Machine Monday: Humidifiers

I grew up hearing that the heat in California wasn’t as bad as the heat in Michigan because it was a “dry heat.” I was skeptical of this until I experienced California heat myself. At over 100f/38c, California’s dry heat is still uncomfortable and oppressive, but I’d take California’s dry heat over Michigan’s humid heat, at least once it gets up in to the mid 80’sf/25+c and I would prefer almost anything to Georgia humidity. Really, though, I just hate being hot, and being humid makes hot worse.

It turns out “dry cold” is a thing too. Right now in Ulaanbaatar there’s 26% relative humidity. I walked LeYanna to school in -12c/10f and was surprised at how “warm” it felt. My (normal) winter jacket was more than enough, my mittens were iffy, a hat was too much.

The average relative humidity in UB is 54%, just 3% less than Sacramento, but Grand Rapids is up in the 70’s along with a lot of Northeastern states and provinces. UB has much less humidity here than we’re used to so our skin and throats are all like, “GIVE ME MOISTURE!”

In addition to low humidity, we get much less precipitation. The average annual precipitation is 4.5 inches. total. Compare that to Grand Rapids, MI which gets 38 inches of rain plus 76 inches of snow. Most cities in New Brunswick average in the 40+ inches of precipitation. Sacramento, home of the dry heat, gets only 19 inches of rain, still over 4 times as much as we get here in Ulaanbaatar.

This lack of water has a lot of interesting implications:

  • There are less trees than most of North America; our groundcover looks a lot like Nevada.
  • Mongolians tend to drink less water than we Americans drink. We know this because they comment on how much we drink. I can only assume their bodies have somehow adapted and need less water. I am thirsty as I type this and am annoyed that I need to get up and get more water. again.
  • Our clothes, which we hang dry in our apartment, dry quickly because the air sucks the water right out of them. We have friends who intentionally hang their wet clothes in their kids’ rooms to help add moisture to the air while they sleep.
  • Long, hot showers don’t cause mildew in the bathroom so they’re easier to justify and bathrooms are easier to clean.

Hot showers and hang-drying clothes go a long way…but not far enough. So we’ve invested in a couple humidifiers; neither was too expensive.
Humidifier #1 Elko

This one is in our living room and sits on one of our couch’s side tables. It does a fair job of keeping the space appropriately humid. It has some kind of ionization technology so as soon as you put the water in, it begins producing not-hot steam.

Humidifier #2 Midea

This one is in our bedroom. Really, it’d make sense to switch the two since this one is so much bigger and produces a hefty amount of humidity but this one also has a fan and if you put ice water in it blows cold air, which helps cool down our bedroom a few degrees and when it’s over 80f/25c those few degrees matter.


We bought the big one at a store a little over a kilometer away…then carried it home. It was the same day we bought the instapot so our hands were full and our arms were tired.


Filling up each humidifier is part of Cory’s evening routine. We can feel it if that part of the routine is forgotten

We are grateful for these machines that we know aren’t necessary but make us feel a little better. We are also grateful that they were relatively inexpensive and that water is affordable.

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