Should a humidifier run all night

Did you know?

 

In winter, the air in homes and offices is drier than in summer. One could therefore conclude from this that it is better for your health if you buy a humidifier. But it makes much more sense to get a hygrometer first (see below). In this way, the actual humidity can be determined, because our sensory organs do not help us to determine how damp or dry it is in the room. But regardless of how humid or dry the air is, when we breathe in it is definitely warmed and humidified in our bronchi and lungs.

Unless you suffer from certain health problems, the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) recommends a relative humidity in the rooms of between 30 to 50 percent, i.e. a rather dry environment. Because as soon as the air is humid (from 50%), problems can arise ...


measures in hygrometer
the humidity in percent

Digital hygrometers (with batteries) usually show the relative humidity of the air and its temperature. "100% humidity" means that the air has absorbed the maximum amount of water vapor. More moisture leads to the formation of fog. When the hygrometer shows 50% humidity, the air contains half the moisture it could hold. The colder the air, the less water vapor it contains. Conversely, the warmer the air, the more water vapor it contains. For this reason one speaks of relative humidity. This can be illustrated very easily in winter: If you breathe in the cold air, the warm and humid air from our lungs cools, and the excess of moisture condenses in the cold and becomes visible as a small "cloud of fog".

 

If the humidity rises above 45%, house dust mites - microscopic relatives of spiders - find favorable conditions to reproduce in beds, carpets, armchairs, sofas, and even in cat baskets or hamster cages. The mites feed on our flakes of skin, among other things, but are not in themselves dangerous for us. However, their feces contain allergenic components that are distributed as fine dust in the air and are inhaled. They cause allergies in an increasing number of people.

Moisture promotes mold growth
and increases bad smells

From 50-60% humidity, mold can make the situation worse. Mold mainly occurs in poorly insulated buildings, because the water vapor condenses on the cold window panes and walls, and it dampens window frames, wallpaper and wood paneling, which promotes fad damage. Give mold Spurs (these are tiny fruit bodies, in a sense the "seeds") into the surrounding air. These spores can cause respiratory infections, allergies and asthma attacks in susceptible individuals.

Also keep in mind that high humidity generally increases bad smells. If you try to hide them with scented candles, synthetic perfumes or incense sticks, you pollute the indoor air with additional pollutants ...

The feeling of dry air can be with
the polluted indoor air

In many cases, the reason for the uncomfortable feeling of dry air in winter can be traced back to house dust and the polluted room air rather than to insufficient humidity. You should therefore ventilate the room vigorously three to four times a day (to change the air), but not longer than 5 minutes each time (so as not to cool the room down). It is also important to remove the dust regularly. When dusting, care should be taken to ensure that no clouds of dust arise. A microfiber cloth slightly moistened with water is ideal for this, because the absence of cleaning agents and synthetic fragrances does not pollute the air in the room. After vacuuming, ventilate because dust removal is useful, but it swirls the remaining dust around in the air (if your vacuum cleaner has an air filter, don't forget to change it regularly).


Humidity and temperature are related
The hygrometer on the left does not work with batteries, but with hair that contracts when the air is dry (hair hygrometer).
Above: The room is heated to 25 ° C and the humidity is low, so that the room air is perceived as rather uncomfortably dry.
Below: If the temperature is lowered to 20 ° C, the humidity increases and the air is more comfortable to breathe.


 

Too frequent ventilation in winter dries out the air

The colder the air, the less water vapor it can absorb. That is why the humidity at home in winter comes mainly from the inside of the apartment: from the shower and the steam when cooking, from the dishwasher during the drying phase, the indoor plants as well as the air we breathe and perspiration from humans and pets. When ventilating, you let in the cold air, which, as soon as it warms up, dries out the room air. Therefore you should not ventilate too often and for a long time.

In a building with a continuous mechanical ventilation system (soft ventilation), the windows no longer have to be opened. Such ventilation systems ensure constant fresh room air and save heating energy. However, if an office or apartment is "understaffed", the indoor air can become very dry in winter. As an example: A ventilation system for a "4-room apartment with kitchen" is normally designed for four people. If only one person lives here, however, this could mean that too much fresh air (which - as already described - contains little water vapor) can reduce the relative humidity inside the apartment to below 30% - which is why you then have to throttle the ventilation. The same drought phenomenon due to permanent air exchange can also occur in old buildings with leaky windows.

The unpleasant consequences
from air that is too dry

If the humidity drops below 30% for several days, you notice how the skin, eyes, nose and throat become dry and begin to itch and scratch. Sensitive people can even develop a dry cough, conjunctivitis or a rash. If the rooms are overheated, lowering the temperature causes the humidity to increase (see right). You can also bring some moisture into the air, for example by drying the laundry on a clothes horse, only letting the bath water run off when it has cooled down, or watering the indoor plants - some, like the papyrus, can evaporate a lot of water.

If you have no other option than to buy a humidifier, find out about its power consumption and make sure that it has a hygrostat (used to regulate the humidity) so that it does not produce excessive moisture and does not waste electricity: because this device is used precisely at the time of the year when the increase in nationwide electricity consumption should be avoided. A humidifier must be cleaned carefully and regularly: stale water favors the development of microorganisms and if the hygiene is inadequate, a humidifier can turn into a bacteria thrower.
 

Humidifier without electricity:

• Radiator evaporatorthat are hung on the radiator. It is a simple water container in which a suspended blotting paper sucks up the water and releases it into the air. This passive air humidification only works reasonably acceptable with very hot radiators, such as those found in old, poorly insulated houses. The stale water and blotting paper can develop into true foci of bacteria and mold. The blotting paper has to be replaced from time to time as it clogs up with the lime contained in the water.

• 3D humidification poster
This ingenious humidifier developed by a Swiss company (Necono AG) looks like a work of art (Photo)that is attached to the wall. The evaporation paper is available in different motifs. From the water reservoir at the top, the water flows at intervals, regulated from top to bottom, over the paper, from where it evaporates in contact with the air. This system is designed to bypass stale water in the tanks; the nucleation is thus actively suppressed. It is recommended to change the evaporator paper every year.
 

Humidifier with electricity:

Close one so that too much moisture is not produced or unnecessary electricity is used Hygrostat to your humidifier (a device that switches the humidifier on or off depending on the desired humidity)

• Atomizer with fan (nebulizer)
This humidifier consists of a porous surface that absorbs water (sponge, filter mat, fine sieve) and a fan. In some models, the fan and absorber are combined. Since the water is not heated, these devices consume relatively little electricity - between 8 and 40 watts. However, since many of these atomizers are sold without a hygrostat control, they are often in continuous operation. If the absorber element needs to be replaced, find out about the costs before buying. Find out about the noise level of this device, because excessively high emissions can quickly become a nuisance in the bedroom. Follow the instructions in the instruction manual for cleaning.

• Evaporator
These devices heat the water to the boiling point, which leads to the formation of hot water vapor; in this respect they resemble a kettle. These humidification systems are very large power guzzlers (300-500 watts). Some models cool the water vapor a little before it is released into the air in order to reduce the risk of burns (nevertheless, caution is advised, especially with small children!). The escaping water vapor is germ-free, but the device still needs to be cleaned regularly (see instructions for use). A hygrostat is indispensable to prevent excessive humidity, but it will not reduce excessive power consumption (approx. CHF 50 per year for a 400 watt device).

• Ultrasonic atomizer (nebulizer)
These humidifiers are the most expensive on the market. They atomize the water mechanically with high frequency vibrations (ultrasound) in tiny droplets and thus spread a cool or lukewarm mist. Noise level, power consumption (30-300 watts) and hygiene technology to prevent the formation of bacteria vary depending on the model. So that no lime is spread with the water mist - visible on white residues on furniture and the floor - most devices are equipped with a filter that has to be changed regularly. A hygrostat is indispensable and cleaning must be carried out carefully according to the manufacturer's instructions so that no living bacteria - or microbacterial residues - are spread with the water droplets.

 

Statement by the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) on humidifiers -www.bag.admin.ch

Humidifiers that use less electricity - www.topten.ch

 

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