Along with retiring the garden hose to the garage, cleaning out the gutters and dragging out that sweater-stuffed plastic container from under the bed, in the coming weeks you may also find yourself dusting off and filling up that housebound-in-the-winter staple known as the humidifier.

If you’re like me, you might have a complicated relationship with the thing. During the winter months, the climate situation inside of my own home is, well, not ideal. Warm-ish (the difficult to tame drafts are a whole other issue) and bone dry, it’s a place of itchy skin, cracked lips, constant thirst, rampant snoring and eyes that would scream out for Visine if they could.

My bedside humidifier — a compact and aesethetically inoffensive model with a total price tag that was probably less than the sales tax on the product I’m about to describe — helps things a bit. It doesn’t always reverse the damage inflicted upon my body by dry indoor air but it does help me sleep better at night.

It also terrifies me.

However vigilant I may be in cleaning my cute little humidifier on a regular basis and emptying the basin whenever it’s not in use, it gets real gross, real quick — a moldy, fish-less mini-aquarium of sorts capable of blasting bacteria-laden air into my living space. That's the tricky thing about humidifiers, a double-edged sword of an invention that's designed to make things better but can potentially make things much worse.

Dyson Humidifier

Hot on the tails of unveiling your cat’s worst nightmare an exceptionally smart robotic vacuum cleaner, the perpetually retooling engineering wizards at Dyson have unveiled a humidifier — a first for the London-headquartered company best known for ultra-fancy vacs and efficient hand-dryers — that aims to put to rest any qualms dry winter air-sufferers may have about the mold- and bacteria-breeding properties of their humidifiers.

If you’re familiar with Dyson products, this mean, lean moisture-emitting machine may look familiar. That’s because the humidifier is essentially a retooling of Dyson’s game-changing bladeless fan first released back in 2009 and reintroduced earlier this year in a more hushed form.

Equipped with a three-liter reservoir and a bacteria-busting UV light, the Dyson Humidifier uses patented “Ultraviolet Cleanse” technology to clean — read: annihilate 99.9 percent of germs — the water before circulating it around the room as a “hygienic” mist that will alleviate your cold weather dermatological and respiratory woes, not trigger other health problems.

In addition to exposing water to bacteria-killing UV light not once but twice before sending it through a piezoelectric transducer that transforms the H2O into hydrating microscopic particles, the Dyson Humidifier boasts nifty features such as a moisture-regulating humidistat and a sleep timer with automatic shut-off. If not programmed to turn off, the device emits clean, moisture-laden air for 18 hours straight with a full tank.

Thanks to the machine’s Air Multiplier genes, said air is evenly and efficiently distributed and the machine itself is remarkably quiet. Like the company’s new generation of tabletop and pedestal fans, the Dyson Humidifier has been awarded a Quiet Mark from the Noise Abatement Society. Best of all, it pulls double-duty as a regular, non-humidifying fan in the summer months as well.

The device reportedly cost more than $60 million to develop.

Sadly, while the Dyson Humidifier is now available in Japan, those elsewhere, Europe and North America included, will have to wait until next winter to get their chapped hands on one (Mashable says we can expect a stateside release date in fall 2015).

While a North American price point for the humidifier hasn’t be made official by Dyson yet, it’s best to start saving up as this will no doubt be one spendy hydration helper.

And on the topic of Dyson products and their formidable price tags, the company is now running a special Recyclone promotion in which consumers can bring in their old, outmoded and busted vacuum cleaners — Dyson or not, the brand doesn’t matter — to a local Dyson Service Center and receive 20 percent off the retail price of a brand new Dyson bagless vacuum. The old vacuum’s parts will be responsibly recycled through an electronics recycling partner.

The trade-in program is running through November 2.

But back to the topic at hand: How much would you be willing to fork out for a humidifier that comes without the risk of compromised indoor air quality? A humidifier that you don’t have to fret about turning into a petri dish if you forget to clean it? Other UV-equipped humidifiers range from $75 to $200. Would you spend another $200 (or more) for a Dyson?

Via [Mashable], [The Telegraph]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.