Humidifier: FSA Eligibility
What is a humidifier?
A humidifier is a device that emits water vapor or steam to increase moisture levels or humidity in a single room or even entire building. Point-of-use humidifiers are used at home to humidify a single room. Central or furnace humidifiers are connected to a larger HVAC system to increase humidity throughout a whole house or commercial and industrial places. Medical ventilators are also used to increase patient comfort at hospitals (Healthline).
What are the different types of humidifiers?
Ultrasonic humidifiers produce a cool mist using ultrasonic vibration while Impeller humidifiers do it using a rotating disk. Evaporators have fans that blow air through a wet wick or filter. Steam vaporizers use electricity to create steam that cools before leaving the machine. Be careful using a steam vaporizer around children though, because when spilled, the hot water inside can cause burns (HealthStatus).
The amount of humidity varies depending on the season and weather where one lives. In general, humidity levels are higher in the summer and lower during winter months. The level should ideally be between 30 and 50 percent. Too high and you can feel stuffy and get condensation on surfaces, triggering growth of bacteria, dust mites, and molds. A humidity level that is too low can cause dry skin, nasal passages and throat as well as itchy eyes.
Humidifiers can ease symptoms of asthma and allergies as well as during a respiratory infection like a cold. Dirty mist or growth of allergens from an uncleaned humidifier can exacerbate conditions though, so it is important to keep humidifiers clean.
How to do I properly maintain my humidifier?
Use distilled or demineralized water when cleaning the humidifier. Change the humidifier water every day if possible as to not allow film or deposits to develop inside your humidifiers. Give the humidifier a thorough cleaning every three days. When changing and cleaning the humidifier, make sure to unplug the unit and dry the inside surfaces before refilling. Also make sure to change the humidifier filters regularly just as you would the central air conditioning and heating system (Sylvane Inc.).