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No.228 (1/25/12)

Tips for Humidifier Shopping!

By Nao H. Kauffman
Chief Editor

Winter in Misawa still has a long way to go. People must use heaters to get through the cold. At the same time, heating a house is very important to keeping the house in good shape and protecting the house from severe cold temperatures. However, when winter starts, you will notice the air gets very dry inside and outside the house. Exposing your skin to such dry environments can cause many skin problems. Also, living in a dry condition can cause soreness of your throat and may also cause a cold or the flu. If you hang wet bath towels in heated rooms, you can easily notice how fast they get dry compared to the rainy season in Japan. In contract to the past, modern houses are well built with an airtight structure and can conveniently shut out humidity nowadays. Using humidifiers with heaters is also vital to getting over the winter season and making your life more comfortable. In Japan, there are so many kinds of humidifiers available. Learning about humidifiers and making the right decision for your needs and more appropriate living conditions before purchase is the key. The following are good to know when you check items; for example, at Yamada Denki, K’s or Homac etc. where you will find a variety of electric appliances locally.

Steam Humidifier

If you are looking for immediate effectiveness, a steam fan type is a great choice. By heating water in the tank, the water boils and creates warm mist. This type works well in a small area and is useful to quickly increase humidity for a short time.

Pros
High power and immediate effectiveness
Clean mist by heating water

Cons
Higher use of electric power
Not recommended for small children due to heated mist*
Regular cleaning to remove minerals and water stain*
*Newer items use filters to solve cleaning issues and have a lower setting mode ? 40 degrees mist.

Vaporizer (heat less fan) Humidifier

By blowing air on a filter which absorbs water, this type can be an energy saver and is recommended for a family with young children or a long time usage. Now, with people's enhanced awareness of conserving energy, this type is getting more poplar.

Pros
Safer for young children by not heating mist
Air blasting lower power

Cons
Lower power takes longer to increase humidity
Requires replacement of filters and regular cleaning

Hybrid Humidifier


This type is like a combination of the first two above items. First, by blowing heated air on a wet filter to boost higher humidity and switching back to vaporizing and stabilizing humidity, energy saving and humidity power can be between the above. Better functions and economical costs are well balanced.

Pros
Two settings - heated air and vaporized air, energy saver
Safer for young children

Cons
Requires replacement of filters and regular cleaning

Ultrasonic Humidifier

By means of ultrasound, water gets fine particles and sprayed out. This type is very compact, and its design is more contemporary and stylish. If you are concerned more about your home decor, you would like this one. Many of them have a healing feature by adding aromatic extract.

Pros
Higher humidity and less energy
Compact and stylish design

Cons
Requires sanitizing inside the tank and keeping the water clean to prevent from increasing bacteria.
A mineral component called kalki may leave white spots inside the tank and the room.

Each manufacturer does not carry all types of humidifiers. So, it is good to know which manufacturer recommends which type. They normally release the newest items between September and November. Prices usually run from 2000 yen up to about 50,000 yen. Meanwhile, you should be able to ask a store clerk consumer's feedbacks and get a good price on an item. The following is a measurement of humidity power.

Humidity power shows as “ml/h”; as it were, at a 20 degree room temperature, humidity 30%, how many liters can be created per hour. In other words, higher numbers has more efficiency and good coverage for a larger room. This information also will help you find the right item for you.

1000ml/h - Large living room
800ml/h - Small living room
700ml/h - Large bedroom
600ml/h - Large bedroom
500ml/h - Medium bedroom
400ml/h - Medium bedroom
300ml/h - Small bedroom

SHARP - sells great hybrid humidifiers including plasma cluster (plasma ionic sterile filtration.)

Panasonic - sells vaporizer or heatless humidifier, which prepares for larger coverage. Their unique sterile filtration feature called nano e kills bacteria in the air. Filter maintenance/long endurance is also improved.

Tiger - sells steam or hybrid compact types with easier maintenance.

Mitsubishi - sells compact steam humidifier, but covers larger space.

Toshiba - sells vaporizer and steam humidifiers. Their sterile filtration feature called pico ion atomizes fine particles more than nano e.

Minor brands/Yamazen, Dainichi, Apix - sell a variety of compact and stylish humidifiers at reasonable prices.

Finding the right humidifier for you seems to be a lot of work. Furthermore, it is helpful to study about running cost and maintenance of the purchase before you buy.

Check power consumption, filter prices and the time for filter replacement. Humidifiers need water every time you turn it on. Therefore, it is good to know how the tank sets, how heavy it gets when you fill up the tank and how to clean the filter and tank. Nevertheless, I highly recommend using humidifiers with heaters over the long winter in Misawa.

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