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The Ultrasonic Humidifier: Protecting Your Home and Health

Updated on September 27, 2011

Keep Your Home Comfortable with an Ultrasonic Humidifier

Dry air isn't ideal. Moisture is needed forĀ optimal respiratory track and skin health. A small, portable ultrasonic humidifier can be an affordable way of keeping adequate moisture in your home or office.

On this page you can learn a bit more about ultrasonic humidifiers, some of their advantages, their features, tips on caring for and using them, as well as some pointers for selecting the right one.

The Advantages

An ultrasonic humidifier like most humidifiers can help maintain a comfortable moisture level in the air when you're in a more arid environment or battling the dryness of winter air in a heated home. They can reduce some of the nuisances of a dry nose, chapped lips, dry, itchy skin, sore throats, and so forth. They can even help reduce sinus irritation, coughing, and congestion as well as cold, flu, and allergy symptoms.

Humidifiers can also help protect wood furniture, wood trim work, and musical instruments from damage due to excessively dry air.

Ultrasonic humidifiers in particular offer quiet operation, energy, and cost efficiency. They produce small droplets in a cool mist versus the heated steam produced by other appliances.

Care and Cleaning

Ultrasonic humidifiers don't require a lot of maintenance but it's wise to keep them clean to prolong their life and assure that bacteria doesn't form. Bacteria can form in any humidifier but proper cleaning, generally with a vinegar (or perhaps bleach or chlorine) and water solution is sufficient. Users should read manufacturer's instruction, but typically, the solution is poured into the tank and basin, left to sit for 20 to 30 minutes, emptied, rinsed, and then dried on a weekly basis.

For those who want to assure microbes are not released into the air, cleaning is critical. However, to help eliminate the release of impurities (due to minerals in hard water) an extra precaution would be to use distilled or demineralized water rather than tap water.

Ideally portable ultrasonic humidifiers should be elevated to assure there is no accumulation of moisture on the floor nearby. This allows the micro-droplets to evaporate into the air properly. The mist should be directed away from furniture and walls as well.

Buying Tips

When choosing an ultrasonic humidifier, consumers should compare:

Capacity and output
Some humidifiers may have a 1 gallon capacity and others may have three or four times that amount. Output may state that it can disperse 2 gallons or more per day or it may say that it will run for 8, 10, or 12 hours. Clearly, you will want to know how often it will need to be refilled. For most people, it's desirable for the unit to run continuously throughout the night without needing to be refilled. Rinsing and drying out the unit daily can be good practice.

Auto Shut-Off
Some units will display a red light when the tank is empty while others may shut off altogether. For units that use heat, it can be important to have a safety shut off so that it doesn't overheat.

Variable Moisture Control
Some units have a high and low setting, allowing the user to increase or decrease output based on their environment and their needs. Some units also allow you to adjust the direction of the mist.

Humidity controls like a humidistat are rare on portable models. These allow the user to set a desired level of humidity and the unit cycles on/off based on the humidity in the air. Timers are also used occasionally.

Heated Mist
Most ultrasonic humidifiers put out a cool mist. Some may also offer the option of a heated mist.

Filters
Occasionally these portable humidifiers also offer filters/cartridges to eliminate impurities from being released into the air. This obviously adds a step to the cleaning process and a potential ongoing cost but can be worthwhile for many people.

Crane

This small one room ultrasonic humidifier offers whisper quiet operation and easy care. Just fill the tank with cool tap water from your sink and when it's time for cleaning, a vinegar or chlorine solution will do the job. This humidifier will generally run for 10 hours and distribute up to 2.3 gallons of water with it's cool mist.

It's compact and comes in several colors including white & blue, pink, white, orange, and green.

This second Crane humidifier is just one of several fun designs available; from SpongeBob to Hello Kitty. It has a one gallon tank and will disperse a cool mist for up to 11 full hours.

The mist is adjustable and it has an auto shut-off feature that is triggered when the tank is empty.

Sunpentown

With both warm and cool mist capabilities, this ultrasonic humidifier can handle rooms up to 500 square feet in size. It offers virtually silent operation and a 360 degree adjustable split nozzle that provides for a very wide coverage area. It has a 4 liter water tank and compact size.

This humidifier features an Ion exchange filter to demineralize water, removing magnesium and calcium from hard water which improves your air quality and prolongs the life of the unit. It runs for 10-12 hours (low and high settings) and has an overheat protection mechanism. It comes with a 5 8/9' power cord, carrying handle, cleaning brush, and a one year warranty.

Wind Chaser

This small ultrasonic humidifier has a 1.4 liter capacity and will run for 8 to 10 hours continuously without running dry. It has noiseless operation and disperses a cool, refreshing mist. It also has an auto shut-off feature that is triggered when the tank is empty.

This 24W, 120V/60Hz humidifier is economical to operate and easy to clean.

Air-O-Swiss

For those who need a humidifier when they travel, this one may be an ideal option. It weighs just over a pound and comes with a soft cloth carrying bag. Users merely add a half liter water bottle and plug it in. It emits a micro-fine cool mist and offers whisper quiet operation.

It includes a transcontinental travel AC adapter and exchangeable plugs for use anywhere in the US or Europe.

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    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 7 years ago from USA

      Howdy mulberry - Fine explanations and gadget descriptions. Around here we have much the opposite problem, that of too much humidity. Summer, winter...seems to make no difference.

      Gus :-)))

    • irenemaria profile image

      irenemaria 7 years ago from Sweden

      When you live in an apartment with tight windows the humidifier is welcome. Even my piano could use one of its own! (no joke)

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