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As pleasant as the dry Colorado climate can be, too little humidity in your home can cause problems, such as dry, scratchy, irritated eyes, nose, throat and skin, can lead to nosebleeds and can prolong respiratory infections. Fortunately, humidifiers can provide allergy relief and ease other symptoms, but which type is best — a whole-house humidifier or a portable humidifier?
Having the right amount of humidity positively impacts the comfort level in your home. As previously mentioned, it lessens the effects of allergy and other respiratory symptoms. Dry air also wicks moisture out of hardwood floors, wood furnishings, trim, and musical instruments such as violins and pianos, so a humidifier that keeps your home’s humidity at 30 to 50 percent can protect those investments as well.
A whole-house unit works with the blower in your HVAC system and your home’s plumbing. Once installed, as the name implies, it maintains a constant level of humidity throughout your whole house without any additional work on your part, other than some annual maintenance.
A room humidifier is a stand-alone, portable unit powered by electricity (plugged into a standard electric outlet) and uses water that is added to a reservoir. The unit converts the water into a mist that adds moisture to the air. Most room humidifiers can adequately humidify one or two rooms.
A whole-house humidifier has the advantage of convenience. Because it is connected to your plumbing, it doesn’t need to be refilled and requires almost no maintenance. Everyone in your household enjoys the benefits no matter where they are in the house. These units are quiet and inexpensive to operate. The downsides are that they are not portable, they require professional installation (unless you are handy) and they need to be thoroughly cleaned once a year.
Portability is the main advantage of a stand-alone humidifier. If you move frequently or are renting, a portable unit is a good option. The downsides are that they only humidify a small area, they can be noisy and they require constant maintenance. Larger units that humidify a larger space can cost as much as a whole-house humidifier.