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Humidifiers: specifications, types
— Humidifier. A device for increasing the humidity in the room. Humidity of 40 – 60% is considered optimal for a person, and 60 – 70% is recommended for young children, especially during illnesses. At the same time, the need for additional moisture may arise in any climate — especially during the heating season. The humidifier allows you to adjust the microclimate in the house. And its various forms of execution, including the column and "under the tree" will help to fit it into the interior of the room without any problems.
— Air washing. Water humidifiers, which, in addition to the main function of humidification, additionally purify the air from all kinds of contaminants. This is achieved by passing air through the water, as a result of which dust is retained. Full-fledged air purification is out of the question, but such humidifiers provide basic filtration.
— Purifier A more advanced device for cleaning the air from various contaminants. The quality of such cleaning in different models can be different — from the simplest mechanical filtration to the removal of chemical contaminants and odours.
— Bactericidal recirculator. Unlike air purifiers with replaceable filters, the main task of recirculators (sterilizers) is not to clean the air as such, but to fight viruses, bacteria, mold and other unpleasant micro...organisms. The principle of operation of most sterilizers is the same, it is based on relatively powerful ultraviolet lamps with a wavelength of ~254 nm. It should be noted that a long stay in the same room with the device turned on is not recommended, since during its operation ozone can be released, which in high concentrations is harmful to the body.
Combined devices are produced that combine the capabilities of a humidifier and a purifier.. Such devices in our catalog are classified in the “Air Humidifiers” section, and the “Air Purifiers” section includes only specialized purifiers, without a humidification function.
At the same time, not all models are homemade. So there are compact portable devices for use in the car. Such models, in addition to being powered from the cigarette lighter through their own cable or USB port, have the ability to install in a car. Some models are mounted on a dashboard, others are shaped to fit perfectly in a cup holder, etc. However, nothing prevents them from being used in a home environment, only their performance will obviously not be enough, because such devices are designed for small volumes.
— Ultrasonic. The most common format of operation: the working element of the device vibrates at ultrasonic frequencies, due to which the water falling on it is broken into tiny drops that form a suspension in the air. Such a “cloud” has room temperature, which means that there is no risk of burns; some models may have a "warm steam" function. Thanks to this, as well as the low noise level, it is ultrasonic models that are considered optimal for children's rooms. That is why there are children's humidifiers with the appropriate design. Also, the advantages of such devices include simplicity, compactness, good work efficiency and economy. The main disadvantage of this type of humidifiers is the exactingness to the quality of water: it must be demineralized, otherwise the salts contained in the water will settle on objects in the room, creating a hard-to-remove plaque.
— Water. The simplest option, also called "traditional": air is driven by a fan through a cartridge moistened with water, humidification occurs due to natural evaporation. Water humidifiers have a very low intensity: it may take several days of continuous operation to achieve the required humidity level. On the other hand, it is practically impossible to re-moisten the air with such a device: in fact, exactly as much water evaporates from the cartridge as needed at a given temperature and humidity. In add...ition, such devices can be used even in fairly large rooms that an ultrasonic or steam humidifier cannot handle — up to 40 m2 or even more. They work very economically and most often quietly. And the quality of water can be almost anything — the main thing is to monitor the condition of the filters and change them at the frequency indicated by the manufacturer.
— Steam. Humidifiers of this type work by heating water with an electric heater. One of the main advantages of such devices is high efficiency and speed of humidification. In addition, the high temperature of the steam contributes to hygiene; and even with not very high-quality water, steam does not create a white coating, as in the ultrasonic models described above — when heated, only water evaporates, all salts remain in the device. On the other hand, the heaters will have to be descaled periodically; and the steam devices themselves turn out to be quite noisy and “gluttonous” — water is consumed quickly enough. In addition, hot steam requires some caution: it is not so easy to get burned by them, but such a possibility still exists.
Recommended room area
The area of the room for which the device is designed. In fact, this paragraph indicates the maximum area that this model is able to effectively serve: the use in smaller rooms is quite acceptable, but the device simply does not have enough performance for a larger space. We also note that the area is indicated based on a ceiling height of 2.5 - 3 m - the standard value for residential premises; with a higher ceiling height, the effective area decreases, it can be recalculated using special formulas.
When choosing by area, it is worth taking a certain margin, but it should not be too large - otherwise the device will turn out to be unnecessarily powerful, bulky and expensive.
Types of filters provided in the device with the purifier function (see "Device type"). Some models allow you to install additional filters that are not provided in the standard configuration; however, for a full guarantee, it is better to immediately buy a device with the necessary equipment. Here are the most popular types of filters nowadays:
— Preliminary. The filter installed first at the inlet to the device. Usually provides the simplest mechanical filtration from relatively large contaminants, for which it makes no sense to use more advanced and expensive solutions like HEPA or NANO elements (see below). And some devices are not equipped with any other filters at all, except for the preliminary one.
— Electrostatic filter. The action of such a filter is based on the property of the smallest particles in the air to acquire an electric charge and be attracted to an oppositely charged object. This provides effective cleaning from dust, smoke and soot; in addition, the air is also slightly ionized, which can also be attributed to the advantages (for more information about ionization, see "Functions"). But with odours and harmful volatile substances, such a filter handles poorly. The design of an electrostatic filter is based on a set of metal plates that are energized; the plates need to be regularly cleaned of dirt, they do not require other maintenance, so the filter life is almost unlimited.
— HEPA filter. Dry fine filter. It is similar in...design to conventional mechanical filters, but differs from them in terms of the principle of operation: dirt particles do not so much “get stuck” between the filter fibers as they stick to them. As a result, HEPA filters are able to retain contaminants that are much smaller than the gaps between the fibers, which ensures high filtration efficiency. There are different types that differ in quality. So HEPA 10 is able to capture at least 85%, HEPA 11 — 95%, HEPA 12 — 99.5%, HEPA 13 — 99.95% and HEPA 14 — 99.995%.
— NANO filter. Porous ultrafine filter. Detains particles with a size of thousandths of a micron (millionths of a millimetre), cutting off not only small mechanical impurities, but also individual molecules of organic substances (although such a filter is still inferior to a carbon one in terms of molecular purification efficiency).
— Charcoal filter. Filter based on activated carbon or other similar adsorbent. It is able to effectively retain volatile molecules of various substances, thanks to which it perfectly eliminates odours. On the other hand, the charcoal filter is demanding on compliance with the service life: after the resource is exhausted, it not only loses efficiency, but also becomes a source of harmful substances, so in such devices it is especially important to change the filter elements on time.
— Photocatalyst. The principle of operation of such a filter is to decompose the harmful substances that enter it into neutral components (mainly water and carbon dioxide) under the action of ultraviolet radiation and a special catalyst. It is not designed to remove mechanical impurities, but it does an excellent job of removing foreign odours and harmful volatile impurities, and also effectively destroys bacteria and viruses. At the same time, the catalyst is not consumed during operation, and the reaction products evaporate on their own — so that the filter has an almost unlimited service life, while it practically does not require maintenance. The main disadvantage of photocatalysts is their high price.
— Antibacterial. Under this name, several types of filters are combined, designed primarily for the destruction of harmful microorganisms. So, some antibacterial filters use an active substance that destroys the protein shell of microbes, others use an ionizer or ozonizer, others use UV radiation, etc. So the specific features of such a filter and the rules for its maintenance should be clarified separately.
In addition to those described above, modern cleaners may include other, more specific types of filters — for example, to neutralize formaldehyde or ozone, which can be useful in some types of industries.
Sterilization is carried out thanks to ultraviolet radiation, which is used to destroy harmful bacteria and fungi in the air. A UV lamp is used as an emitter, of which there may be several pieces in the device. And the power of each of them and the sterilizer as a whole allows you to understand what volumes of the room the device can satisfy.
Model of the UV lamp used in the design of the air cleaner. Knowing the specific brand of the lamp, you can buy the same one as a replacement in case of failure of the standard one.
— Hygrostat. A function that allows you to maintain a constant level of humidity in the room. The humidifier with a hygrostat constantly monitors the humidity of the air, and if it falls below the set value, it turns on, restoring the necessary microclimate. This is much more convenient than manually controlling the humidity.
— Intensity adjustment. In fact, a switch that allows you to set the desired level of air performance at the outlet of the humidifier. In fact, it plays the role of an intensity regulator: the higher the speed of the evaporator or fan, the more intensively the device works and the faster the desired humidity level will be reached. However, note that, unlike a hygrostat, this function does not automatically turn off when the desired humidity level is reached.
— Ionizer. A device for saturating the air with negatively charged ions. It is believed that the presence of such ions in the air has a beneficial effect on health and well-being, and also creates a feeling of freshness. In addition, ionization helps to reduce the amount of flying dust — it settles faster on various surfaces.
— Fragrance. A device for saturating the air in the room with pleasant smells at the request of the user. In humidifiers, aromatic oils can be added to the water for this purpose; in cleaners, special replaceable cartridg...es are used.
— Ozonation. The function of saturating the air in the room with ozone. Ozone (a substance made up of three oxygen atoms) is a powerful natural disinfectant. In small quantities, it not only purifies the air of pathogenic bacteria, but also creates a feeling of freshness. At the same time, note that an excess of ozone has a negative effect on well-being and can lead to serious diseases. So in some cases, ozonation is not just unnecessary, but also clearly undesirable — especially if there are other sources of ozone in the room, such as laser printers or copiers.
— Night mode. Special mode of operation, designed for night time. Usually, in this mode, the device reduces the fan speed, thereby reducing noise. And some models in the night mode also maintain higher humidity levels than in the daytime — it is believed that this is the optimal microclimate for sleep.
— Warm steam. Function of preliminary heating of water; provided in ultrasonic and water models. By default, such devices produce "cold steam" at room temperature; it may contain pathogenic bacteria. To destroy them, the water in the tank can be preheated to temperatures of the order of 80 – 85 °C.
— Water purification. Water purification in humidifiers can be implemented in different ways, the most popular is the filtration cartridge, usually ceramic. It allows you to remove excess salts and other minerals, thereby softening the water and reducing the amount of deposits. This type of cleaning is predominantly used in ultrasonic humidifiers. In air washes, silver rods are more often used as water purification. Silver has antibacterial properties, it is active in the formation of silver ions in water.
— Filter clogging indicator. An indicator that indicates the need to clean or replace the filter. It is usually installed on expensive electronically controlled models. This feature is especially desirable for models with charcoal filters: at the end of their service life, such a filter begins to release harmful substances instead of absorbing them, and it is extremely important to replace them on time.
— Auto cleaner mode. Function used in devices with air purification capability (see "Device type"). Devices with this function are able to independently monitor the state of the air and respond to it — turn on when pollution is detected and turn off after the air is cleaned. And some advanced models are even able to adjust the intensity of work to the level of pollution. Anyway, the auto mode saves the user from having to monitor the state of the air himself and enable / disable the cleaning programme. — Shutdown timer. Function that provides automatic shutdown after a user-defined time. This eliminates the need to turn off the device manually, which is not always convenient. The timer can be useful, for example, if the humidifier is turned on at night, or if it works in a children's room with a sleeping child who is not wanted to be disturbed.
— Shutdown in the absence of water. In humidifiers with this function, a special sensor monitors the presence of water in the reservoir, and when it runs out, it turns off the device. This avoids wasted energy and, in steam models (see Humidification), also prevents overheating.
— Rotation of the evaporator. The ability to rotate the evaporator nozzle to change the direction in which steam is supplied. This function allows you to distribute the moisture produced by the device throughout the room as evenly as possible.
— Top filling water. The ability to add water to the device from the top side — usually through a removed cover or a hole in the cover. Usually, humidifiers with this function can be "refilled" right during operation — this is more convenient than turning off every time, or even disassembling the device to add water. Among other things, this feature can be useful if the device is used in a children's room — it allows you to do without unnecessary noise and not disturb the sleeping baby.
— Protection from children. Usually, child protection means the ability to block device control so that a curious little child cannot turn it on, turn it off or change settings on its own. Such a lock is disabled in a non-obvious way, accessible to an adult, but not to a child — for example, by simultaneously pressing two buttons.
— Display. The display makes the control of the device more visual. The screen can display data on the current operating mode, the set timer, the status of the filter (in purifiers) or the water tank (in humidifiers), etc. Information about the status of humidity and temperature can also be displayed. Displays, usually, are equipped with expensive models with electronic control.
— Humidity indicator. The presence of a special indicator, mostly digital, which allows you to show the level of humidity in the room.
— Temperature indicator. Similar to the dial described above, which displays not the humidity, but the temperature in the room.
— Air quality indicator. A function more related to air cleaners. With its help, you can understand how polluted the air in the room is and whether it needs to be cleaned. This can be achieved with the help of indicators — for simple models it lights up when the air condition is inappropriate, for more advanced ones it shines in different colours depending on the air quality.
— Management via the Internet. The ability to control the device from a smartphone, tablet or other gadget. Features of such control depend on the type of device (see above). So, in humidifiers and combined models, communication is carried out via Wi-Fi, and access to control can be obtained not only on site, but also via the Internet, from anywhere in the world. At the same time, both a special application for a mobile device and a page in a regular browser, which can also be opened from a computer, can be used for control; these details need to be clarified separately. Purifiers mainly use Bluetooth for communication, and only a gadget with an installed application can be a control device. However, anyway, this function can significantly "make life easier" for the user. And it's not just the possibility of remote control: the application is often more convenient and intuitive than the classic control panel, it can provide various additional features.
– Voice assistant. Device support for one or more voice assistants (assistants) such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant. Recall that the voice assistant is a service that allows the user to control various devices and receive various data using voice commands. However, it should be noted right away that this is not about the built-in voice recognition system, but about compatibility with an external gadget (phone, tablet, smart speaker) on which the corresponding assistant is installed. It is this device that will recognize the user's commands and transmit them to the humidifier / purifier. However, even with this in mind, this method of control is often more convenient than more traditional options like a remote control or a mobile application.
— Remote control. A remote control is included with the device. The convenience of this function is obvious — it eliminates the need to approach the device every time to turn it on, turn it off, etc. Note that control from the remote control, unlike control from a smartphone (see above), is usually available only within the direct visibility.
— Backlight. A decorative function that does not affect the main functionality. The illuminated body of the device looks beautiful in the dark and can even be used as an impromptu night light.
The type of control provided in the instrument.
Note that mechanical and electronic devices can use the same elements - buttons, rotary knobs, sliders, etc. - and as a result almost do not differ from each other in appearance. The difference lies in the fact that the mechanical control directly affects the working part of the device (for example, when the knob is turned, the resistance of the rheostat that regulates the power changes), and the electronic control sends a signal to the control circuit, which accordingly changes the parameters of the device. The advantages of "mechanics" are simplicity, reliability and low cost, however, it allows you to adjust only basic functions, and the accuracy of the adjustments is low. In turn, with electronic control, various additional features can be provided and individual operation parameters can be very precisely adjusted, but such control is more complicated and expensive. Electronic control can also be performed in the form of sensors, which gives the device elegance and elevates it to a more advanced level.
The maximum performance provided by the humidifier - that is, the maximum amount of air that it can pass through itself in an hour. This parameter is most relevant for models with a purifier function (see "Device type"), however, it can also be specified for "clean" humidifiers.
The performance is selected by manufacturers, taking into account the area and, accordingly, the volume of the room for which the device is designed. For efficient operation, it is necessary that the device be able to pass the entire volume of processed air through itself at least once per hour (or better, two or three times). At the same time, for models with the same area of the room, different performance indicators can be declared - accordingly, the processing speed and efficiency will differ.
We also note that the recommended area of the room can be estimated by performance, if the latter is not stated in the characteristics. For example, if the device provides 200 m3 / h, this means that the volume of the room can be no more than 200 m3, which, with a standard ceiling height of 2.5 m, gives an area of 200 / 2.5 = 80 m2. And ideally, the area should be even 2-3 times smaller - that is, it should be about 25-40 m2.
Operating time of the humidifier on one filling of the tank. Depends on the volume of the tank and on the consumption of water (see below for both). For models with a humidity controller (see "Functions"), this indicator can be indicated in different ways: in some cases, the maximum duration of operation is given (at the minimum output humidity), in others - vice versa. Nevertheless, according to the declared figures, it is quite possible to estimate the operating time “on charge”, at least approximately.
The rate at which the humidifier uses water. Knowing this speed and the volume of the water tank (see below), you can determine the operating time on one gas station. Also, this indicator can be used to evaluate the performance and speed of the device: the higher the water consumption, the more it evaporates into the air per unit of time. Accordingly, a more “gluttonous” device allows you to quickly achieve the desired humidity, all other things being equal.
Note that for models with humidity control (see "Functions"), the maximum consumption is most often indicated, at the highest humidity settings (although this point will not hurt to clarify separately). And in devices with a water principle of operation (see "Humidification"), the claimed consumption will be achieved only with dry air (30% or less) — at higher humidity, evaporation will slow down and water consumption will decrease.
Water tank volume
The volume of the water tank installed in the humidifier. Large capacity allows you to work longer without refueling, but affects the dimensions and weight of the device; therefore, manufacturers choose the volume based on a compromise between these points and taking into account water consumption. Usually, the volume of the tank is chosen in such a way that the humidifier can work quietly on a single refill for at least 2-3 hours, and often even more. Accordingly, the more capacious the tank, the more powerful and performant the device, as a rule. So, models with a volume of up to 2 liters belong to the entry level, from 2 to 4 liters - to the average, from 4 to 6 liters - to the larger than average category, and in the most capacious devices this figure can exceed 6 liters.
Note that for models with the possibility of using a bottle (see below), this paragraph often indicates the optimal capacity of the bottle (such devices may not have their own tank).
Bottle as water tank
Possibility to use a standard plastic bottle as a container for the water consumed by the humidifier. At the same time, most often there is no own tank in such models at all - thanks to this, the device turns out to be light and compact. It makes sense to pay attention to such options if you plan to take the humidifier with you on a trip. However, there are other design options - for example, a removable tank that can be replaced with a bottle.
Min. noise level
The noise level generated by the air cleaner when operating on low or night mode. Most of these devices are used in domestic conditions, so the noise level plays an important role, especially at night. According to sanitary standards, constant noise in such rooms should not exceed 40 dB (quiet conversation) during the day and 30 dB (wall clock ticking) at night. More detailed comparison tables and recommendations can be found in special sources.
Maximum noise level
The noise level generated by the air cleaner during operation. Most of these devices are used in residential areas, so this parameter should be treated carefully. According to sanitary standards, constant noise in such rooms should not exceed 40 dB (quiet conversation) during the day and 30 dB (wall clock ticking) at night. More detailed comparison tables and recommendations can be found in special sources. It is also worth mentioning that the noise level is indicated for the maximum operating speed, so the noise level will be significantly lower in reduced mode.
The presence of wheels for movement in the design of the unit. The convenience of the wheels is obvious: rolling the device is much easier than carrying it by weight. This is especially true in light of the fact that the weight of the model can be quite heavy not only for girls, but even for men.
The maximum power consumed by the device during operation. The lower it is - ceteris paribus - the more economical the device. However, it is worth noting here that in humidifiers, energy consumption is directly related to the principle of operation (see "Humidification"): with similar characteristics, the most "gluttonous" are steam models, where energy is spent on heating water, and the most economical are water models. However, the energy consumption of modern humidifiers is generally low - even for steam humidifiers it rarely exceeds 600 W, and ultrasonic devices with similar power are already heavy industrial equipment. Purifiers also do not differ in “gluttony”: a power of more than 100 W is extremely rare among such devices.
Power consumption (warm steam)
The value of power consumption (see paragraph above) in the mode of supplying warm steam. Naturally, the device spends more energy to heat water, respectively, this indicator is several times higher than the standard consumption. But this function is disabled, so the humidifier can be used in standard mode.
- Net. Power supply from a standard 230 V home network is suitable for devices of any power, including the most “gluttonous” ones; and the operating time is almost unlimited (unlike accumulators and batteries). However, the mobility of network models is limited by the availability of sockets and the length of the power cable, so it makes sense to choose such a humidifier if you plan to keep it in one place all the time.
- Accumulator. Powered by built-in battery. The main advantage of this option is mobility: the device can work regardless of the presence of outlets nearby. At the same time, unlike batteries (see below), the battery is initially supplied in the kit, it does not need to be purchased and / or constantly changed - it is enough to regularly put the device on charge. On the other hand, charging takes time and a power source, while dead batteries can be quickly replaced with fresh ones.
- Battery. Powered by replaceable cells of a standard size is another type of autonomous power supply (along with the battery described above). At the same time, such elements can be both disposable and rechargeable, you can choose at your discretion. And the main advantage over built-in batteries is the ability to quickly install fresh batteries instead of dead ones; moreover, this does not require external power, and the procedure itself takes a couple of minutes at most. On the other hand, replaceable elements are usually not supplied in the kit, they need to...be bought separately - and either regularly buy disposable batteries, or spend money on batteries with a charger.
- From the cigarette lighter. Powered by a standard car cigarette lighter (or a similar format auto socket). The best option for a situation where you need to humidify and / or purify the air in the passenger compartment of a car or bus. On the other hand, such situations do not occur so often, so many models with a cigarette lighter connection have an additional power option - for example, an adapter to work from a wall outlet, or a battery compartment.
- microUSB. Powered by a standard USB port. Instruments with this function are similar to mains-powered models (see above) in the sense that they both operate from an external source. However, USB gives more opportunities and provides greater mobility: you can power the humidifier not only from a stationary power source such as a computer or a USB network adapter, but also from a laptop, tablet, or even a pocket battery “power bank”. Car USB adapters are also available. The downside is that the power of such a power supply is extremely low, and it is suitable only for the most compact humidifiers with modest performance characteristics. Well, the microUSB connector itself indicates the need for an appropriate cable, which in most cases comes with the kit.
- USB-C. The power supply option of the device, which in its principle is completely identical to the microUSB described above, with the exception of the connector itself, which the model is equipped with. USB-C is a more modern type of port that is gaining momentum not only in smart gadgets, but also in household appliances.
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