humidifier and air purifier in the same house
We have ascertained that the Air purifier humidifier combo is a good idea. Here’s how to use them for the best results. It is best to place both devices in the opposite direction of the room.
If both devices are placed near, then the humidity will dampen the air purifier’s filter. As a result, the damp filter will become clogged, and its efficiency will also decrease.