California is home to approximately 5.2 million people living with asthma according to a 2017 report from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). A 2013 article refers to the exhaust-filled industrial corridor that stretches from Los Angeles to Riverside as the “diesel death zone” because of the extensive air pollution from dark clouds of exhaust.
California’s growing urban sprawl and industrial growth has the unfortunate byproduct of polluted air, which many believe to be the cause of high childhood asthma rates in the state. In fact, asthma is 20 to 40 percent more prevalent in children ages 5 to 17 than adults.
Moving isn’t an option for many of these families, so what can they do to help ease family members’ asthma symptoms? Humidifiers may be the answer.
What Are Humidifiers?
Humidifiers are machines designed to emit water vapor or steam into your home’s indoor air to increase moisture levels.
There are several types of humidifiers, both stationary and portable, including:
- Central humidifiers – humidify the whole house and are built into home HVAC systems
- Ultrasonic humidifiers – produce a cool mist with ultrasonic vibration
- Impeller humidifiers –produce a cool mist with a rotating disk
- Evaporators – blow air with a fan through a wet wick, filter or belt
- Steam vaporizers – use electricity to create steam that cools before leaving the machine
How Can Humidifiers Ease Asthma Symptoms?
When properly maintained and regularly cleaned, humidifiers can ease some of the problems caused by dry air, like asthma. Experts continue to debate the exact benefits humidifiers can have for asthma sufferers, but many acknowledge the important role humidity plays to offset the effects of dry home environments.
Increased humidity may help ease breathing problems in children and adults with asthma or allergies, especially if they have contracted a respiratory infection.
Here in California, humidity levels are rarely consistent. Having a whole home humidifier installed by Service Genius in your HVAC system can help bring balance to your home’s indoor air quality.
Ideal Humidity Level
Humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent for optimal air quality, according to the Mayo Clinic. Humidity that is too low or too high can cause problems.
- Low humidity can dry out your skin, irritate your nose and throat and make your eyes itchy.
- High humidity can trigger growth of harmful bacteria that can cause allergy and asthma flare-ups.
How to Choose a Humidifier
Finding a solution that matches your budget is often the biggest obstacle to overcome. If this is your main concern, start by purchasing a single room humidifier. This option is portable and perfect for people who live in a smaller space, like an apartment.
For larger homes, consider a central humidifier. These systems can be installed easily and are sure to improve your home’s air quality.
Maintenance requirements are another crucial factor when choosing a humidifier. Central systems are more convenient than standalone machines because they require very little maintenance on your part. Portable machines, on the other hand, need to be cleaned, refilled and rinsed every few days to prevent bacteria buildup and remain effective.
Keep Your Humidifier Clean
Humidifiers can be helpful for those with asthma as long as they are kept free of harmful mold, fungi and bacteria.
Follow these steps to keep portable humidifiers clean:
- Use distilled or demineralized water
- Change water often
- Clean every three days, removing mineral deposits or film with disinfectant
- Rinse tank after cleaning to prevent chemicals from becoming airborne
- Change filters regularly
- Keep area around machine dry
If your home has a central humidifier, ensure you read the instruction manual or contact your heating and cooling specialist at Service Genius about proper maintenance.
Improve the Air Quality in Your California Home
Are you a California resident with asthma? A humidifier may help ease your symptoms.
At Service Genius, we offer a three-pronged approach to improve your home’s air quality. Our team goes above and beyond by not only recommending and installing an appropriate filter, but also auditing the potential sources of pollution in your home. Book an in-home consultation with one of our technicians by contacting us online or calling 818-301-3663 today!