What is a Humidifier and How does it Work


Weather elements such as humidity can have far-reaching implications on the health of an individual. Most people are unaware that various skin and eye infections are caused by unfavorable humidity levels, and reconciliation has been indiscriminately neglected. 

The means to reach the proper levels of humidity is abundant. Even before the introduction of specialized appliances such as humidifiers, other devices were used as substitutes, which although did not render much of an effective performance, could be considered satisfactory. 

But now since specialized appliances such as humidifiers and dehumidifiers have been introduced with their central objective being reaching the desired levels of humidity, comfort and health have been prioritized by many families.

So, what is a humidifier? How does it work? What are the different types of humidifiers, and how do they increase the amount of moisture in the air? These are some of the questions that we will strive to answer.

what is humidifier and how does it work

What is a Humidifier?

what is humidifier

A humidifier is an electrical appliance that augments the humidity, that is, the amount of water vapor or moisture in the air, in a given place to make up for the lack thereof. Most humidifiers restore the proper humidity levels in enclosed spaces such as rooms or houses.

They can be installed as separate units in different rooms or could be installed as an integrated system with other units such as dehumidifier, heater air-conditioner, etc. Advanced humidifiers furnish you with information about the room temperature, outside temperature, humidity of the room, humidity outside the room, and take the necessary measures to achieve the desired level of humidity.

Humidifiers are widely used in dry regions with desert-like climates or regions extreme temperatures in general. Low humidity has several health hazards that should not be overlooked or taken for granted if you wish the best for your family. 

Low-humidity may cause eye and skin irritation, rashes, drying out of mucus membrane, particularly lining of nose and throat that may cause respiratory problems. Similar is the case with high humidity too. Both cases can have serious and health-threatening implications, and thus, a proper balance is imperative. That is precisely what the humidifier does. 

How does a Humidifier Work?

Humidifiers consist of a reservoir that contains cold water, which is then dispensed into a basin. An integrated filter receives the water dispensed into the basin and blows air through the moist filter.

Humidifiers consist of a reservoir that contains cold water, which is then dispensed into a basin. An integrated filter receives the water dispensed into the basin and blows air through the moist filter.

Air consist of a definite amount of water vapor. The share of water vapor in the air, amongst other components, differs from region to region, particularly depending on the ambient temperature of that region. If the air is warm, it can hold more water. As the temperature increases, the humidity increases along with it. 

The humidifier comes in handy in a region with low humidity. As we discussed, the severe health impact and personal discomfort caused by low humidity. This can be easily rectified by humidifiers. You can experience low humidity, particularly in winter, just as high humidity is experienced in summers. 

If your sweat does not evaporate in summer, the humidity in your region is likely to be very high. The effect is contrary to this in winters when the humidity is low. In winter, most of us choose to use the heater. But in fact, humidifiers are a more of a worthy companion. 

Types of Humidifiers

Humidifiers are of many kinds, and the variations are based on several factors, including the location of residence. Other factors include the reason for purchase, the size of the device, your budget, and the extent of the area which the humidifier is supposed to serve. 

Based on these factors, the humidifiers have been classified into five types, all with distinct design, functionality, and operation but with the same foundational objective, that is, increasing the number of water vapors in the air. 

Based on the size, the humidifiers can also be classified into the console and portable humidifiers. Console are comparatively larger in size and is expected to render its service to a vast area such as a house. Whereas, the portable humidifier can only increase the moisture in an area as big as a room. These can be mobilized much easily so you can move it around anywhere in the house. 

Central Humidifier

A central humidifier is a unit that effectively increases the amount of water vapor in the house. These can come in various forms, such as in portable form, console models, tabletop, and they effectively moisturize an area as big as a room.

These units can only be installed in the room’s air-conditioning and heating systems and cannot function as a separate entity. In this way, they can humidify an entire house instead of just one room. 

These are widely preferred over all the others because of its efficacious performance, unreal durability, and as they come with the least disadvantages. Subsequently, they are far more expensive than the other types. However, a one-time investment into this unit will go far too long than any other. That is the reason why they are particularly more popular than the rest. 

Steam Humidifier

This humidifier boils the water, then cools and vaporizes the particles or steam in the room. Because of its functionality, it is often called a vaporizer.

The design of the steam humidifier is very simple, and since its performance is limited to rendering water vapors, it is considerably cheaper and inexpensive than other models. 

Most units of steam humidifiers will not empty your wallet, and these devices possess good quality sub-units and have a durable design. Advanced units may cost higher, but the features offered also take a hike. 

Unlike impeller, which we discuss next, the steam humidifier is not safe around children. Moreover, the energy investment in maintaining steam is considerably high as well.

Impeller Humidifier

The framework of an impeller consists of a top rotating disc that constantly runs and throws water in a diffuser. The diffuser converts the water it receives into droplets, which then float in the air.

This increases the level of moisture in the room. These droplets can be visible in the form of mist. It may create a serene and playful atmosphere. These can be purchased at a fair price tag. The disadvantage of this type is that it cannot function on a wide-scale. 

In other words, you can moisture just one room with a single unit of an impeller. For the moisturizing the entire house, you may have to own several impeller units to create a notable impact.

Ultrasonic Humidifier

It consists of a metallic diaphragm that creates an ultrasonic vibration. Imagine a speaker with high frequency; this is how an ultrasonic humidifier unit works. 

They do not make much sound and create mist, manifesting the moisture expelled by the device. It is essential to clean and maintain, and the impeller and ultrasonic units because uncleaned devices may accumulate bacteria that can prove to be hazardous to health and may even lead to serious illnesses. 

Regularly replacing the water with clean water will ensure the utmost comfort, and you would not have to compromise with your health either. 

Evaporator Humidifier

They possess a filter system that blows out moisture via a moistened filter. They use devices like fans to emit water vapors in the air. 

Controlling the levels of humidity

As I have mentioned earlier, there needs to be a proper balance of humidity if you want to experience comfort and do not want to compromise the health of your family. If low humidity can be hazardous, so can high humidity. 

Thus, monitoring humidity regularly and maintaining it is of utmost importance. Experts have suggested that the humidity of a room should be between 30 percent to 50 percent. This is especially important during the night. 

The humidity levels can be monitored using humidity sensors, which are the basic models to measure the amount of moisture in the air. 

Even some humidifiers are equipped with sub-units that can measure the humidity in no time. These devices need to be utilized on a daily basis to keep the humidity in check and to create a balance. Use our recommended humidity monitors to get accurate moisture level in your home. 


Humidifiers can create a notable impact if they are used well. They are necessary pieces of equipment to own as they are very cost-effective, and the performance rendered by them is unrivaled. 

Various types of humidifiers are at your disposal to choose as per your needs and the budget you have. Certain risks are involved while using a humidifier such as injuries caused by burning; this is especially the case with a steam humidifier. 

They can also cause bacterial diseases if the unit is not maintained properly, and the necessary care has not been given to it. Nonetheless, with proper maintenance, they can prove to be highly efficacious devices and must-own for low-humid regions. I hope you found this article helpful.  

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About the Author


I am Tim, a weather enthusiast who loves to watch hurricanes and all other harsh weather conditions. I studied B.Sc(Meteorology) at the University of Miami. With excellent knowledge of Weather Forecasting, Meteorology, and Environmental Science, I am currently working in San Francisco as a Meteorologist. Also, I am a member of The Weather Channel and AccuWeather. In this blog, I will write a detailed review of Weather instruments that you need for survival and other activities.