What advantages do steam humidifiers have?
Steam humidifiers are energy-efficient which not only helps the environment, but reduces your utility bills, too. While traditional humidifiers need a lot of water to produce heated vapor, steam humidifiers need much less. While some steam humidifiers are stand-alone products, many are able to be connected to your home heating system. Then they work in tangent with the naturally heated air to add moisture which is radiated throughout the whole house. If you have extremely dry air in your home and want the continuous benefits of moisture in the air, then investing in a steam humidifier is a good idea.
Features to consider while choosing a steam humidifier
Water tank capacity
There are two types of steam humidifiers on our list: stand-alone products that come with a water tank, and system products that hook up to your HVAC system. For whole house system steam humidifiers, you get the benefit of not having to worry about refilling water tanks, as the water input is continuous.
For stand-alone products, the water tank will need to be refilled continuously to run your steam humidifier. The Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier V745A has the smallest water tank, with a capacity of 3.8 liters. It can only work for about 12 hours before needing to be refilled. The BONECO Steam Humidifier S450 has a much larger water tank capacity, of 13.25 liters, and can run for 24 hours on one refill.
Mist time/maximum output
For stand-alone steam humidifiers, the water tank capacity will determine the mist time. Basically, the smaller the water tank, the less time steam will be produced. As for whole home system steam humidifiers, the maximum output will vary by construction and power. The Aprilaire 800 Residential Steam Humidifier is by far the most powerful system on our list and has a maximum output of 34.6 gallons per day, which means that it will work for very large homes.
Some steam humidifiers, like the Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier V745A, are stand-alone machines that are made for one room, such as a bedroom or living room. Other steam humidifiers, like the Aprilaire 800 Residential Steam Humidifier can cover an entire house. There’s no need to purchase a humidifier that won’t work for the space you need.
If you live in a small apartment, or just want a humidifier for night time use, then you can save a bit of money with a smaller appliance. If, however, you want to alleviate your entire home of dry air, then a large steam humidifier that can tie into your existing heating system is the right way to go.
The incessant hum of a heating and steam humidifier system around the clock can drive anyone a bit batty. Therefore, noise level is a serious concern. Thankfully, the products on our list all have minimal noise levels, which means that even as it cycles through at night, your sweet dreams won’t be disrupted.
Essential oils diffuser
While some steam humidifiers are made for the whole house, those that are made for individual rooms may have the option of being an essential oil diffuser. This feature allows you include a few drops of an essential oil to the machine which is then dispersed into the air. The result is a subtle fragrance that can elevate your mood. The BONECO Steam Humidifier S450 is one product on our list that can double as an essential oil diffuser.
If you plan on using a steam humidifier in a room, then be sure you know where you want to place it ahead of time to ensure it will fit. Some steam humidifiers have nice aesthetics, and therefore will blend in with your home’s décor. Others can be a bit obtrusive and you will want to hide them.
For those wanting to purchase a steam humidifier to work in conjunction with your heating system, be sure to look first at how you will hook everything up. While most steam humidifiers are built fairly compact, your existing space may determine what size will actually work with your current system.
In addition to these standard features, your steam humidifier may come with something extra that will really set it apart from the rest. Automatic shut off is important for stand-alone steam humidifiers as it is a crucial safety element. Timers are also great as you can set your humidifier for a few hours at night and not have to worry about shutting it off while you’re asleep. Some humidifiers require filters. If this is the case, it’s a nice bonus if extra filters are included in the purchase.
Tips on how to maintain your humidifier
- For room models be sure to clean them regularly. Bacteria thrives in dark, warm areas, and humidifiers have all these elements. Get in the habit of cleaning your steam humidifier on a weekly basis so that none of the bacteria or mold has a chance to grow and enter your air.
- For a whole house model schedule maintenance for it at least twice a year. Turn the machine off and give everything a thorough cleaning. You don’t need any fancy cleaners. Warm water and vinegar will easily sanitize everything.