Pros: inexpensive, easily raises humidity levels, easy to clean
Cons: fan can be loud when set on high, short power cord, expensive filters
I have moderate asthma that tends to lean toward severe when you consider the fact that I am highly allergic to cats and dogs. Most people who are allergic to animals avoid them. Not me. I keep bringing them into my home! I foster dogs for a local rescue and run my own cat rescue. I do take medication for my asthma and allergies but I also do other things to help alleviate my symptoms. I vacuum floors and couches daily, I change my pillowcase every night... and I use a humidifier in my bedroom during winter months when the heat is on.
When the water tank on my previous humidifier cracked, I needed to buy another one. Because I only use it in one room and only during the night, I don't need a large capacity machine or lots of fancy features. I found the Holmes 2 Gallon Humidifier on sale in Target and decided to give it a try.
From company website: Your Body Needs Moisture
Your body needs moisture to function properly, but the minute you shut the windows and turn the heat on, you start to reduce the humidity in your home from the optimal level of 40-50 percent down to 20 percent. The result? Dry air, which deprives your lungs and respiratory system of moisture, and makes you susceptible to illness and the common cold. Humidifiers combat this, moisturizing air and creating a healthier, more comfortable environment.
Evaporative Wick Cool Mist Humidifiers use a wick filter to trap minerals and impurities allowing a cool invisible mist to evaporate.
Setting Up The Humidifier
It only takes a couple of minutes to remove this product from the box, assemble it, and fill the tank with water. There are 3 main parts to the Holmes 2 Gallon Humidifier: the base, the water tank, and the main body of the machine that houses the fan.
You need to find a stable surface that is very close to an electrical outlet on which to place the humidifier. (The power cord is very short.) First you place the base tray down onto your dresser, nightstand, etc. Then you insert the wick filter into a round slot in the base. When the filter is in place, you can then add the main machine body directly on top of the filter. The wick filter tends to be misshapen and not perfectly round because it has been packaged into a flat box. You may have to play with the filter and try to push it into a more round shape before the machine actually will slide down and sit in place. The last thing you need to do is fill the water tank, screw the cap back on, and place the tank into its space on the base.
Each Holmes humidifier comes with a little gadget that you can place in the room that measures the humidity level. My cats think that it is a wonderful little toy to bat throughout the house. I haven't seen it since I took it out of the box.
This humidifier has only very basic controls. When you turn the control knob to turn the fan on, your choices are "low" or "high" fan speed. I usually turn on the humidifier and set it to "high" an hour or two before I plan to go to sleep. The fan is somewhat noisy at that setting, though, so I turn it down to "low" before I get into bed.
Aside from being loud, the "high" setting is pretty powerful. I keep the bedroom door closed when I have the humidifier on to try to keep the moisture inside. If I forget to turn the machine down to "low" before going to sleep, I usually wake up to discover condensation collecting on the bedroom ceiling and windows. The condensation has actually discolored my white ceiling-- another reason to turn the fan speed down after a couple of hours.
Keeping The Machine Clean
It is fairly easy to keep your Holmes 2 Gallon Humidifier clean and bacteria-free. The company recommends that you clean the unit once a week using vinegar or their "Cleanse Clean" product. I have used the "Cleanse Clean" liquid or a bit of plain old bleach to clean out the humidifier. I add a couple of tablespoons of either liquid to both the tank and the machine base. I then fill both parts with warm water and allow them to sit for about 10 minutes, dump the water out, and then rinse both pieces thoroughly.
When I fill the water tank, I always add a couple of drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract to the water to help prevent the growth of bacteria or fungi in the machine. The Holmes company also makes a product called "Bacteriostat" that you can add to the water for the same purpose.
The company recommends that you change the wick filter every 2 to 4 months. You will notice that it visibly discolors over time as you use the machine and the filter becomes dirty. I usually get 4 or 5 months (about the amount of time that I need to use a humidifier each winter) out of the wick filter, probably because I don't keep it running continuously each day.
The body of the machine collects dirt and dust along the inside surface. I wipe it out as best I can every month or so but it is difficult to really get it clean because you can't disassemble it.
The suggested retail price for the Holmes 2 Gallon Humidifier is $30. I paid about $25 for mine at the local Target. They are even cheaper around mid-spring when stores try to clear them out to make room on the shelf for summer items. Replacement filters for the machine cost about $10 each.
My Overall Opinion
I really like the Holmes 2 Gallon Humidifier. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and does an excellent job of increasing the moisture in my bedroom during dry winter months. It is a powerful little humidifier for small spaces and delivers a lot of soothing, cool mist that makes living with asthma an easier and more comfortable experience during winter months. I would not recommend this unit for those looking to increase the moisture level in their entire house but it will easily improve conditions in one room.