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How To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality – Humidifier Vs Air Purifier 

Dry, dirty air is bad for your health, and can have both long-term and immediate effects on you and your family. This is especially true during the winter. We prairie folk like to spend those chilly months either on a hot holiday, or snuggled up inside the house. Unfortunately, a house with poor indoor air quality can produce annoying symptoms such as: 


  • Dryness of hair, skin, lips, and nose (the latter often leads to nosebleeds) 

  • Allergy and asthma attacks 

  • Sinus irritation 

  • Sore throats 

  • Unexplained cold or flu-like symptoms 

  • General tiredness and lethargy 

  • Heavy snoring 

The good news is that there is help in sight. Either an air purifier or a humidifier can do wonders in terms of correcting your indoor air quality and ultimately, your physical health. These two devices are not interchangeable, though. 


So the question is: Air purifier vs. humidifier - how do you know which you need in your home? Find out the differences and learn which is best for your situation. 


How Does A Humidifier Help? 

A humidifier will add moisture to indoor air which is overly dry – that is, below 30% relative humidity, the minimum recommended humidity level. You can actually measure relative humidity with a simple, inexpensive gadget called a hygroscope. Dry air in your home is most common during the winter, due to the drying effects of our heating systems. (Ever noticed how static builds up indoors in the winter months? That’s caused by excessive dryness in the air.) Small freestanding humidifiers like the type used for childhood illnesses are available. However, for more convenient, effective results, installation of a whole-home furnace humidifier is preferable. 


How Does An Air Purifier Help? 

An air purifier (or “air cleaner”) is designed to improve indoor air quality by getting rid of airborne contaminants such as VOCs, dust, or pollen. Although these appliances are sometimes referred to as air filters, many air purifiers work by means of other processes like ionization. While many sources can contaminate the air of your home, some of the most common examples are: 


  • Dust and dust mites — very irritating, particularly to someone already prone to allergies or asthma. 

  • Pet dander (skin cells sloughed off by your pets) — actually more problematic than fur shedding. 

  • Mould spores 

  • Formaldehyde — an ingredient in the glue used for many household furnishings and materials 

  • Emission from fuel-powered combustion appliances, such as furnaces or gas stoves 

  • Tobacco smoke 

TIP: Different types of air purifiers have different capabilities. Talk with one of our indoor air quality specialists about the best model for your specific situation. Be sure to mention if a family member suffers from a respiratory problem such as allergies, asthma, or emphysema. 


Freestanding or Whole-House Air Purifier? 

As with humidifiers, air purifiers come in freestanding and whole-house versions. We recommend the whole-house variety for a number of good reasons: 


  1. Whole-home air cleaners live up to their name, ameliorating air quality throughout your home, rather than in just one room. 

  1. They are quieter than standalone versions. 

  1. You will have to change the filter less frequently. 

  1. They are more discreet and space-saving since you won’t need separate units in every room. 

  1. They clean more efficiently. 


The Best Air Quality Solution 

Whether you need a whole-home humidifier or air cleaner, the best solution is one that is tailored specifically to your home and your family’s needs. R&D Plumbing & Heating carries a range of air quality improvement products. Talk with us about which is right for you. 



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