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#1
Old 01-11-2010, 11:44 AM
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Cool mist humidifier vs. warm steam vaporizer

I've been battling head colds this winter, and my warm steam vaporizer has become one of the most important appliances in the house.

I prefer it to the mist humidifiers because it doesn't have a wick that grows mold & spews it into the air, it doesn't cover everything with white dust, and it seems to get the air humidified much faster.

On websites, though, there seems to be a pervasive bias in favor of the mist humidifiers. I have run into this preference in conversation, too.

Tell me, what on earth is the advantage of the humidifer over the vaporizer?
#2
Old 01-11-2010, 02:08 PM
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Okay, somebody PM when the nominations for "most boring thread topic of the year" are announced.
#3
Old 01-11-2010, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sattua View Post
Tell me, what on earth is the advantage of the humidifer over the vaporizer?
Allow me to contribute to the stifling boredom that is this thread.

Like you, I don't care for the dust output from cool-mist humidifiers. But they have two advantages over the steam generators:

1. they are quiet: no gurgling/boiling noises, and

2. they are cheaper to run.

#2 is because it doesn't take much energy to atomize the water with a ultrasonic transducer; instead of using electrical energy to turn the liquid water into vapor, the energy to vaporize those liquid droplets comes from the air in your house, which you then reheat with your efficient central heating system (heat from your furnace is always cheaper than heat from your electrical outlet).

The wick/fan humidifiers are also cheaper to run than steam generators, but the fan that blows air over the wick can be noisy.

We're still looking for a good steam generator. Bought my wife a Holmes for Christmas, turned out to be a piece o' crap.
#4
Old 01-11-2010, 04:16 PM
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In the think-of-the-children department, a cool mist humifier is not going to burn your kids.

My daughter's ultrasonic humidifier is very quiet compared to my steam humidifier. Contrary to your experience, it also seems to have a higher output.

In terms of growing nasties, I definitely prefer the ultrasonic over the wick kind because, at least with ours, it is very easy to give it a quick bleaching if things start to look funky.
#5
Old 01-11-2010, 04:27 PM
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Boring topic, yes -- and yet look at the responses...zzzzzzz

Agree that the biggest objection I've seen to steam vaporizers is safety. Bah! My mother regularly plunked one down by my bed (or put one in my croup tent), and I made it to adulthood with only a few unsightly burn scars.

Seriously, though, if you don't have to worry about kids, steam vaporizers are vastly superior to the mist kind. But maybe that's because, in addition to the fact that steam is more effective in loosening up congestion than mist (my shower is my cite!), I find the gurgling noises and the aroma of Kaz to be very soothing.
#6
Old 01-11-2010, 06:29 PM
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In addition to suspecting that warm mist is more beneficial to sinus passages, I also find my old Slant/Fin steam humidifier seems to get the moisture into the air more efficiently, unlike my daughters' stupid ultrasonic penguin (band name!) which has to be at least two feet off the floor to avoid "humidifying" a small section of carpet and nothing else. (The penguin water tank also has a nifty handle . . . which you're not supposed to carry it by if it has water in it. Brilliant!)
#7
Old 01-11-2010, 06:47 PM
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I use a vaporizer when I don't feel good by draping a towel over my head and breathing in the steam. It's a little slice of heaven.
#8
Old 01-11-2010, 07:11 PM
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Our last house had really really hard water. With a cool mist humidifier, we might make it all the way through the winter on one wick. Anything involving heat or ultrasonics would make it a couple of months and then the whole thing would have to be replaced because of the build up of scale, calcium and random metals that made it past the water softener. Yep, did the soaking in vinegar/CLR/scrubbing with a brush. Our only chance to make those work for any length fo time would have been to use distilled water.
#9
Old 01-30-2010, 11:51 AM
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Huge humidifier newbee here! HELP!

Hi..i am using a Holmes HM495TG Ultrasonic mist humidifier in a bedroom that is about 180sqft.....the unit states it will handle a medium sized bdrm and living room. My question is: why is it that i ran the unit all night and still woke up with a severely dry mouth and throat?? do I have the wrong type for high output??...it seems to me the unit is humidifying the air like right next to the unit and not even touching the rest of the room.....do I really need to run my ceiling fan to pull the moisture into the rest of the room?? is this thing acutally treating the whole room??
#10
Old 01-30-2010, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mssw07 View Post
Hi..i am using a Holmes HM495TG Ultrasonic mist humidifier in a bedroom that is about 180sqft.....the unit states it will handle a medium sized bdrm and living room. My question is: why is it that i ran the unit all night and still woke up with a severely dry mouth and throat?? do I have the wrong type for high output??...it seems to me the unit is humidifying the air like right next to the unit and not even touching the rest of the room.....do I really need to run my ceiling fan to pull the moisture into the rest of the room?? is this thing acutally treating the whole room??
you woke up with a dry mouth and throat because you were breathing through your mouth and not your nose. No amount of humidity will change this.
#11
Old 01-30-2010, 02:05 PM
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Despite hearing also that cold is better they'll have to pry my heirloom 1940's warm steam vaporizer from my (not cold) dead hands.

It did need a dose of vinegar this year, must get distilled water for it. I want it to last the rest of my life.
#12
Old 01-30-2010, 04:18 PM
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The primary benefit I've noticed for hot/steam vaporizers is that you can use a wide variety of aromatic cough suppressants and inhalants, like Vicks VapoSteam, that can be poured into the water, put into a medicine cup on the top of the machine, or that come in pads that can be clipped onto the output vent. Warm mist humidifiers are a bit more limited, coming with a medicine cup that can use some brands of inhalants. Cool mist humidifiers can't use any of them. A secondary benefit of vaporizers is that they're cheap-- a basic unit can be had for $15.

On the other hand, humidifiers seem designed for continuous usage; vaporizers without auto shut-off can burn out or get excessively hot. My last vaporizer had an auto shut-off that didn't work too well, and in the first week of using it, ran dry and melted the plastic water basin before shutting down. I won't run a vaporizer now without being present, whereas a humidifier I'd be comfortable leaving unattended (warm mist humidifiers included if there's an option to shut off the heating element). Humidifiers also come in a larger size range than vaporizers, and you can get some with monstrous water tanks that can be run for days and that are designed for whole-house usage. They also use far less power than vaporizers.

Cleaning/sanitation is a wash (hah) on vaporizers and humidifiers, and all of them have problems with hard water. One of the side benefits of vaporizers is that they don't spew out minerals/white dust... which means they remain in the water tank or on the heating elements, which can quickly lose efficiency-- within days a few if you're using hard water. Basic humidifiers have the bacteria/mold problem in the filters, and ultrasonic/impeller humidifiers do the white dust thing and the diaphragm/impeller can get gunked up with minerals.

Overall, for day-to-day humidification, I'd go with a large ultrasonic humidifier, cleaning regularly with vinegar or descaler; I use the vaporizer only when I'm sick and at home.
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