This weekend, I purchased a humidifier supposedly large enough to affect the relative humidity level throughout my apartment. I have a loft area, making heating and cooling my apartment evenly difficult, and I figured I’d need a large humidifier to affect the bulk of my square-footage.
I purchased the humidifier mainly to reduce static electricity. With my recent interest in listening to music on vinyl, static electricity has been helping the records attract dust, which reduces the sound quality on playback.
Finding the right humidifier wasn’t easy. There aren’t many choices and most are rated poorly by current customers. I found one of the better-reviewed humidifiers, from the Kenmore brand, at Sears. The Kenmore brand is identical to the Essick brand; you might be able to find the same item without the Kenmore label for less money online. Adding in shipping costs, however, the Kenmore version is the same price, and the only concern would be driving to Sears and finding the humidifier I wanted in stock.
After running the humidifier for several hours, the relative humidity level, as measured by the monitor within the unit, went from less than 25% to 50%, my target.
Although it wasn’t my primary concern when purchasing the humidifier, the device can help a household save money.
- Humid air feels warmer than dry air, so you can lower your thermostat during the winter by several degrees. If you are able to turn your thermostat down by 3 degrees due to the increased comfortableness during the winter, you can save 6 to 12 percent off your heating bill.
- By keeping your air humid, you can reduce the effects of dry skin and nasal passages. A relative humidity of 40 to 50 percent reduces the chance of illness due to those factors, and healthy families save money on remedies for illnesses, medicine, and visits to the doctor.
- You can save money on humidifiers by doing it yourself; boiling water on the stove adds moisture to the air without taking out your wallet. That could be a good approach for small living spaces.
- Placing your humidifier near a cool air intake can help distribute moist air efficiently throughout your entire house. Otherwise, one room might receive the bulk of the benefit of the humidifier, depending on your floor plan.
- If you have musical instruments in your house, particularly wood instruments like a piano, humidifiers can extend their life and prevent warping of the wood.
Keep in mind that you’re trading ongoing savings for an upfront investment. If your humidifier cost $130, it would take several months of adjusted thermostat programming to recover the amount you pay to acquire the device.
Published or updated February 13, 2012. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.