There are high chances that at one point in your life, you may find yourself in a room or building that is cold or hot but with low humidity. This condition is never pleasant and can easily make you feel sick or uncomfortable. If this is the problem that you or your loved one is presently facing, or if you have ever come across such discomfort then you need not to worry, all you need is a humidifier suited for the climatic or weather condition you are facing.
Before getting to the point of acquiring a humidifier, perhaps it would be prudent for you to get a basic understanding on humidifier Functions. Many times people buy gadgets that are meant to make their life more tolerable but fail to derive the most from using these devices.
This article is dedicated to teaching you on how to get value from a humidifier by answer the question surrounding the working of a humidifier.
What is humidifier
A humidifier is defined as an equipment that is used to regulate (mostly raise) the moisture content of an enclosed space. You can use a humidifier both in a commercial and residential setup.
For example, you can use this gadget in a single room or in an entire building. If you need to acquire a humidifier to serve you, you will need to understand the different types of humidifiers available in the market. You cannot fully address the question of how does a humidifier work without first understanding that there are different types of humidifiers available in the market.
For example, persons planning to increase the humidity of a single room say their living rooms or storage rooms can do so by purchasing a point-of-use humidifier which can be used to humidify the single room.
For a person whose goal is to humidifier an entire building such a person would have to get type of humidifier i.e. a whole-house humidifier. It is also worth noting that humidifiers are often used in hospitals, commercial institutions, universities among other places. Therefore, answering the question of how humidifiers work would require that you fully understand the type of humidifier you are using.
Additionally, humidifiers can also be distinguished into two main sub-types, cool air humidifiers and warm air humidifiers. Granted, these two humidifiers work by different mechanisms. It is important for you to understand how each of these works so that you can get the value that you seek from them. Therefore, after determining the type you need, the next step would be to address the question that reads, ‘how does a humidifier work”
Why Do You Need a Humidifier?
We need to first paint a clear picture as to why a humidifier is important or rather why people should have one installed in their premises and businesses. Winter is arguably one of the most uncomfortable seasons of the year and this can be worsened by low humidity. People require a certain level of humidity for them to leave their lives in comfort, and this also applies to you. So, during winter, you will realize that indoor humidity can drop very low and cause problems such as the drying out of your skin and the mucous membrane. Furthermore, low humidity can also make the air in your enclosed spaces to feel colder that it really is. Therefore, instead of merely installing a heater, you will need to install a humidifier which can serve as a 2-in-1 system which will not only bring heat to your house or business but also ensure that the low humidity is corrected.
Is a humidifier ideal for hot places?
The answer to this question is an emphatic yes. However, you will first need to understand how a cool air humidifier Functions. This knowledge you will get once you ask, ‘how does a humidifier work. There may be very low humidity levels in hot and dry places, and more so in dry climates. This may also occur in houses where there is artificial heating of the rooms as a result of low temperatures. When the temperatures are very low and it is cold outside, something that is often experienced during winter, then indoor air must be heated to keep occupants warm and because of this the humidity may fall to around 15%. Low humidity is not only injurious to animate beings but also to inanimate things.
For example, due to low humidity you may experience cases that include cracking of pieces of wooden furniture, shrinking and loosening of joints. Papers, books and some artworks made of wood may shrink in the process and become weak. During severe cases of low humidity, electricity may become a problem leading to power outages which comes as a result of semiconductor devices becoming easily damaged with dust and particles which stick to surfaces that are electrically charged.
Are all humidifiers small?
There are commercial and industrial humidifiers that are used in commercial and industrial contexts for increasing the moisture in large enclosed spaces. They are used in such places when there is a specific humidity level that must be maintained to ensure the workers operate in a comfortable and healthy environment and prevent building up of static electricity hence preservation of material properties. In industries, static problems are a commonplace occurrence. Managers and supervisors should therefore be concerned with tackling this challenge and understanding exactly how does a humidifier work.
In factories, such as, printing, electronics, textiles and automotive manufacturing and packaging takes place, the management cannot risk allowing the relative humidity to fall below a fixed and predetermined limit. Any time humidity is low, there are chances that friction might increase and this can easily lead to the building up of static electricity which may lead to the damaging of expensive equipment.
Some places where humidifiers are used
The answer to the question is important to virtually everyone. Managers in industries where production and storage must be maintained at a stable relative humidity lead the pack. Industries involved in the manufacturing of printers and papers normally use humidifiers to prevent the papers from shrinking and curling Humidifiers are also used in cold storage rooms in order to preserve the freshness of the food products in the room and prevent it from drying as a result of cold temperatures. Humidifiers are used in art museums to protect works of art that are sensitive and this is mostly applied in exhibition houses where there is battling with dryness caused by heating to make the visitors comfortable.
Onto the gist of the matter: “How does humidifiers work”
As stated earlier on, there are different types of humidifiers that are available in the market. When attempting to tackle the question on how does a humidifier work, one must first pinpoint the type of humidifier s/he has. Below is a brief run down on the working of different types of humidifiers.
There are portable humidifiers that can be easily moved from one point to another. There are various sizes of a portable humidifier, from a small sized tabletop device to a large floor-mounted unit.
In this case, the water is supplied to the humidifier by manual filling of the unit over a set period of time. An example of a portable humidifier is the evaporative humidifier that has few parts. This humidifier uses an evaporative passive system for humidification that requires no use of electricity or fan for it to function. It consists of the wick, reservoir and a fan. The wick is made of a porous material that has a large surface area to enable evaporation and absorption of water from the reservoir. The fan is placed next to the wick in order for it to blow air to the wick and allow for evaporation. The evaporation from the wick depends on the relative humidity.
A room that has low humidity will experience higher evaporation compared to a room with high humidity. In this case, this type of humidifier is partially self-regulating because the level of evaporation is determined by the humidity of the room. The wick may become blocked if it is not dried out as a result of accumulation of mineral deposits. Therefore, you will need to clean the humidifier on a regular basis to enable it operate efficiently.
A vaporizer is a device that humidifies by heating the water turning it to steam and releasing it to moisturize the air. In some cases, you can add a medicated inhalant to the steam vapor to help in reducing coughs in your home. This type of a humidifier is heathier to use than evaporative humidifiers because the steam released from the former is most likely to be free from mineral impurities.
However, you need to take very good care of your vaporizers; poor handling can easily lead to fire accidents.
An impeller humidifier has a rotating disc that flings water thus the water is broke into fine droplets that float in the air. The water must be replaced in order to keep it clean at all times because there is higher risk of transferring bacteria in the air. A major downside of this humidifier is that it is very noisy due to the rotation of its disc.
An ultrasonic humidifier has a vibrating ceramic diaphragm that vibrates according to the ultrasonic frequency passed through it. This creates water droplets that escape from the humidifier in a fog-like state and silently finds its way into the air. The humidifier may or may not have a fan.
The ones without fans are meant for personal use and not for public places. These humidifiers have a transducer that creates a high frequency oscillation in water hence forming a fine mist of water droplets that escapes into the surrounding air. The major downside of using ultrasonic humidifiers is that there are high chances that impurities in the water tank, e.g. bacteria can be released into the air because the water is not heated.
To manage this health risk, you will need to ensure that your ultrasonic humidifiers is cleaned regularly to prevent bacteria from accumulating inside the water tank. You can also use distilled water instead of regular tap water to ensure that you have reduced chances of using contaminated water in the humidifier.
Forced air humidifiers
Forced air humidifiers are usually installed on the furnace of buildings that have an air furnace. This helps in protecting wooden objects and furnishings which may be sensitive to dry air. When it is cold, they save energy because increase in humidity makes the occupants feel warm at lower temperatures. The humidifier is supposed to be disabled during summer and hot months if an air conditioner is used.
The drum style humidifier uses a pipe to take water directly to the reservoir that is attached to the furnace. The level of water in the tank is controlled by a float valve. The wick is typically mounted on the drum hence hot air enters the drum from one side and leave through the opposite side.
This type of humidifier is advantageous because it is cheap and less expensive to maintain because the drum pads are cheap. However, it requires regular cleaning and inspection and mold may grow in the pan that carries water. The evaporation of water takes place even when humidification is not required. For this reason, the humidifier should be turned off when not in use.
From the discussion above, the article has tried to dissect the question on how does a humidifier works. It is clear from the write-up that humidifiers are a must have gadget for every home and office. The comfort ability afforded by this gadget especially during months with low humidity cannot be traded for anything. You can choose any type of a humidifier to install in your house or office. The article has discussed a few sub types that are available in the market. Now that we have extensively discussed the question how does a humidifier work, you can make an informed decision when planning to purchase one for yourself.