The cold season is around the corner. As a result, everyone is busy shopping for heating systems or trying to get in touch with the HVAC technician to clean and perform regular maintenance on the central heating system. Hopefully, you haven’t forgotten about the need for an accompanying humidifier.
Although the biting cold is often the primary concern when the chilly weather sets in, the accompanying low humidity levels are just as much an issue. Low indoor humidity quickly causes dry skin, flaky skin, and inflamed nasal membranes. It’s also a recipe for allergic and asthma attacks.
A standard humidifier would help you avoid the trouble and keep your eyes, skin, and nasal membranes healthy throughout the cold season. And, if you’d like to add the humidity with some swagger, then a tower humidifier would be an excellent acquisition.
Below, we discuss more about these tower humidifiers and why you need humidification in the first place. We’ll also give a few tips on features to consider when shopping for a tower humidifier.
Now, the buying process. What do you need to know about tower humidifiers, and what considerations should you prioritize when shopping for one? We’ll find out shortly.
Benefits of a Humidifier
Let’s begin with the reasons why you need a humidifier. Why not just brave the low humidity levels of the cold season? There are four key reasons;
- Avoid cold and flu
Viral colds and flu are some of the first signs of overly dry indoor air. In the winter season, they tend to pass from one person to the next with no signs of slowing down and typically cause the affected person to feel awful. They may even interfere with your sleep.
Research shows that boosting the humidity levels to around 40% reduces influenza virus activity, effectively reducing the risk of flu to a mere 14%. By comparison, in humidity levels of around 22% (about the level you’d experience in the absence of a humidifier), about 75% of influenza are active.
- Alleviate cold and flu symptoms
If the unfortunate event that you already have a cold or flu, the humidifier will still prove incredibly useful. Cold and flu typically come with stubborn but apparent symptoms. These may include pain in the muscles, cough with phlegm, a runny nose, sneezing, and post-nasal drip. You may also experience watery eyes, sinus pressure, throat irritation, and a slight headache.
We’ve already seen that improved indoor humidity alleviates congestion. Besides, it stops running nose and post-nasal drip. But there’s more. Easier breathing relieves sore throat, resolves headaches, and allows for more restful sleep.
- Helps ease nasal congestion
This comes as no surprise. Dry air causes mucus to become dry and thick. The result is usually clogged nasal passages that may leave you breathing with difficulty. If left unattended, the situation may worsen, resulting in a stuffy nose, sore throat, and sinus pain.
Humidifiers solve this problem by adding moisture to the air you breathe. As a result, your mucous membranes stay at the right humidity, with a significantly reduced risk of congestion or clogging. The additional moisture also helps break the phlegm in the nose and chest.
- Prevent dry skin
When the air around is too dry, it leeches moisture from our skins. It’s just how nature works. As it seeks balance, air will “suck” as much moisture from the surrounding environment (and objects) as possible. The reduced moisture levels can leave the skin chapped and flaky. What’s more, using lotions and chapstick may not be enough to rehydrate the skin.
The only solution to this problem is adding moisture to your indoors. Your skin will naturally absorb the moisture and slowly regain its previous supple state. Remember that dry skin can cause or worsen skin issues such as eczema. So, don’t wait too long to bring in a humidifier.
- Other health benefits
Two other ways improved indoor humidification can enhance your health are keeping your hair and scalp healthy and helping with snoring and sleep apnea. Just like the rest of the skin, the scalp is significantly affected by dry air. This can cause an itchy scalp and dandruff. The hair may also become dry and brittle. Boosting indoor humidity levels can help a lot.
As for snoring and sleep apnea, humidifiers help to alleviate dry airways that cause snoring. Snoring, an itchy throat and the many cold and flu symptoms we discussed earlier can also disturb your sleep, resulting in apnea. Humidifiers address the issue by addressing the root causes.
- Other benefits
Finally, humidifiers can also benefit the rest of your home. First off, the increased humidity is critical for houseplants, if you have any. To survive and thrive, plants need water. Secondly, improved humidity is also vital for your pets.
Aside from the plants and pets, improved humidity also protects the wood items and surfaces in your home, reduces static electricity, and lowers heating costs, even if slightly.
Benefits of Tower Humidifiers
Tower humidifiers are large humidifiers that stand on the floor. The main distinction is that they don’t sit on the table or desk like the smaller humidifiers. Instead, they stand alone on the floor from where they pump moisture throughout the intended space. The following are four key reasons you should consider investing in one;
- They are large-capacity humidifiers
This is one of the defining qualities of tower humidifiers. They are typically 4-liter tank humidifiers or larger, with some having capacities as high as six liters. This usually comes with one key benefit – longer running times. The humidifiers can run continuously for many hours, typically days. Many of them run for 50+ on a single refill.
- Ideal for bigger spaces
Owing to their larger size, tower humidifiers are the perfect choice for larger spaces, such as living rooms and master bedrooms. Although the smaller humidifiers may suffice in some instances, you may need several of them in a large room with many people. You’d need to place the smaller humidifier very close to the bed in the bedroom to take maximum advantage of the added humidity in the bedroom. Tower humidifiers can serve more people, in larger rooms, even from several feet away.
- They are extremely portable
The smaller humidifiers are also very portable, maybe even more portable than tower humidifiers considering the size and weight difference. What gives tower humidifiers the edge is that they don’t need a special surface because they stand on the floor. As such, you can take the tower humidifier anywhere, even in rooms, such as the basement, where there may be no unique resting surface, and they’d work fantastically.
Cool vs. Warm Mist Humidifiers
Essentially, cool mist humidifiers emit cool moisture while warm mist models emit heated moisture. So, which is the better option? Which should you go for?
About cool mist humidifiers
Cool mist humidifiers disperse a cool stream of room-temperature mist throughout the surrounding environment. They are primarily available in two styles – evaporative and ultrasonic.
- Evaporative cool-mist humidifiers
These models use an internal wick to absorb water. A fan then blows air drawn from the room through the wick (which often also doubles as a filter). The process causes water to break down into fine mist particles, which are then dispersed into the room.
- Ultrasonic cool-mist humidifiers
These models depend on ultrasonic sound technology to break down water particles into a fine mist stream. The sound vibrations break down water into ultra-fine mist that’s quietly released throughout the surrounding air.
- Safe for use around kids and pets
- Can be used year-round
- More energy efficient
- Greater risk of bacterial growth
- Fan technology makes them louder
About warm mist humidifiers
Warm mist humidifiers use a heating element to boil water and make steam. The steam is then released into the room/home. Since the steam is usually warm, these humidifiers add moisture and supplemental heat to the indoors.
Another critical advantage of warm mist humidifiers is that they are much healthier than their cool mist counterparts. Why? Because boiling the water helps kill any microorganisms. As a result, the moisture that comes into the room is cleaner and healthier.
- Are a potential source of supplemental heat
- Better for reducing bacteria and germs
- Quieter than cool mist humidifiers
- The heat/warm mist poses a burn hazard
- The heating process consumes more energy
Tips for Using a Humidifier
The real work begins after you’ve purchased the humidifier. You’ll need to use it diligently and take good care of it if you’re going to get maximum value for your investment. The following are several tips to consider;
- Install it in the right place
The humidifier should be placed on a piece of furniture at least two feet off the ground, except for tower models that don’t necessarily need to be two feet off the ground because of their height.
- Place it far from the bed
The humidifier should be at least three feet from your bed. This is necessary to prevent over humidification of the area around you, minimize noise as you sleep, and protect you from burns (in the case of warm mist humidifiers).
- Set it to the right humidity level
Though you’re free to choose the humidity level that best suits your needs, somewhere between 45% and 50% is the best setting. It minimizes chances of over or under-humidification.
- Use the right water
Try as much as possible to avoid using tap water in your humidifier. Tap water contains minerals that can affect humidification in many ways. Instead, use distilled water. However, if you must use tap water, demineralize it first.
- Change the water daily
Never let water sit in the humidifier for days. It creates a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Instead, change the water every day. Make sure to rinse the tank with freshwater before refilling with new water.
- Clean the tank regularly
Ideally, you want to clean your humidifier once every week. Switch it off, unplug it from the power outlet, and take it apart. Then use white vinegar to soak and clean the base and parts and bleach to soak and clean the tank. Soaking takes about 30 minutes. After cleaning them, rinse and leave to dry before reassembly.
The following are five of the best tower humidifiers. These products excel in both performance and price and are very reliable in the long term.
- Honeywell HEV620B Top Fill Cool Mist Tower Humidifier
- Large 6.4-liter capacity
- Simple top-fill design
- Space-saving tower design
- Programmable timer
- The treated filter prevents 99.9% of germs
- The filter must be replaced every two weeks
The Honeywell cool moisture humidifier offers filtered invisible moisture in a space-saving tower design. It features a removable tank that makes refilling effortless. You can also refill using a pitcher. The unit’s 6.4-liter (1.5-gallon) tank makes it a great choice for large spaces. It can run continuously for over 24 hours, meaning you don’t need to refill every few hours.
Other key features of the HEV620B include a programmable digital humidistat and timer that allow you to customize the humidification process to fit your needs. The unit also cycles on and off to maintain the set humidity level and automatically turns off when the tank runs empty after a programmed amount of time has passed. The timer allows you to choose from 1-12 running hours.
A refill light signal and filter check light are other notable features. It uses only genuine Honeywell replacement wicking model HFT600 filters.
- TBI Pro Upgraded 2021 Top-Fill 6L Cool Mist Humidifier
- Stylish, modern design
- Ideal for up to 720 square feet
- Runs for 48 hours continuously
- Convenient remote control
- Treated filters ensure safe use
- Filter replacements can be expensive
The TBI Pro upgraded 2021 humidifier is another cool mist humidifier with all the bells and whistles anyone would look for in a great humidifier. It features a modern design and catchy look and comes with a large-capacity, 6-liter tank, making it ideal for large rooms up to 720 square feet. The stylish body easily complements any interior décor. It can run continuously for two days (48 hours) on a full tank.
It has a water indicator that tells you when the unit is running out of water. Something else you quickly notice about the humidifier is the remote control capability. It means you don’t need to leave the sofa to change the humidistat settings. A Sleep Mode and medical stone filter combine to make the unit both efficient and healthy.
The unit features a 360-degree rotating nozzle and works very quietly, producing a mere 30 decibels in sleep mode.
- Pre Enrichment HumeXL Pro Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier
- Large, 5-liter tank
- Remote controlled
- Night mode available
- Night lights available
- 5-year warranty
- No water level indicator
- A bit pricey (at over $100)
Often, people are forced to pick between cool and warm-mist humidifiers. But what if you don’t want to choose? What if you want the convenience of knowing that you have both? The pre Enrichment hybrid HumeXL provides this flexibility. Featuring a sleek and modern design, it comes with a cool-mist setting and warm-mist mode.
Additional features of the HumeXL include the remote control function for convenient use and whisper-quiet operation. The integrated body design contributes to the quiet operation by suppressing any noises. This makes the humidifier a great option for the bedroom, nursery, or even home office. Optional night lights, a night mode setting, and auto-shutoff are other notable features.
This humidifier comes with a base for floor installation and is backed by an industry-leading 5-year warranty.
- Deerma Model LD700 Ultrasonic Floor Standing Humidifier 3.5L Humidifier
- Floor standing humidification
- Adjustable mist levels
- Portable water tank
- Visible water level
- The refilling hole is small
- Makes annoying sounds when empty
The first three options on the list are humidifiers that will cost you quite a bit. They’re all priced close to or over the $100 mark. If you want a stylish tower humidifier but don’t have a budget in that range, this model from Deerma Electric Appliances would be a great alternative. Priced at under $50, it’s a 3.5-liter humidifier that distributes moisture evenly and very reliably.
Several things stand out about the humidifier. For one, it’s a super-quiet ultrasonic unit that produces less than 38 decibels at normal operations thus won’t keep you or your baby awake at night. It also features a 12-hour timer that allows you to program humidification as you wish. Intuitive LED lights, a Sleep Mode, and auto-shutoff when the tank runs out of water, are other notable functions.
The Model LD700 weighs 1.5 kg and allows for real-time temperature adjustment. The mist levels are adjustable.
- Homedics UHE-WM85 Cool and Warm Mist Tower Ultrasonic Humidifier
- Hybrid cool and warm mist humidifier
- Large 1.5-gallon tank
- Runs for up to 65 hours
- 8-hour timer
- Clean-tank technology
- Most expensive on this list
- Leaks have been reported after several weeks of use
Finally, this is another hybrid humidifier with a cool-mist and warm-mist function. This way, you can use the cold-mist setting during the warm weather and the warm mist mode for complementary heating during the colder seasons. It uses ultrasonic sound vibrations to break down water particles into fine mist.
This 1.-5-gallon humidifier’s tank is easy to remove and refill. Better still, it can run non-stop for 65 hours on a full tank. An auto-shutoff function turns off the tank automatically when the tank runs out of water. The humidifier also features an 8-hour timer so you can program your humidification.
The UHE-WM85 employs clean-tank technology to protect the tank from mold and mildew and has an LCD readout that displays humidity target, timer settings, and other details.
Tower humidifiers are an excellent way to add moisture to your rooms and the home in general. They are large, can run for up to 50 hours (or longer) on a full tank, and are ideal for large rooms. All you need to do is find the right one and use it properly. In particular, make sure to properly deep clean the unit at least once a week.