Humidifiers are widely known for helping people breathe easier. They add moisture to a room, which soothes the person’s irritated respiratory system. So, if it improves the air quality that way, one can assume that it cleans the air as well.
An air purifier cleans indoor air, but it does nothing to affect humidity levels. It removes smoke, dust, and other particles from the air in the room. That includes allergens like pet dander. A humidifier adds water vapor to the air but does not clean the air in the room.
What an Air Purifier Does
The purpose of an air purifier is to remove airborne contaminants from indoor air. It uses a set of filters to clean the air in a room or home. It cycles the air in a room through these filters to remove dust, allergens, and other contaminants. The filters trap the dust and other particles, which results in better air quality, which in turn makes the air easier to breathe.
There are two basic types of air purifiers, mechanical and electrostatic air purifiers.
Mechanical Air Purifiers
The most common type of air purifier is a mechanical one. The filters inside a mechanical air purifier are usually foam or pleated paper or some other synthetic material. Usually, at least one of the filters inside an air purifier are HEPA filters. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air.
HEPA filters can trap up to 99.97 percent of contaminant particles in the air that are at least 0.3 microns in size. This has proven to be effective in relieving symptoms of asthmas, allergies, and other respiratory conditions.
The unit may pair the HEPA filter with a charcoal filter to aid in eliminating odors. Though, air purifiers don’t affect the humidity levels in the air one way or the other. They only filter and clean the air.
Electrostatic Air Purifiers
Electrostatic air purifiers use electrostatic methods to clean air. They trap particles by applying an electrical charge to them. They then use Ionizers to produce negative ions, thus creating a negative charge on suspended particles. Those particles settle out of the air and onto surfaces, where you can wipe them up.
What a Humidifier Does
As stated above, a humidifier’s primary function is to add moisture into the air. It does this by delivering water vapor into the room. You may or may not see the vapor in the air if the mist is very fine. As the humidifier runs, you need to add water to the unit’s reservoir. The machine draws water from the reservoir and converts it to a mist, or vapor.
People with respiratory issues or those in dry climates enjoy the benefits of a humidifier. They often relieve sinus and throat irritations, dry skin, and even nose bleeds caused by arid conditions.
How Humidifiers Can Actually Increase Dust
While a humidifier eases cold and allergy symptoms, it can actually create dust when not used correctly. If the owner uses tap water or mineral water in the machine, the humidifier releases a white mist, which settles as dust on walls and furniture.
The minerals in the water are what you see. Most likely, you will find white sediment in the humidifier’s reservoir as well. The white mist is unsightly, and can also irritate your sinuses, which is counter to the machine’s purpose.
To correct this, give your humidifier a thorough cleaning, Then, be sure to use only distilled water in your unit. Distilled water is filtered, so only trace minerals are present in the water.
Another option is purchasing a humidifier that comes with a demineralizing filter. This type of filter catches the minerals in the water before they are turned to vapor and disbursed into the room’s air.
Which Do You Need To Remove Dust: An Air Purifier or Humidifier?
If your goal is to remove the amount of dust in your home, then an air purifier is your solution. Though, keep in mind the additional benefits of filtering your air. Air purifiers are wonderful for people with allergies, asthma, and respiratory conditions. The cleaner the air, the easier it is to breathe.
If you live in a dry climate, then a humidifier will aid in balancing humidity levels. Whether you use it seasonally or only when you have a cold, a humidifier will add the needed moisture to the air.
Using a Humidifier and an Air Purifier Together
There’s no reason why you can’t use both a humidifier and an air purifier in the same room. Since they both serve different purposes, you may very well need both to create a more comfortable environment.
In fact, if you have allergies, a humidifier can actually increase the impact of allergens on your respiratory system. If you increase the humidity in the air, it will be easier to breathe. That results in your inhaling more of the allergens in the room. This can further irritate your lungs, throat, nose, and eyes. In this case, adding a filtering system is a smart way to cycle these contaminants out of the air.
The purifier will get to work cleaning out the pollutants in the air, in which the humidifier adds moisture to the room. To allow your humidifier to maximize the vapor, place the units on opposite sides of the room. You’ll get the benefits of both machines, creating an optimal breathing environment.
Because both air purifiers and humidifiers help ease respiratory discomfort, it’s easy to make the connection between the two. Though, as you can see, each machine has a very different function.
Does a humidifier eliminate dust? No, though it can work well with or without an air purifier to ease irritated respiratory and sinus passages. If dust and allergens are your issues, then you need an air purifier in your home.