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Humidifier update

Last year, I wrote about why you need a humidifier, and specifically, an evaporative one.

Those cute steam-blowing animals are the wrong kind, and suck. If you can see steam or “cool mist” coming out of a humidifier, it’s the wrong kind, and you’ll wake up to wet walls, dripping windows, and an eventual mildew problem.

After taking them out of the attic and using them heavily for the last few weeks, I’m still very happy with the giant evaporative Honeywell and the little expensive Venta LW25 that I bought last year.

The Honeywell is still serving its role on the main floor, humidifying most of the house. But it can’t reach the upstairs bedrooms with closed doors very well. The little Venta now lives in the baby’s room, and we’re considering getting another for our bedroom.

My conclusions about the Venta still stand: it’s awfully expensive up front, and it can’t effectively humidify a large room. But I’ve come to appreciate its extreme quietness for bedrooms, and it’s much easier to clean: you can put most of its parts, including the “filter” disk and lower shell, in the dishwasher with a bit of vinegar to clean them extremely effectively. By comparison, cleaning the Honeywell is more manual and time-consuming.

The Venta uses a $22 bottle of water treatment per season or so, and that’s it. (They offer a “cleaning” solution, but it doesn’t work nearly as well as a dishwasher with 10 cents of white vinegar.)

The Honeywell uses 3–5 $20 filters per season in most cases, and I’ve found that I can space out the cleanings more by using a $10 set of antibacterial silver cartridges with each filter.

So while the Venta’s operating costs are about $22 per season plus electricity, the Honeywell’s can easily reach $100.1 With the Venta’s easier cleaning as well, I’m much happier with it after a year than I was up front, but I still wish it had a higher output for its price. (There’s a larger LW45 model that I haven’t tried.)

If it weren’t for the Honeywell, the majority of my house wouldn’t be humidified. I’m glad I have both, but if I had to pick one, I’d pick the Honeywell and just leave the bedroom doors open.

But if I only wanted to humidify one room — say, if I was out of the house most of the day and only humidified my bedroom, or if I had a studio apartment — I’d go with a Venta.


  1. Both increase if your air is dirtier than average — for instance, last year, when our house was being renovated, I had to change their filters and solution almost every week. But at least the crap they pulled from the air wasn’t going into our lungs.) 

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