Use and Care of Humidifiers

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  • Chronic runny nose or nose bleeds.
  • Dry skin and lips.
  • Sinus congestion.
  • Dry throat.
  • Itchy eyes.

These are all symptoms of dry air in your home or office.


Not only does dry air incur physiological effects, but the lack of moisture in the air can result in peeling wallpaper, static electricity, and cracks in paint and furniture.

With the dry air of rapidly approaching winter, humidifiers can help to alleviate discomfort. But some humidifiers can disperse microorganisms into indoor air such as bacteria and molds that can cause inflammation of the lungs.


Types of Humidifiers

Central Humidifiers

  • Built into HVAC systems
  • Humidify the whole house.

Console Humidifiers

  • Encased in cabinets designed for floor use.

Portable humidifiers

  • Small
  • Easily movable


Ultrasonic and Impeller humidifiers are the two types of humidifiers that appear to produce the greatest dispersions of both microorganisms.

  • Ultrasonic – Creates a cool mist using ultrasonic sound vibrations.
  • Impeller – Also know as “cool mist” humidifiers, produce a cool mist using high-speed rotating disk.


Evaporative humidifiers (transmits moisture into the air invisibly by using a fan to blow air through a moistened absorbent material) and steam vaporizer humidifiers (creates steam by heating water with an electrical heating element) can allow for growth of microorganisms if they are equipped with a tank that holds standing water, but generally disperse less, if any.


* Unplug the humidifier from the electrical socket first.

  • Empty the tank, wipe all surfaces dry, and refill the water in portable humidifiers daily.

    • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for changing water in console humidifiers.

  • Use water with low mineral content to prevent the build-up of scale and the dispersal of minerals into the air.

  • Empty and scrub the water tank portable humidifiers every third day.

  • Keep indoor relative humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent.

    • Hygrometers measure humidity levels and are available at hardware stores.

  • Do not let the area around the humidifier to become damp or wet.

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