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5 ways to extend the life of your humidifier
In drier seasons or climates, using a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your house can help ward off some health conditions, such as sinus problems. But to reap those benefits, it's important for the humidifier to work properly and efficiently. Following these helpful tips can help you extend the life of your humidifier.
Note: Keep in mind that there are a variety of humidifiers, so you'll need to adjust humidifier maintenance according to the recommendations of the owner’s manual. Learn more about the different types of humidifiers.
1. Use proper water
Water is the key ingredient for most humidifiers. But what kind of water? In an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fact sheet on humidifier care, low mineral or “distilled” water is recommended. Many bottled waters are demineralized, but not all of them go through distillation.
Check the labels at your market to ensure that you are buying the proper water.
You can put tap water into a humidifier, but the high mineral content of tap water may increase crusty scale buildup in your humidifier and that scale can also serve as a breeding ground for microorganisms.
2. Change that water
Room humidifiers combine heat and standing water. That means they are susceptible to mold—not good if you’re hoping to avoid breathing problems
It’s a good idea to change the water every day to keep mold at bay. This may be a hassle, but it is necessary if you want to maintain a cleaner environment. You could also fill up the tank with less water so that all of it is used up and nothing goes to waste.
3. Clean your unit regularly
Cleaning is important to the safety and longevity of your room humidifier. When in use, the humidifier should be cleaned daily to minimize the buildup of mold, mildew and bacteria.
Empty the reservoir, and wash it out with warm water and dishwashing liquid. Make sure to dry it if there will be a gap of time between uses. In addition to daily cleanings, clean it weekly with a vinegar solution. Learn how to give your humidifier a deeper cleaning.
4. Store it properly
As with many appliances, longevity is about proper care and storage. Some people use a humidifier regularly, while others might use it when weather is particularly dry or when they have a cold.
If you only use yours part of the time, store it in a plastic tub or other sealed storage container to keep it away from dust. Be sure it’s dried well before you store it away so it doesn’t accumulate mold while in storage.
5. Keep the filter clean
When a device has a filter, chances are the filter needs to be changed or cleaned at some point. The room humidifier is no different. A dirty filter can cause the unit to work harder and reduce the overall effectiveness and life of the device. What’s more, a dirty humidifier filter can spew mold spores or other microscopic particles into the air.
Refer to your unit’s owner’s manual for instructions on how often to clean or replace the filter. Many evaporative humidifiers use a short-term replaceable wick filter that should be changed every 1 to 3 months. Other units have filters that can be cleaned regularly. Washable filters can save money, but they do add an additional step to keep the humidifier clean and extend its life.
How do you know if it’s time for a new unit?
Good maintenance practices can extend the life of your humidifier, but nothing lasts forever. Depending on the size and expense of your unit, it may or may not be worth repairing it if it starts to malfunction. If the motor stops and the unit no longer works, it’s probably smarter to replace it rather than try to repair it.
You may also notice that the unit just doesn’t seem as effective anymore. Check the warranty to see how long the unit is designed to function if properly maintained. If the unit is still under warranty, you might be able to get it repaired or replaced at no cost.
Did you know? Humidifiers can do more than just ease cold symptoms. They can also help you sleep better as well as protect certain investments in your home. Learn 7 reasons to turn on your humidifier.