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Do Humidifiers Use A Lot Of Electricity?

Humidity, what is it good for? According to many experts, such as dermatologists, keeping the ambient air humid around your home comes with many benefits.

Whether you want your skin to stop itching, or prevent cracks from appearing in your walls and ceilings, getting a humidifier seems like a good investment.

However, how much electricity will one use?

Depending on size, a humidifier uses between 30 watts of electricity and 250 watts of electricity per hour.

In this article, we’ll discuss what a humidifier does, how much power one can use, how much it can cost to run, some simple maintenance tips, and several alternatives that can also humidify your home.

Using A Humidifier In Your Home

A basic humidifier is designed to add water moisture to the surrounding air.

By taking micro-droplets of water and blowing them into the environment, a humidifier helps increase the overall humidity in the air.

These helpful machines can be especially useful when you’re sick with a dry cough. Some other conditions a humidifier can help with are:

  • Cracked lips
  • Irritated vocal cords
  • A bloody nose
  • Dry skin
  • Headache/sinus congestion
  • Dry throat
  • Nose irritation

Be warned though, too much humidity can also be a bad thing.

Letting your humidifier run for days on end can increase the likelihood of mold, mildew, harmful bacteria, and even dust mites accumulating.

Only use one when it’s needed, and no more than that.

Types of Humidifiers

The most common type you may come across are steam vaporizers.

These humidifiers work by heating up water, cooling it off, and then blowing the steam into the surrounding air.

They’re also the least expensive, and you can find one in just about any drug store.

Other models exist, such as evaporators, ultrasonic humidifiers, impeller humidifiers, and central humidifiers.

Each type varies in how they work and how expensive they are.

Know your needs and which model will suit them best.

Humidifier Electricity Usage

No matter which model you ultimately decide on, any kind of humidifier will always make use of electricity to produce steam.

However, how much power is consumed depends on the type you get, and how often you use it.

The cheaper portable ones will only use around 30 to 50 watts (W) per hour.

If you need something way stronger than that, such as a whole-house humidifier, it will use about 250 watts of energy per hour.

If your humidification needs only consist of how long your cold lasts, it’s recommended that you get a cheaper vaporizer model, which might only cost you $45.

If you need that extra bit of humidity year round, it might be a good idea to have a whole-house humidifier installed, which will set you back around $1000 or more depending on installation costs.  

How To Calculate Electricity Costs For A Humidifier

Speaking of costs, how much will it cost to run a humidifier anyway?

To figure this out, we’ll need to look at a couple of factors first.

These include converting watts into kilowatts per hour (kWh), the price your energy company charges you per kilowatt hour, and how often you plan to use your device.

To convert watts into kilowatts, simply take the wattage of your humidifier (let’s say, 50W), divide that number by 1000, and you get 0.05 kWh.

The cost per kilowatt hour varies greatly depending where you live, so check your monthly energy bills for the current rate you’re being charged.

For our purposes, let’s say the rate is 15 cents per kWh, or $0.15.

Multiply that with the kilowattage your device uses (0.05), and you’ll get $0.0075 to run your device for an hour’s time.

Seems cheap, right? Yet, now you have to factor in how often you’ll use it in a month.

Say you want to run it overnight every day of the week for eight hours.

Multiply $0.0075 by 8 to get $0.06 or six cents to run it for one day.

For weekly, multiply six cents by seven and you get $0.42 per week.

For monthly, multiply $0.06 by 30 to get $1.8.

Just a reminder, these equations are general guidelines on how much it could cost you, but actual costs will vary depending on usage, model, and what an energy company will charge monthly.

Keeping Your Humidifier Energy Efficient

Keep in mind that your humidifier will need some maintaining.

To prevent it from working harder than it should (therefore, increasing your energy bill), keep it clean from mineral deposits and any mold or bacteria that might grow on it.

One way to avoid mineral buildup in the first place is to only use distilled water when you can.

To prevent all kinds of gross things from calling your humidifier home, it’s recommended that you clean and dry it out after every use.

Two solutions you can use are hydrogen peroxide, or a combination of water and vinegar.

Just don’t forget to give your device a good rinsing to prevent any chemicals from being vaporized!

If you’re unsure how to give your humidifier the cleaning it needs, consult the owner’s manual to see which parts need a cleaning and which ones don’t.

Humidifier Alternatives

If getting a humidifier at this time is outside your budget, there are some ways you can humidify your house without one.

For example, you can get what’s called a stove steamer (a cast iron object) that will release water vapor if you put it on your stove.

Speaking of stoves, cooking pasta and other foods on your stove will also increase humidity levels, especially when using boiling pots of water.

Other options include, hanging your wet laundry to dry, taking a hot shower or bath, putting a bowl of water on a sunny windowsill, or even getting a fair number of houseplants.

No matter which option or combination thereof you choose, the goal you’re trying to achieve is introducing more water vapor into your home.

Final Word

Excessive dryness can ruin anyone’s day.

Yet, at least you now know what you can do.

Using a humidifier will help, but you don’t necessarily need one to increase the humidity levels inside your home.

Carefully consider your needs, shop around, and pick the best option that best suits you and your bank account.  

image: HS You, Flickr, CC 2.0

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