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Buy a Humidifier to Save Money

This article was written by in Frugality. 11 comments.


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.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Money Beagle

Our furnace has an attached humidifier which is nice. The only expense is to change the filter every so often. The drawback on our end is that the humidistat that controls the level of output is in the basement attached to the furnace. If I had my druthers, I might move it upstairs.

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avatar csdx

Heh actually we just solved the reverse problem this summer, getting a dehumidifier for the basement. Excess humidity is also damaging to your house and can allow mold to grow.

Our thermostat is set fairly low in winter anyways, so even if I bought a humidifier I don’t think I’d want to set it much lower. Though I suppose it might make it feel more pleasant, meaning the payback is in comfort rather than something that will be paid back monetarily.

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avatar Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

I have a humidifier, but had never thought of it as a way to save money. Thanks for helping me love my machine even more. (Way cooler excuse to purchase one than “asthma”!)

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avatar DonnaFreedman ♦2,442 (Dollar)

A friend of mine who plays piano says that’s why he put the dog’s bed right under the instrument: the animal’s exhalations would send moist air upwards.
He swears it works.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,365 (Platinum)

Hah! If only they taught me that in college…

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avatar John Bartal

I can appreciate you pointing out the effects of the humidifier on the stringed and wood instruments. My sister plays the harp and she recently invested in a humidifier to extend the life of her harp, and more specifically, the strings on the harp. The harp’s strings aren’t ridiculously expensive to replace, but they’re expensive enough to make investing in the humidifier a wise decision. Great article!

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avatar Carl Lassegue

Excellent article! Who knew a humidifier could help save money in the long run. Thank you for the tips.

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avatar cleo

I suggest people look into the claims being made here. Cold air has reduced ability to accept moisture. You can add moisture to cold air but it will quickly reach very high relative humidity. Cold air with high relative humidity “feels” colder than dry air of the same temperature because high humidity in cold weather increases the conduction of heat from the body. High relative humidity (regardless of the lower amount of actual water in the air) in a home is a recipe for condensation problems…and hopefully none of that is happening inside your walls (i.e. leaking in from electrical boxes…) because it will condense on cold exterior surfaces and create a mold issue when the temperature eventually does increase. The battle is almost always to keep relative humidity low in a home. I don’t buy this article; I think it’s about consumerism.

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avatar Joe Q.

There is a happy medium and I suspect it all depends on where you live. In northern, colder climates, indoor air in the winter can be extremely dry (RH about 20%) and uncomfortable. Somewhere in the 35-45% range there is a comfort zone that makes breathing easier, reduces dry skin and static, but is not nearly high enough to cause condensation (unless you live in Alaska).

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avatar Gerard

Another low-cost option is to rack-dry your clothes indoors in the winter, which has the added advantage of saving electricity/money/Earth by avoiding use of your dryer.

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avatar qixx ♦1,813 (Half-Dollar)

While i’m not sure on the financial savings at this point i think i should get one for the comfort level it looks like it should provide.

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