Mistakes to Avoid when Using Humidifiers

Safety and Health Always First

Now that you have a humidifier, you want to be sure you’re getting the most you can out of it in terms of health and safety. Always read the manual it comes with and follow any manufacturer’s instructions, especially for cleaning and maintenance. It’s easy to miss some commonly overlooked issues with improper humidifier use. Here’s a guide to make sure you’re using your humidifier safely, especially since you’re using your humidifier to help improve your health, not put it at risk.

Portable Room Humidifiers
(image from sylvane.com)

If you have children or pets, you should also take extra safety precautions around placing a portable room humidifier.

Health Risks

  • Letting the water sit for too long

Standing water and moisture are breeding grounds for bacteria and molds. It’s not uncommon to just let your humidifier run dry and leave it while you’re out for the day. You might think if it’s run dry, what’s the problem? The issue is that there’s usually a little bit of standing water left, and additionally, the leftover humidity and moisture in your tank can encourage growths on the sides of your tank. To combat this problem, drain any leftover water, give your tank and humidifier a quick rinse, and leave your tank out to dry it’s not in use. This will help keep your humidifier fresher until you take it apart for a weekly deep clean.

Whole House Humidifier Cleaning
(image from modernmomlife.com)

  • Not cleaning often enough

This is probably the hardest part for most humidifier owners. Cleaning your humidifier can be a real chore. After all, your humidifier usually looks clean enough for the most part. How much can it hurt to just keep using it without cleaning it? Not cleaning your humidifier often enough means that you’re letting bacteria build up, which get sprayed into the air by your humidifier. At a bare minimum, you should clean your humidifier once a week to keep it as fresh as possible. Some people recommend cleaning them daily, but if you’re letting your humidifier dry between daily usage, you’re okay to limit your cleaning to weekly.

  • Not using distilled or filtered water

Using clean, filtered water is more than a matter of keeping bacteria out of your water. Minerals in hard, unfiltered water can create a fine dust in the air. This dust can land and build up on the furniture around the humidifier, but it can also pose a serious health risk if it’s breathed in. Inhaling this dust is harmful, especially for young children and babies, who can be hospitalized by the dust from hard water in humidifiers.

Safety Issues

  • Not checking equipment and cords

Even though you can buy a humidifier nearly anywhere, it should still be treated as a serious household appliance. As such, always take proper safety precautions around using your humidifier. Whether you’ve had your humidifier for a long time or not, check for any damaged parts or cords. Frayed cords are an electrical hazard, and considering your humidifier is filled with water, take special precaution around power outlets. Another key point about cords is that they can easily be a trip hazard, especially around children or pets. Avoid placing your humidifier somewhere where the cord can easily be caught or tripped over while walking by.

Home Humidifiers(image from inmyownstyle.com)

  • Submerging the main unit in water

As an electronic appliance, humidifiers should be kept from being completely submerged in water unless otherwise noted. When you’re cleaning your humidifier, use a brush and only as much water as you need to rinse out all of the corners. Take care around any electronic panels and buttons as they may not be completely waterproof.

Poor Placement

  • Not placing on a flat stable surface

Placing your humidifier on a flat surface is important for a couple of reasons. One is that you definitely don’t want to accidentally tip over a humidifier full of water. Whether it’s placed over carpet or a hard floor, a spill from your humidifier could cause lasting damage to your floor. The other issue from not keeping your humidifier flat is that it can detract from the best performance of your humidifier. The action of delivering water to your humidifier’s misting or heating element and sending the mist into the air can be disrupted by not having a properly straight humidifier.

Bedside Table Top humidifiers
(image from sylvane.com)

  • Placing it too close or too far

This mistake can be made in one of a couple ways. The first is placing the humidifier way too close to anyone’s bed. A humidifier doesn’t need to run over a person for them to feel the benefits of a well-humidified room. The second is that you should also aim to keep your humidifier away from being too close to the floor. Having a humidifier on the floor doesn’t give the mist enough time to disperse into the air before landing on your floor. It can also collect excess moisture and result in undesired growths or damage to your carpet or floor.

  • Putting it in a room too big for the humidifier

Another common mistake with portable room humidifiers is putting it in a room that’s too big for the humidifier. If your humidifier has a small tank and isn’t powerful enough, placing it in a large and airy living room isn’t going to meaningfully raise the humidity in your room. Room humidifiers are best used in enclosed bedrooms or smaller rooms. Consider getting a much larger tabletop humidifier or even a console humidifier for your living room.

Tabletop Humidifiers
(image from lowes.com)

Improper Usage

  • Creating too much humidity or not enough

Now that you’ve taken care of the most common mistakes when using a humidifier, be sure that you’re using your humidifier for what’s it designed, keeping optimal humidity. Dry air isn’t good for your skin and health, but neither is an environment that’s too humid. High humidity comes with issues like worse dust mites and mold growth. Many humidifiers have automatic humidity control, but they may not always be accurate. It’s worth keeping around a separate hygrometer to monitor the humidity in your room. Remember that optimal humidity for your overall health is right around 35-45%.

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