In this article, we’ll discuss whether humidifiers cool the air in a room.
Humidifiers are designed to do one thing: add moisture to the air in your surroundings. That said, they do have some interesting side benefits as well.
Put simply, a humidifier doesn’t directly cool the air in a room. In fact, if you aren’t careful, it could be doing the exact opposite!
But before we can talk about a humidifier’s effect on the ambient temperature in a room, we must understand how a humidifier works.
If you need help with anything humidifier-related, leave it to us. We research, test, and recommend humidifiers, so we have more than our fair share of experience.
Keep reading to find out whether or not humidifiers cool the air in a room.
So Do Humidifiers Cool The Air In A Room?
When it comes to changing the ambient temperature, humidifiers can have a pretty noticeable effect. But most humidifiers do not cool the air in a room.
In fact, when you think about how a humidifier works, it actually raises the temperature of a room.
There are a couple ways to combat this, such as using a lower mist volume, setting the mist to cool mode, etc.
But to really understand how and why a humidifier warms the air in a room, we must first look at how a humidifier works and its relationship with temperature.
How A Humidifier Works
Humidifiers are designed to humidify, i.e., increase the amount of water vapor in a space. They do so by diffusing moisture into the air.
Really though, humidifiers increase the relative humidity of a space. Relative humidity measures how much water vapor a given amount of air at standard temperature can hold compared to how much it actually holds.
So, if a given volume of air at a specific temperature can hold 22 ml of water, but is holding around 11 ml, we say that the relative humidity is at 50%.
The relative humidity is very important, as it dictates how comfortable you are in a space. Most people feel most comfortable between 30%-50% relative humidity.
Humidity And Temperature
It’s also important to recognize the relationship between ambient temperature and relative humidity. Put simply, the two are directly proportional, meaning as one increases, so does the other.
That means humidity increases in the summer and decreases in the winter months. This phenomenon results from higher ambient temperature increasing the air’s ability to hold water.
In the previous example, imagine that 1 cubic meter of air is at 20 C (68 F). At that temperature, it can hold up to 18 ml of water. As the temperature increases, so does the air’s ability to hold water. In fact, at 25 C (77 F), it can hold up to 22 ml of water.
Do Humidifiers Cool The Air In A Room?
So, keeping in mind how a humidifier works and the relationship between humidity and ambient temperature, do humidifiers cool the air in a room?
The short answer is: No, humidifiers do not cool the air in a room.
To go a bit more in-depth, since humidifiers diffuse water into the atmosphere, they increase the relative humidity. And since humidity and ambient temperature are directly proportional, the temperature increases with humidity.
So not only do humidifiers not cool the air in a room, they actually make it warmer!
How To Cool The Air In A Room With A Humidifier
Put simply, humidification and cooling are two opposing ideas. Humidity increases the ambient temperature of a space which can often feel uncomfortable. Still, if you use a humidifier and want to cool the air in your room a bit, there is some stuff you can try.
Decrease The Mist Volume/Speed Of Your Humidifier
Most humidifiers these days come with adjustable mist volume and speed. These refer to the amount of water diffused into the air over a given period.
Turning up the volume or speed results in faster humidification of a space. It can also help the humidifier cover larger areas more effectively.
If you feel that the ambient temperature is too high, it’s probably because your humidifier’s volume/speed is set too high. The resulting high relative humidity causes a noticeable increase in temperature.
So, to cool the air, turn these settings down, or turn the humidifier off completely.
Use The Cool Mist Function
A lot of high-end humidifiers come with adjustable mist temperature settings. These are usually available in the form of cool and warm mist modes. The warm mist function is great for winter months, helping with cough, dry nose and throat, and moisturizing skin.
But if you want to cool the air in a room, the cool mist function can have a noticeable effect on the ambient temperature. Now don’t expect this cool mist to replace your A/C. Still, in a pinch, it is a pretty good alternative to standard room temperature humidification.
Besides that, a humidifier’s cool mist makes sleeping much more comfortable. If you’re prone to coughing while you sleep, the cool mist can help alleviate some of those symptoms. Additionally, cool mist also helps reduce snoring and improves sleep quality.
Use Cold Water In Your Humidifier
If your humidifier doesn’t have cool/warm mist modes, filling the tank with cold water has much the same effect. It may not be as pronounced as a dedicated cool mist mode, but using a humidifier with cold water works well enough for cooling the air in a room.
Lower The Humidity
You’ll have to sacrifice a bit of humidity if you want to cool the air in a room using this method. Since humidity and ambient temperature are directly proportional, increasing humidity increases the ambient temperature.
But the opposite is also true. Decreasing humidity decreases the ambient temperature. So if you set your humidifier to around 40% relative humidity, decrease it to 30%, and the temperature should go down as well.
Again, this method isn’t the most effective in the world for cooling the air in a room, but it still makes for a noticeable difference, which might be all you need.
So in summation, humidifiers do not cool the air in a room. In fact, they do the exact opposite and make the air in a room warmer.
Still, if you want to cool the air in a room while using a humidifier, there are a couple things you can try out, from using cold water to decreasing the humidity a bit. Granted, these methods won’t make the biggest difference in terms of the ambient temperature, but they do work to an extent.