Humidity can have a big impact on how the human body deals with high or low temperatures. If it’s hot and humid, the high moisture levels in the air will make it difficult for the body to release heat through sweating.

However, humans can also experience problems at low humidity levels. This weather situation can cause dry skin, itchy eyes, and more.

Therefore, it’s best to have a relative humidity level that’s not too dry or wet. A humidifier or dehumidifier can both help bring home humidity levels to an optimal level.

However, depending on your local climate, one may be more helpful than the other. Read on to learn more about the difference between humidifiers and dehumidifiers. You’ll also learn which appliance is the best choice in Petaluma, CA.

The Difference Between Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers

Humidifiers and dehumidifiers don’t filter the air like an HVAC system. Humidifiers add moisture to the air. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air.

Beyond these nutshell explanations, though, things get a lot more technical. There is a basic criterion for how either appliance’s mechanisms perform their tasks. Beyond that, the specific mechanisms that types of humidifiers and dehumidifiers use can vary greatly.


Every humidifier has a water tank and a power source. You must provide water for this tank and hook up the power source to an outlet. Once you handle this, the humidifier should be able to function without any further intervention.

To add moisture to the air, the humidifier turns the water in the tank into a gas. However, the way this is done differs between humidifier types. Some utilize steam, while others use cool air to blow water droplets into the air.

Steam Vaporizers

Steam vaporizers, also known as warm-mist humidifiers, use their power sources to create heat. They then use this to bring the water in their tanks to a boil. The boiling water turns into steam and disperses into the air in the home.

Cool-Mist Humidifiers

Cool-mist humidifiers use methods other than boiling to turn water into a gas. How this is done varies between a few different types of these appliances. An evaporator, for instance, blows air through a wet object such as a belt or filter.

You may think that a cool-mist humidifier keeps the air cooler than a steam vaporizer. However, the temperature of the moisturized air when it reaches your lungs won’t be much different, no matter which humidifier type creates it. The main difference between the two humidifier types is that cool-mist humidifiers are more expensive.


Dehumidifiers also have a water tank and a power source. You still need to provide the power for this appliance. What’s different is that you need to remove water from the tank rather than add it.

This is because dehumidifiers suck in humid air and cool it down. This process causes the moisture in the air to transform into a liquid and drip into the water collection tank. The dehumidified air is then released back into the room.

Just like with humidifiers, there are a few different dehumidifiers that perform the goal task with different mechanisms.

Heat Pump

Heat pump dehumidifiers use a setup that includes coils, fans, and heat pumps. After the fan draws in the air, it is cooled down by the coils and the moisture gets collected. The heat pump helps to remove excess heat.

Chemical Absorbent

This type of dehumidifier uses a chemical like silica gel to attract moisture. The drier air this appliance expels tends to be warmer than what a heat pump expels. This is why a chemical dehumidifier is recommended for places with high humidity levels but low temperatures.

When to Choose a Dehumidifier or Humidifier

If you have the money, it will probably be best to purchase both a humidifier and a dehumidifier. You can use either depending on how the weather changes throughout the different seasons.

However, if you need to choose one or the other, there are two factors that you need to consider. The first is the average climate in your area. The other is any health conditions that the residents of your home may have.

The climate factor should be easy enough to figure out. In an area with high relative humidity, a dehumidifier will help your home’s residents feel the most comfortable. A humidifier is best for an area that often has low moisture levels.

Health conditions, however, can make the choice somewhat complicated. A person with a respiratory health issue would probably benefit from wetter air. However, high humidity can cause mold to grow, which can be a problem if someone in your household is sensitive to mold.

The best thing to do is to ask your doctor to recommend either

Is a Humidifier or Dehumidifier Better for Petaluma, CA?

The humidity chart on this climate page indicates that Petaluma tends to be dry most of the year. The summer, which has just passed, is the only time when relative humidity levels tend to reach a comfortable level.

Considering this information, a humidifier would be the best choice for a Petaluma resident based on the climate. Health-related conditions, however, should also be taken into account.

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In sum, use a humidifier for low humidity conditions and a dehumidifier for high humidity conditions on average. The main exceptions to this rule are any health concerns. As far as choosing one type of humidifier or dehumidifier over the other goes, there isn’t too much difference.

Also, do you need air conditioning and heating services in Roseville, Petaluma, Rocklin, Santa Rosa, or many of the areas surrounding these? If so, consider using our Better Business Bureau-accredited services. Contact us via text, phone call, or email to get immediate answers to any of your concerns.

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