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What is a Cool Mist Humidifier?

What is a Cool Mist Humidifier?

There are two types of humidifiers: warm mist humidifiers or vaporizers and cool mist humidifiers. 

What exactly is a cool mist humidifier and how does it work? We discuss cool mist humidifiers including types, benefits, and drawbacks. 

What is a Cool Mist Humidifier?

A cool mist humidifier is a device intended to disperse cool moisture into the air to increase Relative Humidity (RH) levels of a given space. 

There are two different types of cool mist humidifiers: ultrasonic and evaporative. While the end result of using either an ultrasonic or an evaporative humidifier is optimal humidity levels for your home or office space, each machine functions with a different technology. 

Types of Cool Mist Humidifiers

Ultrasonic humidifiers and evaporative humidifiers are two of the most common types of cool mist humidifiers on the market. Both humidifier types are effective in raising RH levels; whether an ultrasonic or evaporative cool mist humidifier is right for you is solely dependent on your personal preference. 

Ultrasonic Humidifier

The ultrasonic humidifier is the most common type of humidifier, widely preferred for its quiet whisper. An ultrasonic humidifier creates ultra-fine water droplets by vibrating a metal diaphragm at sonic speed. These droplets are then fanned from the machine and into the room; the result is increased humidity levels and a cooling sensation. One must take care when using an ultrasonic humidifier as the mist emitted from the unit may carry particles and bacteria into the air. 

Evaporative Humidifier

Evaporative humidifiers typically pose fewer health risks out of the two types of cool mist humidifiers. An evaporative humidifier functions by sucking in air from the room, passing it through a moistened wick or filter to add moisture, and fanning this hydrated air back into the surrounding space.

The Benefits of a Cool Mist Humidifier

Room Temperature

Think about the last time it rained. Do you remember how the air felt after the rain stopped? You may have noticed a “crisp” feeling in the air. A cool mist humidifier has a similar effect to the temperature of your room. As a result, a cool mist humidifier is a great solution during the summer months, especially if you live in a dry, desert climate. This can also be a benefit during colder months when indoor heating makes the air hot and dry. 


Vaporizers or steam-based humidifiers are considered a dangerous device by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in nurseries or children’s rooms. While the vapor released from warm mist humidifiers is cooled by the time it reaches the various spaces of your room, the device can be hot to the touch. For this reason, if you have an infant, a small child, or even a pet, it is recommended to choose a cool mist humidifier to avoid potential burns. 

Energy Efficiency

Cool mist humidifiers are more energy efficient than their warm mist counterparts. Steam-based vaporizers boil the water from their water tank to create warm vapor, which requires higher levels of energy than an ultrasonic or evaporative cool mist humidifier. This is a particularly important feature if you desire to save money on your monthly electricity bill. 

Drawbacks of a Cool Mist Humidifier

Cool mist humidifiers offer a wide range of benefits with regular use. As with any technology, however, there are a few drawbacks important to note including the potential for white dust and the frequent maintenance requirements to prevent bacteria build-up in your machine.

Potential White Dust

If you have ever used a humidifier and noticed a white layer of residue left behind on the countertop, floor, or any other surface, this is called “white dust.” If you use tap water in the tank of your cool mist humidifier, the mineral content from the water can leave behind mineral deposits. 

Most cool mist humidifiers require the use of distilled water to function properly and reduce the potential for white dust. Canopy humidifiers do not require distilled water to prevent white dust; you can use water from the tap, from your refrigerator, or water from your Brita. Our antimicrobial paper filter and Smart Persistent Airflow (SPA™) technology work in conjunction with embedded UV lights in the water tank to kill 99.9% of bacteria before the hydrated air reaches the room.

Requires Frequent Maintenance

A cool mist humidifier requires more frequent maintenance than a warm mist humidifier. Warm mist humidifiers or vaporizers boil water in the water tank to create vapor; boiling water kills bacteria, viruses, or debris that lives in sitting water. 

In order to ensure safe operation of most cool mist humidifiers, you must perform regular maintenance including wipedown after every use and weekly deep cleaning. Canopy humidifiers, however, require far less maintenance with proprietary anti-mold technology and dishwasher safe parts. 

How Do You Clean a Cool Mist Humidifier?

Cleaning most cool mist humidifiers is required weekly to ensure proper function. For a full, detailed description of how to clean your humidifier, you can visit our blog “How to Clean a Humidifier.” 

Cleaning your cool mist humidifier consists of 5 simple steps:

  1. Take apart your humidifier and place the pieces on a dry cloth
  2. Fill water tank and water reservoir with vinegar and let sit for 30 minutes 
  3. Using a scrub brush or a sponge, scrub the inside of the water tank and reservoir
  4. Using a vinegar soaked rag, wipe down the outside of your device
  5. Rinse all parts with warm water and let dry

Canopy humidifiers contain machine washable parts, which simplifies the cleaning process so that you can spend time on other activities. Simply place all Canopy parts that touch water in the dishwasher with the rest of your dishes from the day, and you’re done!

When Should You Change Your Humidifier Filter?

When Should You Change Your Humidifier Filter?

Maybe it dawned on you one night while binging Netflix that you have yet to replace the filter on your humidifier… Or maybe you plan to purchase a humidifier and want to know the total cost of maintenance over time. 

To function properly and effectively, a humidifier needs a regularly scheduled filter replacement. Replacing the filter on your humidifier is only required every 1 to 3 months, depending on how frequently you use your humidifier and what type of water you use in the water tank. 

How Often Should You Change Your Humidifier Filter?

While most humidifier filters contain a unique coat that slows the production of mold, these filters are not mold proof. Unless your humidifier has a reusable, clean-it-yourself filter, you will need to replace your device filter on a regular basis. 

How frequently you need to replace your humidifier filter is determined by how often you run your device and whether you use tap water or distilled water in the water tank. 

How Often Do You Use Your Humidifier?

If you use your humidifier 1-2 times per week, you will need to replace your filter once every three months. If, on the other hand, you use your humidifier daily, you will need to replace your filter once every six weeks. 

What Type of Water Do You Use?

Another factor that determines how frequently you should replace your humidifier filter is the type of water that you use in your device. 

If you use distilled water or filtered water in your device, you can follow the timeline for filter replacement outlined in the last section. If you use tap water, especially if you live in an area with hard water, you will need to replace your filter once every month. 

Tap water contains micro-fine minerals that can build up in your humidifier. When these minerals are dispersed into the air you will see a thin layer of mineral deposits known as “white dust” either on or near your device. Most humidifiers require distilled or filtered water to avoid the development of white dust, which is potentially harmful to allergy and asthma sufferers when inhaled.

If you are unsure whether the water from your tap is highly concentrated with minerals, there are several tap water testing kits available online. Tap Score is a New York Times approved tap water tester kit that gives a full mineral and toxicology panel on your water. 

How to Replace a Canopy Filter

Our Canopy humidifier features a disposable, anti-microbial paper filter that catches bacteria, metals, and other particles that can be found in your tap water. Canopy filters are more effective than synthetic filters in both their wicking and evaporating capabilities. 

Replacing your Canopy filter is simple! No need to set an appointment in Google calendars or ask Siri to set a reminder… When your Canopy filter is ready to be replaced, the filter light will illuminate reminding you to order a replacement. 

If you like to streamline your task list, our filter subscription option is for you. Simply select “Canopy with Filter Subscription” at check-out for $25 off your purchase and an automatic shipment of a new filter every 45 days. It really doesn’t get any easier than that!

The Benefits of a Humidifier in the Winter Months

The Benefits of a Humidifier in the Winter Months

Winter bites. The cold, dry winter air can feel like it is actually biting your nose, cracking your skin, and generally making life harder than it should be. 

While you can’t change the weather, you can control your home environment and make living conditions more comfortable. Using a humidifier in your home during the winter months brings a bevy of benefits that may have you saying “hey! I wouldn’t mind a few more months of winter.” 

Who would have thought?

What are the Benefits of a Humidifier in the Winter Months?

Placing a humidifier in the most commonly used rooms of your home during the winter months can help to improve dry throat and cough, reduce static electricity, rehydrate dry or flaky skin, and kill common winter viruses. 

Let’s get into the details. 

Benefit #1: improve dry throat and cough from dry, winter air.

Ever wondered why you experience a dry throat or chronic cough during the winter months? The cold air that accompanies winter reduces the moisture content in the nasal passage and throat, leading to congestion, a dry or itchy throat, or an uncomfortable cough.  

Increasing the relative humidity (RH) levels in your home can help to lubricate your nasal passage and throat, helping to reduce inflammation and improve your breathing. 

Benefit #2: reduce static electricity build-up.

The dry, cold air of the winter months increases the build-up of static electricity. Why is this the case? Dry air binds electrons to surfaces with a strong force. Over time, electrons build-up until they reach a critical maximum, in which case they discharge. This discharge causes a shock upon contact that is, for lack of better words: super annoying. 

Increasing the moisture level of the air in your home helps to reduce the strength of the bond between electrons and the surfaces on which they build. The result is an almost unnoticeable discharge meaning no shocks and less static electricity.

Benefit #3: rehydrate dry or flaky winter skin. 

Dry, cold air causes an acceleration of water loss from the skin into the atmosphere. When your skin loses water more rapidly than it can be replaced by natural moisturizers (sweat and sebum), you will experience dry skin. When you experience dry skin for an extended period of time, this can lead to cracking, bleeding, or trigger a flareup of common skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema. 

Humidifiers are exceptionally effective for dry, flaky skin during the winter months and can help you to maintain healthy, hydrated skin all year long. 

Benefit #4: kill common viruses prominent in the winter months.

Air with less than 40% RH can increase your chances of viral infection by interfering with the body’s immune function, increasing the amount of time a virus can “float” in the air, and increasing the survival rate of the virus in your home. 

Regular use of a humidifier to maintain optimal humidity levels can help to reduce the survival rate of viruses in your home and decrease the chances of illness during the winter months. 

Which is the Best Humidifier During Winter?

Choosing the best humidifier during winter months is crucial to keep you and your family comfortable despite the cold, dry weather. 

You should consider output, tank size, and maintenance requirements when choosing the best humidifier for your home. 

Sufficient Output 

One of the most important features when choosing a humidifier for your home during the winter months is output. A larger-sized room requires a humidifier with more output than a smaller-sized room. 

Let’s say that you plan to place your humidifier in your bedroom since this is the room in which you spend the most time. If your room is 400 square feet, then you need a humidifier with at least a 400 square foot output to sufficiently raise RH levels in your bedroom. For reference, Canopy humidifiers have a 500 square foot output, which will effectively humidify an average-sized room.

Larger Tank = Longer Run Time

When choosing the best humidifier for a healthy winter season, you need a device with a moderate to large-sized tank. The larger the water tank, the longer your humidifier can run, uninterrupted. Bonus: the longer the run time, the less often you have to refill the water tank. Win, win.

Make sure to check the tank size and run time before making your purchase. For example, our Canopy humidifier has a 2.5 liter tank with up to 36 hours of run time. This equates to almost 5 nights with no tank refill at an average of 8 hours of sleep per night.  

Low Maintenance

During the dry, winter months, you are likely to run your humidifier more often than during the summer months. More frequent usage means more frequent maintenance for most humidifiers, including daily wipe-down, weekly deep cleaning, and scheduled filter replacement. 

You want to invest in a high quality, low maintenance humidifier for your winter needs. The less arduous the cleaning process, the more likely you are to avoid cleaning fatigue. Our Canopy humidifier is as low maintenance as it gets. Our proprietary SPA (Smart Persistent Airflow) technology prevents mold from growing inside the unit. All Canopy humidifier parts that touch water (apart from the paper filter) are dishwasher safe, reducing manual cleaning time. We also offer a filter subscription service, which delivers a new filter to your home every 45 days - no Google Calendar reminders necessary.

Additional Benefits of Using a Humidifier

Regular use of a humidifier during the winter months is guaranteed to increase your overall health and comfortability despite environmental conditions. 

You now know that humidifiers will improve dry, itchy throat and cough, reduce static electricity in your home, hydrate dry or flaky skin on your face and body, and reduce the spread of common winter viruses. But, did you know that there are even more benefits unrelated to regular humidifier use during the winter months? 

Maintaining RH (relative humidity) levels between 40% and 60% throughout the year can improve skin conditions and common breathing problems in babies and children, and can improve the overall health and vibrancy of your house plants. 

For Babies and Children…

Babies and young children can hugely benefit from a humidifier in their nursery. Humidifiers can help to relieve cold symptoms, ease uncomfortable congestion, and improve dry, sensitive skin in babies and young children. 

It is important to note that the AAP recommends the use of a cool mist humidifier in your child’s nursery as opposed to a vaporizer or steam-based humidifier. Vaporizers are considered a burn hazard, and should not be placed within the reach of a child or a pet for safety.

For Houseplants…

Controlled humidity levels in your home will help your plants thrive. 

If you frequently question why you can’t manage to keep houseplants alive, it may not have anything to do with you, per say. Many houseplants including ferns, orchids, fiddle leaf, and more, require higher levels of humidity to thrive. Placing your plants near or in the same room as your humidifier will help to provide them with the perfect amount of moisture for a long, healthy life.