How do humidifiers work?

If you are reading this post you probably do have a humidifier in your home or you are thinking about getting one ,but either way knowing how it works is still beneficial to you for just one simple reason .That reason is troubleshooting .

Yes you heard that right ,the main reason for knowing how staff work is to increase your  knowledge so that when it fails or breaks you can check where the problem is and check if you can fix it or not .

Just a quick example to add on to that , if you have machine  that start to count from 1 then goes upward  to 2 and other numbers then when one day starts to counting from 2 then up wards you will  know that the problem is at 1 so you go back to number 1 and check  what is the problem and is it possible to fix it or not .

I hope that makes sense to you .If you don’t mind to buy new staff again and gain or you don’t  mind to hire people to fix things for you ,then i think you don’t really need to know how things works because once something fails you throw it away and buy another new one then  end of the story so what is the point of know how it works ?.

However  if you are tired of hiring  people to fix things for you again and again then it is important for you to know how things work .This article is specific for how  do humidifiers but don’t hesitate to do your research about other appliances and devices you have in your home .

So that being said, let’s look at how do humidifiers work .

First things first

To understand how does humidifiers works lets look at the main purpose of the humidifier .

The main purpose of humidifier is to increase the amount of humidity in a given space .For this entire article we will assume that space is your room , So the main purpose of humidifier in this article is to increase humidity or the amount of water present in the air in your room .We will talk about good and bad for having good amount of humidity in your room later in this  article for now let’s continue with the functioning of the humidifier.

As just said the main purpose for humidifiers is to increase the amount of water present in the air in your room .So that means for humidifiers to be able to increase that amount of water in the air they themselves must have water inside them .To make it easy for you to understand i have created rough illustration below.

how do humidifiers work

Don’t worry about my poor and terrible illustration ,this is the best I can do at the moment to help you understand how do humidifiers works .So if you don’t mind let’s go back and take a closer look at it .Small humidifiers are designed to be like what you see in the illustration above , they have base with water and the opening at the top .The water at the base is not a dam like you see in the illustration, it can be in a small bucket or container at the base of humidifier which can removed anytime you want for cleaning purposes .

So the rule of thumb is that the water at the base must be moved up in to the top opening of the humidifier  once it there it will be  float around on your room and increase humidity , but before this water is moved up it must be converted in small particles of gas that will be much easier to  Lift and it won’t make your staff wet later.The small red box at the bottom indicate the instrument or element that will do the work of making that water to be small particles .That element can be impeller or metal diaphragm or vaporizer.

Those 3 things are what makes small humidifier to be different from one another.But how do they actually work ?

Let’s found out below

Impeller humidifier 

As the name suggest impeller humidifier ,  This humidifier works with impeller  which is located at the base of humidifier .The impeller rotate  to force the water into the pipe then to the diffuser .Once the water is in the diffuser , the diffuser will then break it in to small particles or molecules of Gas that can float in to the air .

Those small particles of gas can then float to the entire room and increase humidity in your room.Keep in mind that the size of humidifier you got and position where you placed it will have effect on distance traveled by those small particles of Gas .

The other thing to keep in mind is that impeller humidifiers are different in shape and size even inside them , So yours might not look exactly like this one on the illustration but the principle will be the same .

Metal diaphragm

This one works with vibration .The metal diaphragm is placed at the base under water .When this humidifier is in operation the metal diaphragm vibrate at an ultrasonic frequency to create water droplets .The small fan above the water it, it then blow those water droplets to the pipe then to top opening of fan where they can float to your room and increase humidity .


This one can be a bit harder to understand on two dimensional illustration but i will leave link for short video  at end of explanation for your convenient if you didn’t understand  the diagram above .So the way this humidifier works is that the tank must have the water then they is absorber below the fan in diagram which absorb the water from the tank .

Once the water is below the fan , the fan blow air through the filters , as the airflow through the filter it evaporate water .Once the water is evaporated it will leave the humidifier through the opening that can be either on right or at the top right surface of the humidifier .

Again evaporative  humidifier is not look exactly as you in the illustration but the mechanism or principle is still the same .So as promised early here is a short video for evaporative humidifier .

I suggest you to watch it now before we look at other important things for humidifiers .

So that is how the 3  most common humidifiers work ,There are still two more others which are missing and those are steam humidifier and central humidifier .

Steam humidifiers

Steam humidifiers work the same way as other humidifiers in our list. It just that instead of an impeller or metal diagram , the steam humidifier uses steam to create the small particles of water or gas that can float into the air .The name of it says it really it all.

Central humidifier

Central humidifier it still humidifier but it is larger in size and it can increase humidity to your entire house .The way it work is a bit different from the ways other small humidifiers works .Central humidifier must be connected to your tap water in your home and it must be stalled on the wall .If i can explain how it works to you now then this article will no be an article but it will be a book .So i will leave it functioning for now.

As just said this humidifier must be installed on the wall and the installation process might not be easy .So if you are thinking about picking this one up then you must be ready to invest a bit more.Do also think about the electricity it will consume before you buy it .

So now you do have i dear of how do humidifier works

So let’s look at the main reasons why you will need to buy or not to buy one in your home .The reasons why you need to buy humidifier can be categorized in two groups .

Group One is the benefit of your staff or property in your home ,maybe you see some cracks on your room or maybe  you see some problems in the paint on your wall .Those things will be indication of humidity problem in your room .So you can either buy humidifier or dehumidifier depending upon the cause of the problem in your property .

Group Two is the benefit of your health. According to healthyline humidifiers can help you to get relief in any of the symptoms below .

dry skin
sinus congestion/headache
dry throat
nose irritation
bloody noses
irritated vocal cords
dry cough
cracked lips

Disadvantages of humidifiers

As much as humidity can be beneficial for your health and property please don’t forget it quince quinces when it is too much in your room .So again according to healthyline too much humidity in the air cause some respiratory problems  and  dampness on your room .

Below is the short list of  other outcomes for too much humidity in your room .

dust mites
harmful bacteria

if you take notes of the effect that humidifier can it have in your home you see that most of the effects has to do with health ,So that mean if you having one you should really pay serious attention on how you use it, Use it when it is necessary not just for funny .

Wrap up

The main purpose of this article was to explain how do humidifiers work.The advantages and disadvantages of humidifier was just a bonus information for you .That mean if your main for reading this article was to fix your existing humidifier or buy another then this article might not be all you need so you need to go further with your search or wait for follow up article on this topic ,if you find this one helpful to you .



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