Wherever we decide to set up home, that home needs to possess certain qualities in order to provide a safe haven for ourselves and our families. Location is obviously important, but it also needs to be structurally sound, so as not to collapse on our heads. Security must be considered, too - after all, our homes are our castles, and a home should provide an environment that’s as healthy as possible.
The quality of air that we breathe inside our homes can be a major factor in remaining healthy. Scientists tell us that interior air often isn’t fresh air. It’s actually air that seeps in through wall cavities, floors, crawlspaces and basements - the dark, seldom cleaned spaces. This air is full of dust, pollen, mold spores, chemicals, and moisture, and as it passes through the cracks, it combines with indoor air.
Controlling the humidity levels in your home can prevent this ‘dirty air’ causing problems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you keep the air in your home between 30 and 50 percent humidity, as extremes at either end of the scale can affect your health. Too damp and it encourages allergy causing mold spores, whereas too dry can cause a huge range of health issues, including allergies, asthma, mood changes and depression, headaches, memory loss, extreme fatigue and joint pain.
There are plenty of great solutions to this problem, however, which are easily achievable and very effective at cleaning up the air that you breathe inside your home.
Humidifiers work by providing adequate moisture conditions in your home via various methods.The method you choose depends on your requirements and it’s important to pick the best humidifier for your situation.
Firstly there are two main types - cool mist and warm mist.
This type of humidifier is the cheaper option, both initially and to run, and only using cold water, are a safe option around children, the elderly and pets. However, they can cool the room down too much, and the fans can be loud.
Boiling the water can reduce any waterborne bacteria, viruses or mold, however, the hot water can make them less safe around children. Running costs tend to be higher than the cool mist humidifiers.
Humidifiers work in several ways to combat indoor dry air:
Evaporators: These use a fan to blow air through moistened filters.
Steam Humidifiers: These are the most portable and cost effective humidifiers. They heat water, and as it cools down, push it into the air.
Ultrasonic Humidifiers: With both cool and warm mist options available, these versatile machines produce a mist with the help of ultrasonic vibrations.
Impeller humidifiers: Rotating disks running at high speeds expel moisture into the air in the form of a cool mist.
Central Humidifiers: The most expensive option is built into the central heating unit of your home.
Tips for getting the best from your humidifiers
To get the most efficient and effective use from your humidifier, here are our top tips:
Change the water daily, thus preventing mold and bacteria growth.
Give the insides a wipe down every couple of days, with bleach or disinfectant, and clean the filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Use distilled water as tap water can contain minerals or other particles that may make it easier for mold and bacteria to grow.
Empty the humidifier before moving it.
Air conditioning units work by using a refrigeration system to replace the room’s warm air with cooler air. In a very simplified description, the warm air is sucked into the machine, flows over chilled coolant filled pipes, and is blasted back into the room, causing it to feel much cooler. The unit then vents any warm air created by the hard working motor outside, by means of an exhaust hose fed through a window.
There are several types to consider, but it also makes sense to check out some unbiased, honest air conditioner reviews to ensure you’re getting the best unit for your requirements.
A portable unit takes in air from the room and cools it, before directing it back into the room. The unit then vents any warm air outside by means of an exhaust hose that is installed in a window.
Usually designed to only cool one room at a time, portable air conditioners are easy to set up and an affordable option.
Window Air Conditioners:
A window unit is usually one of the cheapest options, but they can be a little time consuming to set up. Compact and ideally suited to smaller spaces, they are installed in a window, venting the hot air outside.
Wall Mounted Air Conditioners:
These air conditioning units are permanently mounted on a wall, and as such, are often more aesthetically pleasing than other options. Wall-mounted units can come in cooling-only or cooling/heating varieties.
Split Ductless Air Conditioners:
Ductless or split systems are most common in parts of the home that have been retrofitted. Like centrally fitted air conditioning systems, these systems have an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor handling unit. If you’re looking to cool individual rooms your house, this system might be just for you. Many ductless, mini-split systems can have as many as four indoor handling units, which are all connected to the outdoor unit.
Each zone has its own thermostat, allowing you to adjust the temperature for each room accordingly. This is especially advantageous if you’re wanting to cool only a particular part of the house.
Central Air Conditioning:
Central air conditioners circulate cool air through supply and return ducts situated around your house. These ducts are built into your walls, floors and so on. Installing a central air conditioning system requires a lot of planning and preparation as sizing is crucial to the functionality of the system. If you install a system that is of the wrong size, even if it’s energy efficient, you’ll find that your utility costs are more than they should be.
With either of these options - the humidifier or air conditioner, the air inside your home cannot transport, or harbour, mold spores, bacteria or other nasties, making your home a healthy and comfortable place to live.