The common uses of humidifiers in homes include relief from physical discomforts of dry nose, throat, lips, and skin. The alleviation of common nuisances brought on by winter heating (example: static electricity, peeling wallpaper, and cracks in paint and furniture) is helped by the dry air with moisture. However, excess moisture results in encouraging the growth of biological organisms in the home. These organisms also include dust mites, which are microscopic animals that produce materials causing allergic reactions to household dust, and molds.
According to the recent studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), ultrasonic and impeller (or “cool mist”) humidifiers can disperse materials, such as microorganisms and minerals, from their water tanks into indoor air. Presently, very limited information is available on the growth of microorganisms and the dispersal of microorganisms and minerals by home humidifiers.
It is necessary to properly care for and clean ultrasonic and impeller humidifiers as it is important for reducing potential exposures to microorganisms, such as bacteria and molds. Common places for microorganisms to grow are humidifiers that are equipped with tanks containing standing water. Breathing mist that contains these pollutants has been implicated as causing a certain type of inflammation of the lungs.
Though there is no official statement about any risk in the dispersal of minerals by home humidifiers, the use of water with lower mineral content will reduce exposures to these minerals.
Anyone young or elderly and people with lung diseases or respiratory allergies are normally susceptible to certain types of airborne pollutants. However, following the recommendations for the use and care of home humidifiers from the fact sheet can reduce the potential for dispersal of microorganisms and minerals from your humidifier.

Can Tap Water Be Used In Ultrasonic or Impeller Humidifier?

The most crucial reason to find alternatives to tap water is the retarding growth of scale. For this reason, or you wish to minimize your exposure to minerals in the tap water as a matter of prudence, or if white dust is a problem, the suitable solutions are –
The most crucial reason to find alternatives to tap water is the retarding growth of scale. For this reason, or you wish to minimize your exposure to minerals in the tap water as a matter of prudence, or if white dust is a problem, the suitable solutions are –
  • Using bottled water labeled “distilled”. While there can be some mineral content even in distilled water, the mineral content is likely to be lower in it than most tap water. Hence, distillation can be considered as the most effective method to remove minerals from water.
There are two more demineralization processes i.e. deionization and reverse osmosis. These processes can remove most of the minerals from water but, their effectiveness is generally less than distillation. It is expected that on the average, the mineral content would be higher in the water demineralized by these two processes than distilled waters. Any of these three or other similar processes may produce “purified” water.
However, stay aware of the fact that all bottled water is not produced by  demineralization processes. Treatment to remove mineral content is not done on bottled waters labeled “spring”, “artesian” or “mineral”.
  • Using demineralization cartridges, cassettes. Or filters if supplied or recommended for use with your humidifier. However, these devices can be differently able to remove minerals. The determination of how well and long, these devices work needs further research. The appearance of “white dust” indicates that the minerals are not being removed. Also, in specific area of the country, where the tap water contains more minerals, using distilled water may be less expensive than cartridges, cassettes, or filters.

Types of Humidifiers and Associated Pollutants –

Cabinets that are designed for floor use, are used to encase console humidifiers. Portable humidifiers are usually smaller and more readily moved. Central humidifiers are built into heating and air-conditioning systems, and the whole house is humidified by them.
The two types of humidifiers which generally produce the greatest dispersion of both microorganisms and minerals are –
  • Ultrasonic: A cool mist is created by it by means of ultrasonic sound vibrations.

  • Impeller: It can also be represented as “cool mist”. A cool mist is produced by it by means of a high speed rotating disk.
Two additional types of humidifiers encourage growth of micro-organisms when they are equipped with a tank that holds standing water, but the dispersion is generally less, if any, of these pollutants into the air. These are –
  • Evaporative: Moisture is transmitted by it into the air invisibly by use of a fan to blow air through a moistened absorbent material, such as a belt, wick, or filter.

  • Steam Vaporizer: It creates steam by heating water with an electrical heating element or electrodes. A type of steam vaporizer humidifier is “warm mist” humidifier. In this humidifier, steam is cooled before exiting the machine.
Note: Steam vaporizer and evaporative humidifiers generally don’t disperse substantial amounts of minerals. A steam vaporizer that is tested by EPA did not disperse measurable amounts of minerals; evaporative humidifiers have not been tested by EPA for mineral dispersal.

Recommendations For Use and Care

According to the conditions, use a humidifier with the correct moisture setting for existing conditions, and to clean it thoroughly.
The dispersal of microorganisms and minerals by home humidifiers results in some health effects, which are not fully understood. Following precautions can be taken to reduce the potential for personal exposures, particularly when using ultrasonic and impeller humidifiers.
  • Empty the tank, wipe all the surfaces dry, and refill the water in portable humidifiers daily. This can reduce the growth of any microorganism. The manufacturer’s instructions can be followed while changing the water in console humidifiers. Ensure unplugging of the unit from the electrical socket first.

  • The build-up of scale and the dispersal of minerals into the air can be prevented by the use of water with low mineral content. The box on the left contains information on using water with low mineral content.

  • Portable humidifiers should be cleaned every third day. The tank should be emptied and cleaned using a brush or other scrubber. Any scale, deposits, or film that has formed on the sides of the tank or on interior surfaces should be removed and all the surfaces should be wiped dry. Again, make sure that the unit is unplugged.

  • The use of cleaning products or disinfectants should be according to the manufacturer’s suggestion. If there are no specific recommendations, use a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide to clean all surfaces coming in contact with water. The tank should be rinsed thoroughly with several changes of tap water after the use of any cleaning or disinfecting agent. This will prevent the dispersal of chemicals into the air during use.

  • The cleaning and maintaining of the console and central (furnace mounted) humidifiers should be done according to the manufacturer’s directions. Particularly, water should not stand in the tank (if there is any) of the humidifier for extended periods of time and the water should be kept clean.

  • Steam vaporizer humidifiers should be kept out of the reach of children. Burns may occur due to steam and boiling water.

  • Humidification should not be done to indoor relative humidity levels exceeding 50 percent. The growth of biological organisms in the home may be encouraged by higher humidity levels. Use the hygrometers available at local hardware stores to measure humidity levels. In some humidifiers, there is a built-in humidistat to be adjusted to the proper moisture level. The solutions for the condensation of water on windows, walls, or pictures are either the relocation of the humidifier or lowering its humidistat setting, or reducing its use.

  • The area around the humidifier should not be permitted to become damp or wet. The solution for the occurrence of dampness is turning down the output volume of the humidifier. On the failure in turning down the humidifier output volume, the humidifier should be used intermittently. Absorbent materials, such as carpeting drapes, or table cloths should not become damp.

  • The use, maintenance, and replacement of any materials supplied with the humidifier should be according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The materials should also be according to the recommendations of the product manufacturer.

  • The humidifier should be cleaned as directed, at the end of the humidifying season or when the product will not be in frequent use. All the parts should be dry before storage. All used demineralization cartridges, cassettes, or filters should be disposed. The unit should be stored in a dry location. After storage, the unit should be cleaned again and any dust on the outside should be removed.

  • If you have any respiratory problem that is associated with periods of use of your home humidifier, even after following maintenance directions, stop using the humidifier and contact your physician.

Request Service

Are you new or existing customer