Humidifier FAQs

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

Humidifier FAQs

Why Use a Humidifier in Your Home?

Lots of people use humidifiers because they help with issues caused by very dry air inside a home or room. More moisture in the air may help with allergies, asthma, dry sinuses, skin problems, and chapped lips, just a few common examples. Dry air might be more of a problem in the winter, which in-home heating, fireplaces, or space heaters make worse.

Choosing the right humidifier for you and your family depends on different variables. Health, comfort, pets, and size – of the area and of the humidifier – are some of the factors. Some more examples of benefits that may help answer whether or not to get and run a humidifier are: if you’re trying to stop viruses, bacteria, and contaminants if you have nasal, respiratory, or breathing problems, snoring, asthma, a high level of pet dander or dust, pollen, the temperature you’re trying to maintain and if it’s going to be used for children.

Where Should I Place a Humidifier?

With most humidifiers and for most reasons you’d use one, putting a humidifier in a room, just for helping the environment in that room, is the basic idea. Humidifiers come in multiple sizes to cover different-sized areas, including whole-home humidifier systems. The most common size and usage is within a bedroom. You can, though, run a humidifier anywhere and anytime where low humidity is causing an issue.

One important thing to remember is don’t place and operate a humidifier near an air vent or register. If the heat is on, the humidifier can get an inaccurate humidity measurement compared to the rest of the room. Warm air just from a vent is likely to have low humidity. This can cause a humidifier to run too much.

What Water Should I Use?

This may be something you’ve never even thought of. The type of water can be important and it depends on the type of humidifier you have. Distilled water is good, but it’s also expensive to buy. Tap water is good most of the time. Hard water is fine for most humidifiers and most situations.

With ultrasonic humidifiers, hard water may be a problem. Some ultrasonic humidifiers have cartridges to decrease minerals, for example in hard water. Once the filter’s used up, or if the model doesn’t have this feature, the humidifier will still run but you may get dust, the minerals being exhausted, from the device.

With soft water, evaporate, impeller, or air washer humidifiers work well. Soft water shouldn’t be used with ultrasonic humidifiers because of the salt content. Evaporative, impeller, and air washer models work with a wider range of water content. Ultrasonic humidifiers are typically stronger with their humidity output

Should You Run a Humidifier While You Sleep?
Should You Run a Humidifier While You Sleep?

What’s an Ultrasonic Humidifier?

This type of humidifier operates with vibrations to send moisture into the air, as vapor. Ultrasonic humidifiers might disperse minerals or other content within the water into the air as well. It can put out dust near the device and around the room. There might likewise be some moisture or puddling near the humidifier. For some, they can be easier to maintain compared to other humidifiers as they do not have filters or wicks.

An ultrasonic type may over-humidify a space or room because it will continue to run. There are models with built-in humidistats and auto-power, shut-off features. You can also use a humidity monitor to track the humidity level yourself. Some models will also have an auto-power mode for when the water runs out.

Is a Diffuser the Same as a Humidifier?

No. The devices may look kind of the same, but they do different things. A diffuser is for use with essential oils and aromatherapy. If diffuses oils and mist into a space. Do not use oils or any products meant for a diffuser or other devices in a humidifier.

Should You Run a Humidifier While You Sleep

Yes, it’s fine, and can be beneficial to run a humidifier all night. A humidifier can assist you during the day or night.

Any room with AC or heat running will have drier air. A humidifier adds humidity. This can help people sleep better if it’s helping with breathing or symptoms such as coughing or sore throat. Some seasonal health problems such as flu and cold can be worse in dry air. Adding humidity to a room can stop or hamper transmission.

It’s fine and can be beneficial to run a humidifier all night.
It’s fine and can be beneficial to run a humidifier all night.

What’s White Dust?

White dust is tiny debris from minerals in the water, typically hard water, which gets released when water goes through a humidifier – mostly an ultrasonic humidifier. White dust may be annoying, but it is not harmful. The dust can gather on tables or surfaces near a running humidifier. It’s fine to just wipe it away.

Steam or evaporative humidifiers do not create or put out white dust. Ultrasonic humidifiers may have a cartridge for limiting mineral output which will reduce the white dust. You can also use a different type of water, for example,

distilled water, and get less or no dust. Even with hard water, if your water’s mineral content is relatively low, you might get little or no dust.

How Should I Clean a Humidifier?

A humidifier needs to be cleaned often. This stops mold, fungus, dust, and bacteria from gathering inside it, then being sent into the air which is supposed to be helping you. These contaminants can stay and even grow in standing water. Because of this, you should do your best to not leave standing water in a humidifier. You should empty it and dry it when it’s not going to be used. You may also decide to keep the device filled and running most of the time, so there’s no standing water for a significant period of time.

For most humidifiers, the recommended suggestion is to clean them every 1-2 weeks. You should always clean and dry a humidifier before not using it for a few days or longer or before putting it away for a span of time. A humidifier will have a manual or instructions specific to the model. Follow those instructions for cleaning, filter replacements, safety requirements, and the best way to operate it. Some humidifiers can have cleaning solutions used for removing mineral deposits, scum, or potential mold.

At South End Heating and Air, we specialize in HVAC and furnace repair, call us for a free consult. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your heating needs. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.

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