Do I Need a Humidifier or Dehumidifier for a Stuffy Nose?

Do you have a stuffy nose? Is Congestion stopping you from thinking great thoughts? Oh the humanity… or is it the humidity?

The humidity outside and inside seems to have a lot to do with a lot of things. But what things? That’s not always too clear.

For instance, should you use a humidifier or a dehumidifier for a stuffy nose?

It depends.

Is the humidity in your home too high or too low?

A humidifier is to add humidity to a room or space when the relative humidity is too low.

A dehumidifier extracts humidity from the air when the humidity level is too high.

Another way to put it..

Is it winter outside and the house is dried out from the heater being on?

Or is it hot and humid outside and you’ve got a frizzy hairdo to go with your stuffy nose?

Stuffy noses can happen when the humidity is too high and when the humidity is too low.

Dry air can cause you to feel stopped up and humid air can also cause cold-like symptoms because of dust mites and mold spores, along with other allergens.

What Should the Humidity be Set at?

 

 

According to NIH “The majority of adverse health effects caused by relative humidity would be minimized by maintaining indoor levels between 40 and 60%”. 

So if your hygrometer is sitting at 50%,  the relative humidity in your home is good.

But if you’re below 40%, using a humidifier to add moisture back into the air is the device that will help you correct your humidity and hopefully get you breathing through your nose better again.

If the relative humidity according to your hygrometer is sitting above the 60% mark, then your stuffiness may be due to allergens and dust mites which can be found in the air, when the humidity is too high.

How do you know what your humidity level isKeeping your Humidity Copacetic (steady as she goes)

Humidity levels inside your home can often be corrected by doing a few things to keep the good in and stop the bad from getting in.

Excessive Humidity

 

Windows and doors are an easy place to start. Moisture can find its way indoors through the smallest of cracks. And when your windows have not been resealed for a long time, excessive humidity around the windows can cause the seals to warp and rot.

Ceiling of the windows with some caulking and weather stripping can help even out your relative humidity.

Extraction fans or another easy fix.
Those houses come equipped with extraction fans in the bathroom and kitchen and some even have them in the washroom.

Extraction fans are fairly inexpensive and can be put into the ceiling quickly.

Anytime you’re cooking with boiling water or taking a steamy shower or just washing the clothes, using your extraction fans will pull moisture out of the house and into the Attic.

Leaking pipes?

Other sources of humidity in the house can be coming from places or things more undesirable.
For instance if you have plumbing problems or a broken pipe that is leaking inside the house, you are going to be experiencing excessive humidity especially in the area where the pipe is broken.

Leaks not only cause humidity, they cause mold. And mold that has gone unchecked for very long can turn into a big problem fast.

And if you have mold allergies, you may have discovered why you were suffering with a stuffy nose in the process.

Water under the house.

Any water that gets underneath the house can cause humidification to rise from under the floor. This can also be a source of mold and affect your air quality to the point of suffering from allergy symptoms.

Sometimes water under the house can be corrected by stopping any type of ravine that has been maybe etched out by watering the grass. Putting a barrier in front of the water runoff will help it to keep from running beneath your home.

Crawl space encapsulation is a big process that entails putting a plastic barrier between the ground and your house.

Broken and stopped up gutters can also direct water to flow beneath the house.
Fixing these items can often keep the humidity down inside of your home.

Run the air conditioner.

Many times, we forget that the air conditioner works as a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in the air as it cools the air down.
Most modern air conditioners have a dehumidifier setting ready available so that you don’t have to have the cool setting running at the same time.

Basement Dampness

Basements tend to be damp and humid by nature. Since the walls are typically concrete that are built against the moist ground, moisture has a way of working itself into the basement through the concrete.
Sealing up any cracks in the concrete wall is a must to keep moisture out.

The excessive humidity in the basement makes it a less than desirable spot to hang out or sleep. The air quality in the basement can also be responsible for allergy symptoms.

Low Humidity Remedies

Some of the easiest low humidity remedies for your home can be found in the same place that you’re trying to keep the humidity out of in the hot and humid season.

Shower

One of the easiest ways to add some humidity back into your room is to take a long hot shower and leave the doors open. That will allow the steam to migrate into the adjoining rooms as well.

Taking more baths than showers?

Leaving the bathwater in the bath after you bathed will help humidify the area around the bathroom as well.

Dry air pulls humidity from anywhere I can. That’s why dry and cracking skin is such a huge symptom of low humidity.

Cups of water around the house.

Simply leaving some containers of water open around the house can help alleviate some of the dry air. But remember stagnant water can develop bacteria fairly quickly and cause other types of problems. So don’t fill up a 5 gallon bucket so you don’t have to mess with it later.

Boiling water.

This is an old trick I remember from growing up. Mom always had water simmering and boiling in the kitchen and on the heater vents that used to be part of the floor back when.

She often put Vicks and other essential oils in the water to disseminate throughout the house.

Leave the washroom door open.

This may be a little bit on the iffy side if you have any type of allergies to detergents that can make it into your airstream if you leave the washroom door open.
But if you don’t, leaving the washroom door open while you’re washing clothes can invite humidity into the surrounding area.

Leave the dishwasher.

Another one is as simple as leaving the bathwater. Let the dishwater sit after you’re done washing the pots and pans and let the water naturally condense into your Air.H

stuffy noseRecap.

Should you use a humidifier or a dehumidifier when you have a stuffy nose?

The answer depends on whether humidity is too low or too high at the moment.

Low humidity can cause raw stuffy noses, where high humidity can be full of dust mites and bacteria that equates to having a stuffy nose.

A hygrometer is an inexpensive tool that can measure your humidity and tell you exactly or near exactly what your relative humidity is sitting at.

If it is below 40%, then your air is too dry and you need a humidifier to raise the moisture level.

If the humidity is above the 60% mark, then you need a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity.

And the humidifiers and dehumidifiers can be awesome tools, they are not always needed.

There are many things you can do around the house to lower and raise your humidity without purchasing any type of device.

Shutting the bathroom door or leaving the bathroom door open depending on the season is an easy way to add and diminish some of the humidity in the house.

Warm Mist Humidifier – Benefits and Impediments

The humidity in your home has so many direct benefits to your respiratory and skin health but you don’t even notice till the air is dry.

And regardless of the temperature of the humidity, moisture is moisture and you will reap the benefits of a humidifier all the same.

But is there any advantage to choosing a warm mist humidifier other than a cool mist?

What are the benefits of using a warm mist humidifier?

1. Kills bacteria and mold
2. Relieve nasal congestion
3. Good for additives like Vicks and eucalyptus
4. Will warm up a cool room
5. Silent
6. Less hard water buildup and fewer particles released into the air

1.  Kills bacteria and mold

Warm mist humidifiers have a built-in advantage to keeping bacteria and mold from forming in and around the humidifier.

What is it?
Heat. Since the water and a warm mist humidifier or vaporizer is heated to a boiling point to create steam, bacteria and mold are a much smaller problem than with a cool mist humidifier because they simply cannot survive the heat.

Does that absolve them of regular cleaning? Not exactly. Any appliance like a humidifier, diffuser, dehumidifier, or air cooler that has a chance for water to be left standing inside it for even a small amount of time can and do have a tendency to grow bacteria in the water.

The chance for bacteria becoming a problem in a warm mist humidifier maybe smaller but it still exists and should not be taken lightly.

2.  Relieve congestion

If you have ever sit in a sauna, then you know the feeling of steam opening up your airways.
For many people, steam has a relieving feeling on their nasal passages and opens up their airways nicely when they are stopped up with congestion.

3.  Good for Additives like Vicks and Eucalyptus

The combination of warm mist and Vicks congestion medicine can make you feel so much better when you are down sick that there is a whole line of Vicks warm mist vaporizers that have been created and sold just for that.

Other essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint can also be used in conjunction with warm mist and steam to help break up phlegm and open up your airways to breathe better.

4. Warm a Room Up

 

Warm mist humidifiers will warm up a space and make it more comfortable when the temperature is chilly.

5.  Silent

 

Warm mist humidifiers and vaporizers are completely silent.

6. Less hard water buildup and particles released into the air

 

 

Boiling water has the advantage of separating minerals out of hard water. Which can mean that there is less hard water buildup around your humidifier and less mineral particles that can be emitted into the air when you are using the humidifier.

warm mist humidifierWhat’s not to love?

Well there are a few things…

Disadvantages of warm mist humidifiers

 

1. Creates a swampy atmosphere
2. Not everyone experiences nasal relief from steam
3. Can be dangerous

1.Create a Swampy Atmosphere

 

  Warm mist humidifiers can make a room feel swampy. Humidity is not always the most comfortable feeling especially when the temperature is hot.

And when you’re feeling sick, that steamy feeling is not always welcomed.

2.  Not everyone experiences relief from steam.

 

 

When the air is dry, adding humidity to the air regardless of the temperature of the humidity will moisten your nasal passages as well as your skin and so forth.
But cool mist can offer more relief sometimes than warm.
Mayo clinic indicates that cool mist can be more of a relief for a cold than warm, but more research is needed.

3. Can Be Dangerous


  Warm mist humidifiers heat water to a boiling point as a means of creating steam to humidify the room.

That means that the water would be scalding hot if it were to spill on someone.

That’s why you will find a universal warning on vaporizers that they should not be used in the baby or children’s rooms.

Hot and Cold Combination Humidifiers

There is really no reason to pit a warm mist humidifier up against a cool mist humidifier. There are specific advantages to using both and they both have their disadvantages.

There are many times when you need a vapor machine to help you breathe better immediately, but don’t need the vapor on throughout the night.

There’s also times when the warm mist feels good, but that doesn’t mean you want to sleep in a steamy room.

Modern humidifiers like the Levoit 6L give you the advantage of being able to use the humidifier as a warm mist or cool.

Being able to diffuse essential oils with these humidifiers is a basic feature anymore.
They can be filled from the top, set on auto and left alone, and
They also have the capacity to schedule and turn them off and on via a smart app that can be used with Alexa or Google Assistant.

Humidifiers like Air Innovations are made from mold resistant materials and can also have ultraviolet lamps that target the water to keep mold and bacteria from ever becoming an issue.

warm mist humidifier disadvantageRecap.

Warm mist humidifiers have specific benefits that you do not get with a cool mist humidifier.

 

They have the advantage of heating water to a temperature that automatically reduces any bacteria, germ growth or mold that can take root inside of a humidifier.

They also work very well for disseminating essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint and work great with Vicks. So much so that Vicks has their own vaporizer meant to do just that.

And many people consider steam to be more of a relief to swollen and dried nasal passages with congestion then using cool mist.

And you can’t beat the fact that they are completely silent.

But on the flip side,..

Not everyone likes the feeling of hot humidity especially when they are sick and trying to sleep.

And there is the issue of being dangerous because of the temperature of the water that they create.

Warm mist humidifiers are never recommended for the children’s room where they can get bumped and accidentally spill.

Best of Both Worlds

 

 

 

Humidifiers like the Levoit 6l give you the advantage of being able to operate the humidifier as a warm or a mist humidifier.

There are times when using vapor to disseminate essential oils can be an awesome way to open up your airways but that doesn’t mean that you want to sleep in a steamy room.

Having the option to use the vapor and then turn the humidifier on cool for the rest of the night while you sleep is a great feature/benefit.

This new style of humidifiers also comes with built-in hygrometers and humidistats that allow you to set and leave your humidifier knowing that it will elevate the humidity and turn off when the appropriate humidity is reached.

Most have the option of being able to fill them from the top as well as operate them from your smartphone or an Alexa or Google Assistant.

Humidifiers like Air Innovations also have the advantage of being made from mold resistant materials that resist bacteria and create a much safer humidifier.

Can I Use a Humidifier Without a Air Conditioner? – With?

Can I use a humidifier without air conditioning?

 
The humidifier does not need cool air from an air conditioner to function. Its moistens  the air regardless of the temperature.

The humidifier is a device that’s purpose is to add moisture into the air.

And though an air conditioner’s primary purpose is to cool a room, it also dehumidifies in the process.

Air conditioners and dehumidifiers pull warm air out of the room and drag it across refrigerated coils that cause the moisture to condense and exit as a liquid.

This is why window air conditioners have a drip hole in the bottom of the case.

  It is so that the humidity that is pulled out of the air while the air conditioner is running has a place to escape from.

  Humidifiers are more commonly run in conjunction with heating systems and heaters.

During winter months when the air is naturally dryer and the heater is on and off drying the air out even further, humidifiers are used to combat the dry air.

Without the humidifier running you might start seeing a lot of telltale signs like everyone walking around zapping each other because of static electricity. Plus Dry lips and dry and bloody noses, and a lot of congestion.

But that does not mean that there is no need for a humidifier in the summer. Though we primarily think of the summer months as being extra humid, that is not always the case.

In Texas for instance, we have gone months without any rain and temperatures in the ’80s daily.

Which amounts to dry, dusty and windy heat.

You can bet we use our humidifiers with the air conditioner running.

  But, on the other side of the coin, if we’re having a rainy and humid season, you definitely don’t want to do something to add more moisture to the air like run a humidifier.

In fact, a dehumidifier may have to be run in conjunction with an AC when the relative humidity is so high that the AC cannot keep up with dehumidifying.

So regardless of the temperature or of the season, the humidifier is meant to add moisture to the air when the relative humidity is below the 40 to 60% mark.

And while it’s more common in the winter, dry conditions can occur throughout the year.

Getting to know the lingo

Of course there are so many devices, appliances and systems that do something to regulate the air, it is hard to know which is which and what does what sometimes.

  For instance, a true story. For years I personally ran an air purifier retail store.
The only thing we sold was air purifiers. 
We didn’t sell any other types of appliances or or anything that had to do with air other than clean it.

But like clockwork, every holiday when the family gets together, my brother-in-law asked me how my “water filter” business is doing. Jeez.

  The point is, unless you deal with these things on a consistent basis, there is really no need to keep up with what is what.

So when somebody asked me a question like ” can I use my humidifier without the air conditioner?” I’m more likely to believe that they meant “dehumidifier” instead of air conditioner.

The reason I say that is, air conditioners typically come with a dehumidifier setting. So that you can use the dehumidifier without using the air conditioner.

There are many times when the temperature is not all that excessive but the humidity level in the house makes it feel like it’s 110°.

  At those times, you can run the dehumidifier on your air conditioner without running the “cool” setting and be able to cool the house off by extracting the moisture out of the air and never turning the air conditioner setting on at all. 

In that case, the answer is yes. You can run the dehumidifier setting on your air conditioner without running the air conditioner per se.

humidifier-air conditionerRecap.

When someone ask” can I use a humidifier without the air conditioner ?” They can mean one of two things.

 

They want to know if it’s good to run a humidifier when the air conditioner is on?

Or they are confusing the dehumidifier setting on the air conditioner for a humidifier.

The answer is, you can run a humidifier anytime that the relative humidity is below 30 or 40%, and get benefit out of it.

Even in the summer, there are times when the air is so dry that it calls for a humidifier to be going even with the air conditioner running.

But air conditioners do not come with a humidifier setting.

They do on the other hand come with a dehumidifier setting.

Which leads me to believe that a lot of people confuse the lingo and call the dehumidifier a humidifier.

The dehumidifier on an air conditioner can be run without the air conditioner running on the cool setting along with it.

There are many times when reducing the humidity in a room will increase the comfort because it’s the humidity that’s making the room feel so uncomfortable.

Air conditioners and dehumidifiers are very similar appliances. If you take them apart, their mechanics look almost identical.

The difference is, an air conditioner cools the air as it pulls the moisture out and dispels the heat outside of the room.

A dehumidifier does not cool the room off as it pulls the moisture and it dispels The heat inside of the room which helps pull even more humidity out of the air.

You generally don’t need to run a dehumidifier if you have an air conditioner.

But there are times when the humidity level can be so high that the air conditioner can’t keep up with pulling the moisture out alone.

At that point a separate humidifier can help to reduce the moisture in a house further, cool things off a bit more, and take some strain off of the air conditioner.

Can I Use Boiled Water in a Humidifier?

There is quite a bit of confusion when it comes to knowing what type of water you should put in a humidifier.

Some people say it doesn’t matter and some people are emphatic that it must be distilled and nothing else.

  But what is the primary issue with using any type of water regardless of how it is processed?

Mineral content is the answer.

Water that has a lesser mineral content is going to be easier on your humidifier and not have as much white calcium dust buildup and a lesser chance of mold.

Can I use boiled water in a humidifier?

Boiling water is a way of taking hard water and turning it soft. In other words it removes the minerals. Or at least separates them. The idea is to boil the water and when it cools, the minerals will collect on the bottom of the pan.

We are talking about water that has been boiled and allowed to cool and not water that is boiling. Don’t make the mistake of pouring boiling water into your humidifier. It will more than likely melt the humidifier and could cause a terrible injury if you had an accident with it.

“Boiled water is good to use in a humidifier because boiling separates the minerals and causes them to settle.”

But the real trick of using boiled water in a humidifier is filtering out the settlement from the rest of the water. 

If you can do that successfully, then you have good clean soft water that will work well in your humidifier.

If you can’t filter it well, then the water will have bigger chunks of sediment then otherwise, which would leave you worse off than you were then if you hadn’t boiled it in the first place.

Ideally, distilled water is the best water to put in a humidifier because it has gone through the process of removing the minerals. But when you know how much water a humidifier can actually go through, purchasing distilled water to use exclusively in a humidifier will get expensive.

So boiling tap water is an okay solution if you’re absolutely concerned about the content of your local water or if you just have hard water in your area. And mostly you just don’t want to pay for water.

There are a few products you can purchase though that are a little expensive up front can and I’m saving you down the road. Even if we’re just talking about your time.

One set of products is purchasing a hard water filter and placing it either on your kitchen faucet or your shower.

  A Search on Amazon brings up quite a few more shower filters that kitchen filters when you do a search for a hard water filter. And if it’s all the same where you fill up your humidifier, the price for shower filters is a little better than putting a filter on the kitchen sink.

AquaHomeGroup 15 Stage Shower Filter

  • EFFECTIVE shower filters to remove chlorine and fluoride, heavy metals and other sediments. 
  • Clean, soft water means no more issues with lime scale build-up on the shower head or fixtures and no hard water spots.

Another solution, although a little more expensive up front, the purchase of a water distiller. You can set up a water distiller in the kitchen for less than a couple of $100 and never have to purchase distilled water for your humidifier ever again.

CO-Z 1 Gallon Water Distiller

This tabletop water purifier by CO-Z purifies water, filters out impurities, and dissolves VOCs at 0.3 gallons per hour

The third product is made by pure guardian technologies and it’s called the aqua stick.
It is an additive that you place into your humidifier similar to a cleaning pod that you place in the back of a commode.
The aqua stick will keep mold from growing in your humidifier for up to 90 days.
So it is a recurring purchase.

But if mold occurring because of hard water is your primary concern, aqua stick can save you a lot of time and money versus purchasing distilled water all season.

Guardian Technologies GGHS15 Aquastick Antimicrobial Humidifier Treatment

Pure Guardian GGHS15 Aquastick humidifier water cartridge helps reduce the growth of mold and odor causing bacteria in the water of a humidifier tank 

Clean your humidifier often.

Another solution which in truth should be your first solution is to clean your humidifier with an acidic vinegar cleaner more often.

Vinegar cleaner is 25% more acidic than regular white distilled vinegar and it will remove hard water deposits if you allow your humidifier parts to soak in it for 30 minutes or so whenever you clean your humidifier.

Bacteria and mold can take root in the water basin anytime the water is allowed to stand even in as little as 48 hours.

If you turn the humidifier on after there has been standing water in the humidifier then the bacteria will become airborne and can cause illness when inhaled.

Very serious diseases like legionnaires disease and Pontiac fever are caused by inhaling bacteria that has grown on water.

The symptoms are very similar to pneumonia.

So even though using the right water will help provide longevity for your humidifier and keep humidifier dust to a minimum, cleaning the humidifier thoroughly and often is a must.

Recap

When it comes to choosing the right water for your humidifier there is a lot of back and forth on the subject.

And a lot is made of being very careful not to use tap water because it is considered hard water and full of minerals.

  And naturally that brings up the practice of boiling water before using it in a humidifier. Should you do it?

“Using boiled water in a humidifier is fine because it does separate the minerals and cause them to settle.

The only problem is filtering the sediment out of the boiled water so it doesn’t get into the humidifier.”

  Otherwise, purchasing distilled water will save you the time and you will not have to worry about filtering the boiled water perfectly.

And if the cost of distilled water over the humidifier season is too expensive, then there are other purchases you can make that even though there is an up front expense, could end up saving you in the long run.

Hard water filters are available for your faucets. For around 50 bucks you can filter the minerals out of your tap water and not worry about it till it’s time to exchange the filter.

Another solution is to buy a water distiller and make your own distilled water. The upfront cost is a little more expensive but it will pay for itself and save you down the line.

Aqua sticks are humidifier additives that will keep your humidifier from getting moldy for up to 3 months.
A reoccurring price but cheaper than buying gallons of distilled water from the supermarket.

Finally, and like I said before, and should be the first option, is keeping your humidifier cleaner by soaking your humidifier in vinegar more often.

 

Can a Warm Mist Humidifier Make You Sick?

Humidifiers in the winter are a genuine lifesaver when it comes to healing dried out nasal passages, bloody noses, congestion, and keeping viruses at Bay.

But the same humidifier that can give you such amazing relief when you are  feeling congested can also be the source of illness when it is not maintained carefully.

Yet there is one type of humidifier that is inherently safer than other types of humidifiers.

Warm mist humidifiers or vaporizers have a built-in protection mechanism against mold and bacteria growing in them.

The safety feature they possess is that they bring water to a boiling point to create steam.

Bacteria cannot survive the temperature of boiling water. So Warm mist humidifiers actually clean the humidifier as they are operating.

The typical problem that humidifiers possess is that they can become full of bacteria when they are not cleaned often enough.

That results in the humidifier becoming a source of airborne mold, fungi, and bacteria. Attaching themselves to humidity aerosols floating and waiting to be inhaled.

Anytime that water has been left inside of a humidifier for over 48 hours there is the potential of mold and bacteria already starting to take root in the machine.

According to health professionals including the national library of medicine “the relative humidity inside a home should be kept between 40 and 60% to avoid humidity related issues”

Sticky

But though warm mist humidifiers may have the advantage when it comes to staying cleaner, they do not lend themselves to being a system for humidifying a large area for very long.

The problem is that they are hot ,steamy and Sticky. 
A good solution when you want to use a product like Vicks or an essential oil like eucalyptus to clear out your nasal passages, but not such a good solution when you’re entire house is dry and you’re trying to raise the moisture level.

Warm mist humidifiers and vaporizers tend to make the area swampy and uncomfortable when you are feeling sick.

So even though they are less likely to be responsible for getting dirty and making someone sick, they are also uncomfortable to be around when you are sick.

They also have a big disadvantage of being scalding hot if they happen to spill on you.

Most vendors make a point of warning that warm mist and steam humidifiers should not be used in the kids rooms or the baby’s room for that exact reason.

warm mist vaporizerWhat to do…

Humidifiers in the 2000s are not the same humidifiers that you purchased at the local pharmacy in 1985.

The amount of features that humidifiers have these days can suit just about everyone’s humidification needs.

One of those features like you can find on the Levoit 6l large room humidifier is the capacity of the unit to be used as a warm mist humidifier or a cool mist humidifier.

This is a great solution for people who want to be able to use the steam setting to help open up their airways but don’t want to have to try to sleep in a sauna atmosphere.

Humidifiers like that same Levoit model or also loaded with the latest Wi-Fi smart technologies to allow you to control and schedule your humidifier directly from your phone or your Alexa device.

  It also allows you to set and leave your humidifier without the concern of it ever over humidifying or running out of water without you knowing it.

Other advances in humidifiers are concentrated on reducing mold and bacteria growth inside of the humidifier water.

An example is the…. Humidifier that uses antimicrobial mode resisting plastic and it’s construction.

Another example is the… Humidifier that features an ultraviolet light that targets the water container so that bacteria is stopped before it has a chance to take root.

Which only makes sense since UV has been used for aquariums and barber shop disinfecting containers for as long as I can remember.

Though UV is also something you probably do not want in the children’s rooms either because it can damage your eyes if you stare into it.

warm mist humidifierSummary

In this article we tried to make the point that warm mist humidifiers can actually be safer because they raise the temperature of the water to a boiling point which is a bacteria killer.

Humidifiers for all their benefits also have a dark side.

Which is, they can grow mold and bacteria in the water when they are not cleaned often enough.

The result is that the mold and bacteria inside of the water becomes part of the air you breathe when the humidifier is turned on.

Inhaling airborne bacteria that come from water is the cause behind the horrific legionnaires disease.

Which can cause death primarily in people with low immunity such as the elderly.

Pontiac fever is a milder version of legionnaires that produces symptoms closer to pneumonia and is not usually fatal.

But although you can make the case that vaporizers and warm mist humidifiers are safer because they produce less bacteria, there is also the other side of the coin which is that vaporizers can create a swampy atmosphere which is uncomfortable when you are sick, and especially when you are trying to sleep.

What’s the alternative?

Thankfully humidifiers have continued to get better over the years and now you can purchase humidifiers that function as both warm mist and cool mist humidifiers.

There is also a new breed of humidifiers that is tackling the problem of humidifiers creating bacteria by building their units out of antimicrobial plastic that resists mold and targeting ultraviolet light on the water inside the basin to kill any bacteria before they become airborne.

But if purchasing a new humidifier is not in your immediate future, then there is the old elbow grease method combined with some acidic vinegar to keep your humidifier clean and protect you from bacteria growing in your humidifier and becoming airborne.

What is the Ideal Humidifier Setting in Winter?

What is the Ideal Humidity Setting in Winter?

 

It seems that humidity and humidification are a subject that are gaining interest as people are becoming more aware of the impact that moisture levels in the home, School, work or otherwise, can have not only on dry noses and cracking skin but even more importantly the transmission of viruses.

“The ideal humidity setting on a hygrometer or humidifier is 50 Percent. According to the National Library of Medicine: “the majority of adverse health effects caused by relative humidity would be minimized by maintaining indoor levels between 40 and 60%.”

When conditions are dry, airborne viral particles become smaller and or able to travel much further.

Humidity makes the particles wider and weighs them down so they are not able to float, which reduces the particles located in the ambient air (the air you breathe) and inhibits their capacity to spread.

Exciting.

It’s interesting that simply adding moisture to the air can create indoor conditions where viruses and bacteria along with other dust particles can reduce respiratory illness.

humidifier settings in winterHumidity levels in the winter are typically exceptionally low. The lack of moisture in the air creates all types of havoc with your body including:

  • Dry skin
  • Lowered immunity
  • Raw and bloody noses
  • Dry throat
  • Acne
  • Congestion
  • Static electricity
  • Frizzy hair

But you may be asking how do you know what your humidity actually is in the house?

That’s all good and fine knowing that humidity can affect your health but if you don’t know what your humidity is or how to correct it, what’s the use?

Humidity is measured with what’s called a hygrometer.

Hygrometers can be purchased as standalone devices but you will mostly find them as digital units combined with thermometers these days.

A thermohygrometer coupled with a humidifier to add moisture to the air is all the tools you will need to increase your relative humidity when conditions are too dry in your home or workplace.

This method works by using trial and error and increasing or decreasing the output of your humidifier as needed.

But even though it works, it’s not the most convenient as it will take a lot of monitoring between the humidifier and the hygrometer to achieve and maintain the proper humidity level.

humidifier winterLucky for us, humidifiers have raced into the new age and are among the upper echelon of appliances that come equipped with smart technology to auto control your humidifier, but it turns on and off as needed according to censored hygrometer technology.

In other words, it increases and decreases humidity automatically.

Smart humidifiers not only can be controlled using Alexis and Google Assistant, they can also tell you your home humidity levels directly from an app on your phone and let you control it as needed.

Smart technology is only the beginning of where this new generation of humidifiers get started.

For instance the Levoit 6 l whole house smart humidifier can be utilized as either a warm mist or a cool mist humidifier.

It is equipped with sleep mode, essential aromatherapy oil ready, and is ultra quiet.

And one of the smartest features of this new breed of humidifiers is that they are top fill.

Which means they are much easier to put water in than the old plastic pharmacy style humidifiers that had to have the tank taken off and turned upside down underneath a faucet to fill it.

Other advances in humidifiers include methods of keeping humidifiers cleaner longer.

Technologies like UV light and antimicrobial plastic or advancing humidification to a new level. see: Self Cleaning Humidifiers

It’s no secret that humidifiers are among the most maintenance heavy devices.

Humidifiers must be kept clean to avoid germs and bacteria from growing inside of the water.

Unfortunately the same device that can reduce your chances of getting sick in the winter can also make you sick if it is not maintained properly.

That’s what makes these new technologies like ultraviolet light and antimicrobial materials so exciting.

You can imagine that in the future we are going to see humidifiers that alert us when they are in danger of developing bacteria and humidifiers that simply clean themselves.

We’re not quite there yet. But it’s definitely on the horizon. (Vaporizers use boiling water to create steam. Since the water is brought to a high temperature, bacteria is not able to survive)

Summary 

What Humidity Setting Should You Use in Winter?

According to PubMed, 40 to 60% relative humidity in the home, School, or workplace is the ideal humidity to minimize adverse health effects caused by humidity. 

Humidity can adversely affect your health when it is too low or too high.

Though most people generally pull out the humidifier when they start getting bloody noses and congestion, humidifiers can relieve all types of conditions including dry and cracking skin, dried out nasal passages, acne, viral spread, and lowered immunity.

Though they can be purchased separately and used in conjunction with your humidifier, hygrometers, which are the tool that is used to measure humidity, come built in to humidifiers as a standard feature these days.

Smart humidifiers can automatically increase or decrease the humidity level inside of the house to maintain the optimal humidity of 40 to 60%.

They also give you the advantage and convenience of being able to control and schedule your humidifier with your phone or using an Alexis device or Google Assistant.

This new breed of humidifier offers features like the capacity to use the humidifier is either a warm mist or a cool mist device. Antibacterial features like ultraviolet light and antimicrobial plastic, and one of my favorites, the ability to fill it from the top.

Top fill humidifiers take a huge amount of hassle out of using a humidifier.

It hasn’t been that long since humidifiers only came with basins that had to be taken off and turned upside down in order to fill.

Top fill humidifiers can be filled with a water pitcher.

Hydrogen Peroxide in Humidifier – What’s the Controversy?

Have you heard of putting hydrogen peroxide in a humidifier?

This practice is not as seemingly innocent as it may first appear. It actually is controversial and a bit polarizing. Honestly something that I did not expect to hear.

Hydrogen peroxide is something we’ve had in our medicine cabinet for as long as I can remember. As far back as I can recall my parents told me to put hydrogen peroxide on any skinned knee or abrasion that I got playing outside.

So when I found out that not everyone agrees about the use of hydrogen peroxide, I was a little surprised.

Why do people put hydrogen peroxide in a humidifier?

1. Cleaner

1. As a cleaner it oxidizes and removes bacteria and fungi. It is a natural disinfectant that will disinfect your humidifier when you use it as a cleaner.

It makes sense that the stuff that you put on a wound to keep it from getting infected or removing the infection would be the ideal choice for cleaning a humidifier and removing the germs and bacteria from it.

That in itself is not too controversial.

2.  Surface disinfectant.

This is an issue that actually has scientific backing and research.

Misting a room with hydrogen peroxide by using a humidifier and wiping down surfaces with hydrogen peroxide will cut down the ability of viruses to spread.

This is the same concept that a lot of air purifiers use that create hydrogen peroxide ions as a method of cleaning air.

The technology in air purification is called photo catalytic oxidation(PCO).
It’s a method of creating hydrogen peroxide ions by targeting ultraviolet light on a titanium oxide catalyst.

In an article published by the national library of medicine it was stated that “HPV (hydrogen peroxide vapor) was virucidal for structurally distinct viruses dried on surfaces, suggesting that HPV can be considered for the disinfection of virus contaminated surfaces.”

An article published by OHS, the occupational health and safety website states that “hydrogen peroxide vapor represents a major technological advance in preventing the spread of dangerous bacteria inside a hospitals”

Again it only makes sense that hydrogen peroxide would be an excellent surface disinfectant. 

breathing hydrogen peroxide

3. To Breathe Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor

This is the one that is controversial.

A lot of people including many alternative medicine practitioners encourage the inhalation of hydrogen peroxide vapor as a way of clearing the nasal passages and lungs of viral particles that have been ingested.

But for the amount of people suggesting that it’s a good idea, there are many more that say that it is a dangerous practice and that it should never be done whatsoever.

The reason that it is frowned upon is that hydrogen peroxide is a corrosive agent that could possibly oxidize your lung tissue.

Food grade hydrogen peroxide will burn your skin if you get it on your hand or anywhere else while using it.

So you certainly don’t want to ingest it.

But the proponents of using hydrogen peroxide vapor are not suggesting that you drink hydrogen peroxide or that you use it full strength in a humidifier or nebulizer.

The ideal is that a deluded low level of peroxide is not enough to cause any damage but is strong enough to have an antiviral oxidizing effect on viruses.

There are people who say that you can put straight 3% hydrogen peroxide into your humidifier and that is completely safe.

Others point out that the type of cheap 3% hydrogen peroxide that you buy in the local pharmacy section lacks the stabilizers to make it safe and say that you have to use food grade hydrogen peroxide but you have to be careful to dilute it by 10 times.

However, the internet has a huge amount of people testifying that breathing hydrogen peroxide vapor has helped them and in a lot of cases is the only thing that has helped them.

Breathebetterair is not a medical website, nor are we doctors.

If you should decide that you want to try this, this is completely up to you and we do not encourage or discourage the method either way.

4.  Gargling hydrogen peroxide

This has nothing to do with humidifiers but it definitely goes down the same path.

Many people claim, including alternative medical professionals, that gargling hydrogen peroxide as well as nasal washing will quickly stop the progression of respiratory complications due to ingesting viruses.

The suggestion is that you use a 1.5% solution of hydrogen peroxide when doing so. PubMed points out that it is safe to use hydrogen peroxide on the mucous membranes as it is already a common practice in otolaryngology.

Summary

“Putting hydrogen peroxide in a humidifier can work as a disinfectant to clean a humidifier and also as a way of misting the air with hydrogen peroxide vapor to clean surfaces.”

Hydrogen peroxide is widely used as a disinfectant on cuts and abrasions to keep them from getting infected as well as a method of this infection when there is already an infection present.

So the use of hydrogen peroxide in a humidifier only makes sense if you stick  to using it as a cleaner and a surface disinfectant.

But there are also those who claim that breathing or inhaling hydrogen peroxide vapor can prevent viruses or reduce the length of time that they persist in your body.

Along the same lines is the practice of gargling and nasal washing with hydrogen peroxide.

This seemingly makes sense because of the disinfecting qualities of hydrogen peroxide but there are many people who say that the practice is absolutely too dangerous because of the corrosive nature of peroxide.

Can you use hydrogen peroxide in humidifierIf you were going to try it, remember that food grade hydrogen peroxide will burn your skin if you get it on you, so it will need to be diluted with water as much as 10 times before you use it.

  The 3% hydrogen peroxide that you purchase in the brown bottles from your local pharmacy should be deleted by half before you use it also.

We do not encourage or discourage this method. This is an informational website and not intended to be advice.

Tap Water in Humidifier? The End of Civilization?

If you have been doing any type of research on whether or not you can put tap water in a humidifier, you undoubtedly come across a lot of fear porn.

  A lot of sites make it sound like if you put tap water in a humidifier you will have committed the unpardonable sin.

Can You Put Tap Water in a Humidifier?

 

“You can absolutely put tap water in a humidifier. Is it the best water to put in the humidifier. No. But if you have a regular cleaning schedule using and acidic cleaner like “cleaning vinegar” then you should have very few issues putting tap water in your humidifier.”

What are the issues with putting tap water in a humidifier?

1.  Minerals

The primary problem with putting tap water in a humidifier is that it is full of minerals that can eventually stop up your humidifier or at least cause it to have less output.

2. Humidifier dust

Those same minerals that can reduce the effectiveness of a humidifier over time also contribute to the amount of white humidifier dust that settles on and around your humidifier.

3.  Mold

And thirdly, the minerals in tap water can increase the chances of mold growing in your humidifier water.

Do these issues constitute some type of crisis that will keep your humidifier from operating? Not really.

And if you look around, you will find some humidifiers like Vicks that tell you to put tap water in your humidifier basin right in the instructions.

And like we pointed out before, if you are keeping up with a regular schedule of cleaning your humidifier with an acidic vinegar, you might not even notice these being issues at all.

And plus there are additives that you can purchase like aqua stick that will cut down the chances of mold becoming a problem with your humidifier for up to 90 days even with tap water.

The primary issue with any type of tap water  that you use in a humidifier is how many minerals and other particles that it contains.

What water is best for a humidifier

What Water is Best for a Humidifier?

 

“Distilled water is the best water to run in a humidifier. Distilled water goes through a process that removes 99% of the minerals and sediment that you find in your usual tap water.”

Distilled water simply has less particles that can gum up a humidifier than any other type of water.

So if you want to give your humidifier the best chance for lasting longer, then make distilled water your choice for running inside of your humidifier.

You will find that it cuts down on the amount of humidifier dust that settles around your humidifier.

Does using distilled water in the humidifier mean that you do not have to clean your humidifier?

Not at all. Mold and bacteria will grow in distilled water that has been allowed to sit and become stagnant.

Maybe not as quickly as when you use tap water, but using distilled water in no way prevents the eventual bacteria in water over time.

And if you are using a warm mist vaporizer type humidifier then you already have a built-in mechanism for keeping mold and bacteria from becoming an issue with your humidifier.

These types of humidifiers raise the temperature of the water to a boiling point which will kill any bacteria in the water before it becomes airborne and inhaled by the user.

Humidifiers these days are pretty sophisticated. You can buy humidifiers that operate as both cool mist and warm mist as well as get them built with mold resistant plastic.

   Top Fill designs take a huge amount of work out of using a humidifier because they do not require you to take the humidifier apart or turn the basin upside down to fill it with water.

So understandably, once you’ve made that extra investment into a humidifier with all the extra features, then you want to give your humidifier the best chance of lasting longer.

So using distilled water over tap water in your humidifier makes perfect sense at that point.

But the risk of putting tap water in a humidifier really doesn’t amount to a whole lot of excitement. And it’s up to you whether or not you want to deal with a little extra clean up.

Bottled Water in Humidifier?

Should you put a bottle of water in the humidifier if you don’t have any distilled?

Bottled water in a humidifier may be a little better than tap water because it does go through a little stricter of a purification process than tap.

But the minerals are not taken out of bottled water and since it’s the minerals that are the main issue with tap water, you’re only going to get a little bit of improvement using bottled water vs tap water.

How about using boiled water in the humidifier?

Boiling water will kill the bacteria or any type of fungal threat that could be present and water.

But the primary problem with boiling water then putting it into a humidifier is that boiling separates the sediment in the water and getting the water into the humidifier without getting the sediment in the humidifier along with it is going to be a little tough. Not impossible but tough.

Stream water seems like it would be a great solution for a humidifier but it probably has more minerals and sediment in it then tap water. And the likelihood of it already containing bacteria and fungus goes up a thousand percent.

bottled water for humidifier Summary

Tap water in a humidifier?

“You can use tap water in the humidifier as long as you understand that the minerals and other particles in it can eventually reduce the output of the humidifier.”

And tap water generally creates more humidifier dust on and around the humidifier than other types of water.

But if you have a regular cleaning schedule for your humidifier that includes a good acidic vinegar, you may not ever notice that these are issues. 

But humidifiers can be quite expensive if you get the type with all the bells and whistles.

So understandably you want to put the best water possible in the machine to keep it working like new.

Distilled water is the best possible water for a humidifier because it does go through a process of removing the minerals and other particles as well as bacteria.

And it can reduce the amount of humidifier dust you see around your humidifier as well.

So tap water in a humidifier? You can do it and it’s not the end of the world. But if you want the best water for your humidifier that will increase the chances of it lasting much longer, go with distilled water.

Can a Humidifier Cause Pneumonia? No but Yes?

Can a Humidifier Cause Pneumonia?

“A properly maintained humidifier that is being operated when conditions are dry will not cause pneumonia or any other illness.

Quite the contrary, an accurately hydrated room or living space can reduce the risk of illness.”

Take a look at a couple of these research statements.

 According to NIH, the National Library of Medicine” the indoor size of allergenic mite and fungal populations is directly dependent upon the relative humidity”.

Also:  ” The majority of adverse health effects caused by relative humidity would be minimized by maintaining indoor levels between 40 and 60%.”

Another study from Sciencedaily.com states” when you sneeze and cough those smaller infectious aerosols can stay suspended in the air for longer.

That increases the exposure for other people. When the air is humid and the aerosols are larger and heavier they fall and hit surfaces quicker”.

The fact is that the viruses, bacteria, and fungi that cause pneumonia and other airborne transmitted illnesses cannot transmit nearly as easily when the humidity is kept between the ranges 40% and 60%.

But as you may have noticed, we put the emphasis on “properly” and “accurately” and the opening sentences of this article.

Because there are instances where humidifiers can be responsible for transmitting germs and fungi that can cause pneumonia type symptoms.

when can a humidifier cause pneumoniaWhen can a Humidifier Cause Pneumonia?

A humidifier that is not properly maintained and that is operated when stagnant water has been allowed to sit in the humidifier before using it can transmit bacteria into the air.

When that air is inhaled, certain bacteria and mold spores can cause pneumonia-like symptoms.

Legionnaires disease, Pontiac fever, and humidifier lung are all illnesses caused by inhaling bacteria growing in water.

The symptoms associated with these illnesses all look suspiciously close to the symptoms that occur with pneumonia.

Fever, achy muscles, headaches, post nasal drip, coughing and sneezing, to name a few.

The dichotomy is that the same device that can help prevent the transmission of bacterial viruses is also the same device that can cause them when used wrongly.

The important takeaway is that a humidifier must be cleaned thoroughly and often to avoid any risk of it becoming a catalyst for airborne fungi and toxins.

And the truth is, it is very simple to clean a humidifier.

We suggest soaking the humidifier in vinegar once a week or so to ensure that there is not a chance of bacteria and mold taking root and becoming a problem. You can step up the process by purchasing “cleaning vinegar” which is about 25% more acidic than distilled.

How to Thoroughly Clean a Humidifier.

 The process is simple.

1. Disassemble the humidifier
2. Fill the basin with a cup of vinegar and water, swish it around well and then let it soak for at least 20 minutes.
3. Soak all the smaller pieces from the humidifier in a bowl of vinegar for 20 minutes also.
4. Rinse it all out with warm water and allow it to dry completely before use.

New Humidifier Innovations

Humidifiers have moved on past the standard basic misting units that we are accustomed to seeing in drug stores.

Humidifiers in the modern age come with everything from hygrometers to measure your humidity and the capacity to switch back and forth between a vaporizer and a cool mist humidifier. 

Luxuries like being able to fill the humidifier from the top as well as working as aromatherapy diffusers are also part of the norm of this new breed of humidifiers. Top Fill Humidifiers

And one of the most exciting features and innovations that is starting to creep up in the market is the use of different technologies to reduce the ability of mold and bacteria from growing in your humidifier.

A couple of these technologies are ultraviolet light and mode resistant plastic.

1. Ultraviolet light or UV for short is used in many industries to cool bacteria including targeting mold and fungi in aquariums and also as a way to disinfect Combs and scissors in barber shops.

The jump to humidifiers only makes sense. Some humidifiers that employ ultraviolet light like the Dyson model claim that they reduce mold and bacteria inside of a humidifier by as much as 99%. Pretty incredible.

2.Another exciting innovation being used in humidifiers is in the actual materials that the humidifier is made from. What I’m talking about is mold resistant plastic.

Imagine a humidifier made from materials that actually resist the formation of mold and bacteria. Also pretty Incredible.

3.Other innovations include additives that you place right into the water of a humidifier. Aqua stick is a product that you place right into the basin of your humidifier similar to putting a cleaning pod into the back of your commode.

Though it does not boast a 100% kill rate, it can reduce the chance of mold and bacteria from taking root in your humidifier for up to 90 days.

A good alternative to purchasing a new humidifier.

Summary

Can a Humidifier Cause Pneumonia?

“Yes a humidifier that is operated when standing water has been sitting in it can transmit bacteria and fungi into the air that can create symptoms of pneumonia.”

Diseases like Pontiac fever, humidifier lung, and legionnaires disease all originate from the inhalation of bacteria that is growing in water.

For this reason, keeping a clean humidifier is a must and should not be taken lightly.

On the flip side, a well maintained humidifier that is being operated when the condition of dry air ( below 40% humidity) is met can reduce the spread of the viruses, fungi, and bacteria that cause pneumonia.

Studies have shown that viruses are not able to travel nearly as far when the proper humidity level is kept.

According to PubMed, most species of fungi cannot grow unless the relative humidity exceeds 60%. Airborne transmitted infectious bacteria and viruses has shown that the survival or infectivity of these organisms is minimized by exposure to a relative humidity between 40 and 70%.

Humidifier Smells Musty- Red Flag! Important

If you look in the dictionary, the word musty is defined as having a “stale, moldy or damp smell”.

If your humidifier smells musty then you more than likely have a humidifier with stagnant moldy water.
This is a red flag and you should turn the humidifier off till you have thoroughly cleaned the humidifier with vinegar and allowed it to completely dry.

  Though the benefits of a humidifier are many , operating a humidifier that has stagnant water will turn the humidifier into a germ machine that will fill your air full of mold spores and airborne bacteria.

At that point it’s not just an issue of smelling bad, it can actually be dangerous to your health.

Did you know that the symptoms of mold allergies often look very similar to the symptoms of the flu or pneumonia?

Sneezing, runny nose, post nasal drip, fatigue, itchy and watery eyes, can all occur from breathing in mold.

Legionnaires disease is caused by inhaling bacteria from water or soil.

Symptoms related to legionnaires include fever, muscle aches, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea vomiting and diarrhea

A lesser version of legionnaires is called Pontiac fever which also creates symptoms that resemble the flu and pneumonia.

As you can see that a musty smelling humidifier is not something to take lightly.

Don’t panic.

Just take the appropriate steps and clean your humidifier thoroughly before using it.

How to Clean a Musty Humidifier

Cleaning a musty humidifier requires one main ingredient and that is “vinegar”. And though you can get away with using white distilled vinegar, you can purchase ” cleaning vinegar” . It is actually about 25% more acidic and will do a better, more thorough job for you.

The steps are simple:

1. Take your humidifier apart (these are just the parts that are made to come apart easily, I am not talking about taking a screwdriver and breaking the machine down to its bare components or anything like that)
We’re just talking about taking the basin off, removing any lids, gaskets, etc.

2. Dump the water out of the basin

3. Pour a cup of cleaning vinegar into the basin and swish around

4. Take the other parts and soak them in a bowl of  vinegar. Nothing too amazing just make sure that everything is soaking enough to ensure that no mold or bacteria is left untouched.

5. Poor enough vinegar into the bottom half of the humidifier to ensure that all the areas are covered.

6. Wipe any area with vinegar that does not lend itself to sitting in a bath of vinegar to ensure that everything has been disinfected.

7. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes.

8. Wipe everything down. There shouldn’t be too much scrubbing unless it’s just been a very long time since the humidifier has been cleaned.
  You should find that all the mold and grime is easily removed after having let it sit for 20 minutes.

9.  Rinse everything with very warm water.

10. Let everything completely dry before putting it back together

Humidifiers have actually taken a very positive turn in the world of appliances.

These days humidifiers can be purchased that are very sophisticated and will monitor your humidity levels and alert you when you need to increase or decrease the humidity in your house.

Some even have sensors that will turn the humidifier on and off as needed.

Other advances in humidifiers are geared towards making humidifiers safer so that they do not have as much of a chance of becoming a germ farm.

Though there is yet to be a humidifier built that you could call 100% germ-free, there are technologies that some brands of humidifiers use that come awfully close.

Some of these technologies include:

1.  Ultraviolet light

Ultraviolet light is a technology that has been used to kill germs and bacteria for a very long time.

All types of industries use UV as a method of disinfection. Air purification, aquariums, and barber shop supplies just to name a few.

It only makes sense that ultraviolet light would be incorporated with humidifiers to keep bacteria from being able to grow inside and eventually becoming part of the air you breathe.

2. Antimicrobial plastic

Another really cool technology being incorporated into the construction of humidifiers is antimicrobial plastic.

This is plastic that actually resists the growth of mold and bacteria. Building a humidifier out of materials that resist mold and bacteria is very innovative and exciting and one that you can actually find in some brands of humidifiers right now.

3.  Antibacterial additives

Anti bacterial additives are another great ideal that can help keep your current humidifier cleaner and free of bacteria for longer amounts of time.

Some of the main brands of antibacterial additives is aqua stick.

4. DIY additives

You don’t necessarily have to go purchase a new humidifier or buy commercial additives.

Distilled vinegar can be placed right into your water and help keep your humidifier cleaner for a longer period of time.

Colloidal silver is something that many people have on hand that can be added to humidifier water that will kill bacteria and benefit the person breathing the colloidal silver misted water immensely.

Hydrogen peroxide is another easy additive that will help keep the water and the humidifier disinfected and is also a great additive to reduce germs and bacteria in the air.

Summary:

A musty smelling humidifier is the definition of a moldy humidifier.

If your humidifier smells musty, then you should take it as a red flag to immediately turn it off and to thoroughly clean it with vinegar.

You should not take this lightly because there can be serious consequences to inhaling water that has bacteria growing on it.

Symptoms can resemble pneumonia and can include everything from sneezing and watery eyes to more severe symptoms like fever, achy muscles, and vomiting or diarrhea.

Cleaning your humidifier thoroughly with vinegar will disinfect the humidifier and get you back to enjoying the benefits of the humidifier.

As an added protection, you can purchase additives to place in the water to keep it fresher longer.

You can also purchase humidifiers that use technologies that will help your humidifier stay germ-free longer.