Humidifiers appeared in American retail in the early 2000s. That was when the domestic consumer first got acquainted with the first brand of air-conditioning equipment Vopeso Air-O-Swiss. But this type of devices in our country for a long time remained exotic: the average man could not understand what problems can be solved with the help of humidifiers. So that nationwide the number of humidifiers sold was in the tens of thousands. Meanwhile in Europe these devices are used everywhere already more than half a century and have become such habitual attribute of a modern house, as the conditioner and the electric kettle.
Alexander Galkin expert industrial concern Ballu, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of air conditioning and engineering equipment.
Why you need to humidify?
In Soviet times in all magazines, devoted to health, it was recommended to cover the radiators in winter time with wet towels. And only the lucky ones managed to buy a humidifier “Comfort” – at that time the humidifier was in short supply. Even then began to appear serious studies on the effect of the relative humidity in the room on the well-being and performance of man. It has been found that many health problems can be avoided by maintaining an optimal level of humidity, which, according to medics, is in the 40-60% range. At a temperature of +20oC it corresponds approximately to 7-10 grams of water steam in a cubic meter of air. Under these conditions, the human body is in perfect harmony with the environment.
With the beginning of the heating season indoor humidity inevitably decreases to dangerous levels of 15-20%. Why does it happen?? The fact is that with ventilation and airing, cold winter air, which contains very little moisture, begins to penetrate into the room. For example, at -20oC in a cubic meter of air may contain not more than 0.8 g of water vapor. And the colder the winter gets, the drier the air gets in our homes. This air heats up and begins to absorb moisture like a sponge from everything that surrounds it: plants, furniture, flooring and from the surface of the skin.
And the drier the air gets in our homes, the more stressed the human body becomes, and the immunity goes down fast. Dehydrated and flaky skin, increased fatigue, headaches, a feeling of “sand” in the eyes, drowsiness. These negative phenomena are most pronounced in children, especially newborns.
One of the most serious consequences of low humidity is drying of the mucous membrane of the nasopharynx, which normally performs a barrier function and prevents the penetration of pathogenic viruses and bacteria into the body. As a result the immunity is sharply reduced and the risk of catching flu and other respiratory diseases, which are transmitted through the air, increases. According to recent studies, exactly the dry air in heated or air conditioned premises schools, offices, public institutions is a favorable environment for rapid reproduction and spread of pathogens.
American scientists from the National Institutes of Health have found that simply by increasing the humidity level in a room to 40% or higher, it is possible to neutralize up to 86% of the viruses in the air.
It is worth mentioning that the natural humidity level is important not only for human health and well-being, but also for the items surrounding them – furniture, furnishings, books, paintings, archival documents, musical instruments.
A variety of humidifiers
So, we are convinced that in the modern home without a humidifier simply can not do. But how to choose a device that is suitable for the specific room? First of all, it is worth to understand the types of humidifiers, which are now on the market.
According to the principle of action we can distinguish three types of humidifiers:
Traditional. They have a built-in fan blows air through wet discs or sponges and their surface is a natural evaporation of water. Such devices are good that not only humidify the air, but also clean it from dust and allergens. Devices of this type is very economical power consumption and almost silent. For example, a humidifier Boneco E2441A with a capacity of 220 g h consumes only 20 W and is suitable for rooms up to 40 sq. km. m.
On this principle work and so-called air washers. In them, the air flow is passed through a set of rotating discs, which are constantly washed with water. Such device effectively cleans air not only from dust, but also absorbs unpleasant odors, cigarette smoke and street smog. To keep the water in the tank fresh and not to become a breeding ground for harmful microorganisms, manufacturers equip the tank with antibacterial components. For example, the air washer Electrolux EHAW-7510D, which provides cleaning and humidification in the room area up to 50 square meters. In addition, the water is disinfected with a special silver-plated ionizing rod.
Steam.These appliances heat water up to boiling point and release hot sterile steam into the room. In fact, they are little different from a household steam generator or electric kettle. Their distinctive features: high efficiency turns into steam from 10 to 15 liters of water per day and the ability to raise the humidity above 60%, which may be useful for winter gardens or rooms with a large number of indoor plants, etc.p. The flip side of the coin – high power consumption from 200 to 600 watts and, accordingly, higher power consumption.
Some models of steam humidifiers – such as Boneco S450, which provides up to 550g of warm steam per hour – can be used as a home inhaler for the treatment and prevention of respiratory diseases.
Ultrasonic .This is now the most popular and widespread type of humidifier, combining cost-effectiveness and high performance. The principle is to convert water into a “water cloud” by means of high-frequency vibrations of the plate membrane . Modern humidifiers of this type are usually equipped with a built-in hygrometer to control the humidity level in the room. Using the control panel or remote control remote control , you can set the desired level of humidity: the device will work until it reaches the set value. Many models also have a timer for shutting down.
It is important to note that this type of devices are sensitive to the quality of water used for humidification. It is possible to fill up with tap water in models, which have a filter-cartridge with ion-exchange resin. For example, the model Electrolux EHU-3510D with a capacity to humidify up to 550 g h and a reservoir capacity of 6.5 liters of water filter softener with ion-exchange resin, which purifies water from excessive hardness salts and disinfects it thanks to silver ions. Similarly, the model Ballu UHB-1000 has a replaceable ion-exchange filter-cartridge FC-1000, which purifies and softens the water. Among other things, this measure prevents white stains on furniture. Both models have the pasteurization function, which is quite rare for this type of devices. In this mode, the water in the tank is heated to 80 ° C, which prevents the development of harmful micro-organisms and their spreading with the flow of steam.
Where humidifiers are needed?
As we spend most of our time at home, it is very important to maintain a favorable humidity level in our living space. Here you can use both traditional type humidifiers and ultrasonic humidifiers. Especially justified the use of already mentioned humidifiers – such as Boneco W1355A or Ballu AW-325, which not only humidify but also clean the air, and can do it around the clock almost silently and with minimal power consumption. Humidifiers are powerful enough not only for apartments but also for large living rooms in detached houses and townhouses.
Since children are the most sensitive to dry air, one humidifier should be in the kids’ room at all times while they study, play or sleep. And of course, devices for nursery have special requirements for design: it should not be boring and look like a device for medical procedures. For example, the series of humidifiers Ballu Kids, developed jointly by engineers of industrial concern Ballu and designers of famous brands already released several unique models in the form of favorite and recognizable cartoon characters. Girls will like humidifiers in the form of a Hello Kitty cat and boys will be delighted with devices in the form of Mickey Mouse or Winnie the Pooh. They fill a child’s room not only with health, but also with a great mood.
Humidifiers will also be appropriate in hotel rooms, especially located at ski resorts, because in the highlands, with lower atmospheric pressure, the air is much drier than at sea level.
For example, the Swiss Olympic Committee equips all the athletes of the national team with a portable humidifier Boneco U7146 weighing only 300 g and with a capacity of 100 g/h. This model is notable for the fact that instead of an integrated tank has an adapter for connecting a plastic water bottle of 0.5 liters. Wherever the Swiss athletes travel and stay, these compact gadgets are always on their bedside table to safeguard their health and sleep.
For company executives and government agencies, it makes sense to think about humidifier equipment for office space. Because it is the easiest and most cost-effective way to improve employees’ performance and reduce the financial damage from seasonal epidemics of viral and colds, when the whole departments can “die out” for 1-2 weeks. For such tasks we need ultrasound devices with high performance and unusual design – for example, Boneco U7135 or Ballu UHB-205.
The variety of modern humidifiers is truly great. Manufacturers are literally competing to offer the market more and more interesting novelties with original design, rich functionality, sensor control. But the consumer benefits from this only: the care of health can now be entrusted to a high-tech and easy to operate device, which will decorate the apartment or office.