Better to Have a Humidifier or Dehumidifier? (We Find Out)

It is either dry or humid where you live, and you need to figure out which is better: a humidifier or dehumidifier. However, attempting to find out which device will better suit your family is a difficult question at hand, so we made this article for you!

The answer entirely lies in where you live. If you are in a hotter, more humid environment, you will benefit heavily from using a dehumidifier. If the opposite is true, and you live in a dry, arid location, like a desert, a humidifier would be helpful. 

When you decide which one will work best for you, you have to consider these factors and any latent health factors that may become an issue if you over-expose yourself to either. 

Is it Better to Have a Humidifier or Dehumidifier?

Now that we’ve briefly touched base on some reasons you may want to get one or the other, let’s dive a little deeper to understand better the qualities that each has to offer in your home. 

How Humidity Affects Your Home

What is humidity in the first place? By definition, humidity is a standard measurement of how moist the air is and can cause any number of serious issues ranging from mold to structural damage to your house.

Humidity can have some pretty extreme influences on your day-to-day life. Your home can take a pretty dramatic turn for the worse if you are experiencing high humidity levels.

If left unattended in a home with high humidity, you can see gradual mold build-up, accompanying a particularly musty smell from the origin. The smell amplifies as it builds up into an overwhelming aroma that assaults the senses. 

Mold isn’t the only issue that can arise from having a humid household. However, with the risers in humidity, you can experience an influx of unwanted house guests, particularly in the form of bugs and other creatures that love damp places.

Combating an excessive amount of moisture build-up is as easy as purchasing a dehumidifier. Conversely, if your home is too dry, you can invite different breeds of mold and insects as well. 

Hence, the goal is to find out what will make your home hospitable to only you and your family. 

How Humidity Affects Your Health

Having materialistic goods damaged is nothing compared to the havoc that wreaks on your well-being if you don’t have your home’s humidity in check. 

Letting things get a little too moist invites that same mold we spoke of, making breathing difficult thanks to the air being heavier than average. 

Even worse than that, you could get the fabled enemy of any dwelling, black mold. This mold is hazardous if exposed to it for lengths of time.

Excess moisture can worsen certain health conditions and other illnesses. Anything from asthma to bronchitis will have you suffering immensely in unchecked conditions. Be careful to monitor the humidity of your home can have some pretty severe benefits if done correctly. 

Some studies have proven that utilizing either a dehumidifier or humidifier can stabilize the following:

  • Airflow
  • Regulate the quality of the air you breathe
  • Positively affect your overall health

In that case, there is a reason to have one or the other. Still, again, the climate you live in heavily determines which one will be the most beneficial to you.

What Does Each One Do?

Humidifier Dehumidifier
Increases moisture in the air.Decreases moisture in the air.
Used more in the winter months when the air is drier.Used more during the summertime when the air is more humid and warm.
It helps with skin drying out.It prevents allergies & headaches from occurring.
Controls nasal congestion, nose bleeds & allergies.Limits mold and mildew from building up. 

1. Humidifier

As we’ve discussed, a dehumidifier removes excess moisture in the air. In that case, a humidifier increases just how condensation there is. Still, a humidifier has quite a few aces up the sleeve that will aid it in giving you a peaceful night’s sleep.

Benefits

The first of these benefits come in the form of keeping your skin well hydrated and ensuring that you don’t experience excessive flaking. 

Not only that, but the moisture manages to keep both your nostrils and throat moist as well. Having both moisturized means, you won’t wake up feeling dehydrated and run the risk of getting sick due to exposure overnight.

Another tremendous boon that comes with that hydration is that it keeps the skin inside your nose from drying out, which can stave off getting nose bleeds if you are prone to them.

When utilized in dryer months, you can even fight off excessive nasal congestion, which can also lead to you coming down with a cold.

Drawbacks

When ups are involved, there are also downsides. Humidifiers do not have a lot of them, but some of the things that may cause you not to want a humidifier are that it will build up bacteria and fungus that may occur.

Although this might not be an issue for those who live in dryer areas, it can cause a severe issue if you live in a more wet area.

Another drawback is that it creates white dust, which the cause of breathing it in is unknown but is believed to be unhealthy. Nevertheless, if you have distilled water lying around, then you can easily avoid it.

Different Types

When it comes to humidifiers, there are only two different types: warm mist and cool mist. Each one works a bit differently than the other. 

  • Warm mist (steam): Releases steam into the air by boiling water. 
  • Cold mist: Evaporates the water with a rotating disc or fan that brings water into the air. 

2. Dehumidifier

Ah yes, our trusty friend, the dehumidifier. This guy removes moisture, as we know perfectly well by now. Despite being the polar opposite of the dehumidifier, it still offers a few benefits. 

Both of these devices can serve as air purifiers and improve our quality of life. Furthermore, only the dehumidifier has a tank that needs to be routinely emptied as it gathers the moisture from the air around it.

Although the dehumidifier creates exceptional comfort, you’ll be required to empty the tray quite frequently if you are home often.

However, some dehumidifiers offer a hose that you can attach to the side and let out through somewhere like a tub, sink, or drain.

Benefits

Dehumidifiers constantly stabilize the excess moisture in the room and have some other pretty astounding benefits. 

These benefits range from lessening headaches due to less moisture to electronics not being destroyed, giving you some reasonably large bills. No one wants neither of those to happen! 

Another boon you gain from using a dehumidifier is removing habitat for bugs like spiders, crickets, roaches, etc. So, if you have a phobia of insects, you want to make sure you have one of these devices to make your home bug-free!

Drawbacks

The major drawback to using a dehumidifier is that they are very noisy. It may not be an issue if you use it in the basement or somewhere you’re not around as much. However, it is wise to purchase a quiet dehumidifier for those who want one in your bedroom.

As we mentioned above, it does require a bit more maintenance than a humidifier does. The reason being is that you’ll have to empty the tray regularly unless if you have an attachment hose. In that case, it is turn on the device and forget about it.

Lastly, a dehumidifier may increase the energy bill, so make sure to purchase a model that saves on energy. On the contrary, you will only see the bill go up during summertime more often than not. However, if you live in a place with high humidity, saving money this way may be an issue.

Different Types

In the dehumidifier category, there are four main kinds. Still, the refrigerant, which uses a fan to pull moisture out of the air, is the one you will see the most. 

  • Refrigerant
  • Desiccant
  • Electronic
  • Ionic

Conclusion

There is no reason you couldn’t make expert use of both a dehumidifier and a humidifier, depending on the season and humidity of the air in your home. 

You have to make sure you are using them responsibly and can quickly benefit from both without suffering any consequences. 

The only thing to take into consideration would be your diligence in monitoring the humidity in your home. If you aren’t sure what that precise level is, a hygrometer gives you the answer. It allows you to make a choice that keeps your home at the perfect humidity level.

Sources

Photo of author

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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