Self Cleaning-Germ Free-Low Maintenance Humidifiers. Really?

Humidifiers are notorious for being high maintenance machines because of the nature of their design and that they require a basin of water to work.

3 different types of Humidifiers that qualify as “self cleaning”: 

1.UV sterilization
2. Germ resistant plastic
3. Germ and Bacteria Resistant Water Additives
4.Vaporizer

 Why does that make Humidifiers high maintenance?

Because of the easy formation and growth of mold that happens inside of a humidifier when it is not maintained properly  And the fact that the mold growth inside of the machine becomes part of the humidity being expelled into the room when the unit is in operation.  Breathing mold spores can trigger asthma and exasperate allergies. That’s not good. 

Humidifier ULTRAVIOLET STERILIZATIONWouldn’t it be great if there was such a thing as a “self cleaning humidifier”?

Technically a vaporizer is a type of Humidifier that is considered a self cleaning humidifier because is boils water as a means of creating steam. The boiling process kills any mold or bacteria in the operation.

But vaporizers are not for everyone and most people considered them to unsafe to keep in the babies room or children regardless.

So where does that leave the idea of a self cleaning humidifier?

There is not yet such a thing as a completely self cleaning humidifier that requires no maintenance.

But there are multiple ways that the issue the mold growth in humidifiers is being addressed,
and different technologies that are being invented and used to make humidifiers safer.

1. Antimicrobial plastic

One of the most exciting innovations in humidifiers is the use of germ and bacteria resistant materials in the construction of the humidifier.

Antimicrobial plastic contains biocide polymers that combat the production of mold and mildew on the surface of the plastic. It has a ton of applications and seems to be perfectly suited for humidifiers.

 Not only can humidifiers be completely built out of antimicrobial plastic, the filter inside of the humidifier can also be coated with the same type of product to keep the filter from becoming a moldy mess too.  Which, as you probably have already realized, is an amazing leap for appliances like humidifiers and dehumidifiers, as well as air conditioners and water-based air purifiers. 

Since the one thing all of these appliances have in common is that they are subject to mold and bacteria growth,

If the materials that the humidifier is constructed of are resistant to mold growth, and the filters within them are also resistant to mold, then the search for a self cleaning humidifier is nearly half over.

Nearly half?

 Yes, nearly half. The reason is, that humidifiers not only grow mold on the plastic and construction itself, they also have a tendency to get mold on the surface of the water inside of the basin when it is not changed often. 

And keep in mind, the whole point of the humidifier is to use the water in the basin to emit into the air to increase the humidity in a room.

If the water in the humidifier basin has mold and mildew when the machine is running, then the humidity droplets in your air will also be full of mold spores and bacteria.

Keeping mold and mildew from growing on the surface of the humidifier, regardless of it being inside or out, is a mind-blowing advancement in humidifier innovations, but it is yet only half the battle.

Keeping mold and germs from growing in stagnant water  is the other side of the equation that would make a humidifier actually “self cleaning”.

2.  Ultraviolet sterilization

Fortunately there is already people who are making products to remedy the situation of mold growing on the surface of the water inside of a humidifier.

UV lamps are used in multiple industries to help reduce the spread of mold, bacteria, and viruses.

You have probably seen aquariums with a blue light inside of them. The blue light is a ultraviolet lamp that is targeted on the inside of the aquarium to help reduce the amount of algae and mildew that tends to take over an aquarium pretty fast.

Another place might have seen this same procedure in action is in a barber shop. Barber shops oftentimes have a cylinder that they put their Combs and scissors in that employees a UV lamp to clean and disinfect their utensils while they are not in use.

This is exactly the same way that ultraviolet light can be used in a humidifier.

Positioning a ultraviolet light inside of a humidifier to continuously Target the water inside of the basin is a proven method of reducing the amount of contaminants that may be emitted into your airstream in the humidifying process.

 Combining ultraviolet light in a humidifier that is constructed out of antimicrobial plastic seems to cover all the bases in the search for a self cleaning humidifier. 

self cleaning humidification3. Germ and Bacteria Resistant Water Additives

Another technology that is used to combat the production of mold in the water of a humidifier is anti mold and germ pods that you purchase to place inside of the basin with the water.

This is more of a back road country recipe that has become more mainstream.

The ideal is to put an additive in the water that keeps mold from taking hold.
Colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic that also has antimicrobial properties.

Although you can purchase colloidal silver and just add it to the water in your humidifier, you can also purchase pods and sticks that contains silver in them that will do the same thing as adding colloidal silver.

 “There is a problem with these additives though, they are only useful in ultrasonic humidifiers. 

Another do-it-yourself home recipe for keeping the water in your humidifier fresher longer is to add a little bit of vinegar to the water in your humidifier.

Vinegar is actually one of the best all natural mold cleaners there is. Even edging out bleach because of its ability to get down under the surface better.

Some people even advocate breathing vinegar steam to get rid of chest and head congestion. But if that is something you want to try, you should do your own research and probably stick with apple cider vinegar which is loaded with enzymes and vitamins.

Recap

There is no humidifier that it is 100% self cleaning. But there are newer technologies available that make it nearly a reality.

Technologies like antimicrobial plastic that resists mold growth can be used in the construction of the humidifier making the materials the humidifier is made out of already mold resisting.

The filters inside of humidifiers can be coded with the same type of polymers that are contained in the antimicrobial plastic, which we’ll also help the filter for becoming a mold farm.

As for the water in the basin, there is a couple of technologies that can help keep the water fresher, longer.

One one is the use of ultraviolet light targeting the surface of the water so that mold and algae cannot take root.

Another is to add anti mold pods that contains silver. Silver is a natural antimicrobial that can help the water in the basin of your ultrasonic humidifier stay safer.

After all the point is to add clean humidity to your air so that you can breathe better.
Adding humidity that is laced with mold and germs is a quick way to trigger allergies and asthma.4

9 Self Cleaning Humidifiers and or Options

  1. Aqua stick
  2. Safety First A clean humidifier
  3. Pure guardian h5450bca
  4. Dyson am-10
  5. Pure Enrichment Mistaire Eva
  6. Air innovations
  7. Winix humidifier
  8. Crane
  9. Boneco

Many of the reviews of so-called germ-free humidifiers are negative because people seem to have the expectation that there is no cleaning involved whatsoever. Unfortunately that’s just not the case.

For instance, The main issue with using UV in a humidifier is that the UV light has to be targeted directly on the bacteria or mold to be effective at destroying the germs.

So even though incorporating a UVlamp inside of a humidifier will definitely help cut down on mold and bacteria,

You shouldn’t expect every square inch of the humidifier to be in the direct target of the UV.

Some, like the Dyson a.m. do a much better job then others,

But the idea that you do not have to clean the humidifier ever because it has a UV lamp is not realistic.

The same thing goes for humidifiers that have the antimicrobial silver induced plastic. Do they help reduce germs in the water tank of a humidifier? Yes, no doubt.

But does that mean that there is no cleaning to be done? Not at all. There has yet to be invented an additive but you can place it in a humidifier that will completely kill 100% of all bacteria and mold.

Self-cleaning humidifiers are better called low maintenance humidifiers because they incorporate methods to help curb bacterial growth and reduce the amount of cleaning.

Some are better than others.

But there is no such thing as a humidifier that is completely germ-free. 

Aquastick

Aqua stick is an additive that you place inside of your humidifier similar in looks to a cleaning stick that you place in the back of your toilet.

They are an inexpensive way to help keep mold and bacteria from growing inside of your humidifier. They can be used for up to two to three months without having to be replaced.

They also have a reputation of being able to use tap water. Which carries with it a huge advantage.

Many of the humidifiers that we review that are designed to be antimicrobial for less cleaning use silver induced materials in their construction.

Aqua stick is a way of using silver in your humidifier tank without having to pay for a humidifier that is made from antimicrobial silver induced plastic.

This product is made by guardian technologies who also build antimicrobial humidifiers.

Remarks:

 One of the easiest ways to keep bacteria and germs from growing in your humidifier. And they work with any humidifier regardless of the brand. 

Safety 1st Stay Clean humidifier

The entire marketing of this humidifier is based on the fact that it is supposed to be self cleaning. But to be fair, the literature says there is “less cleaning”.

Unfortunately the reviews on Amazon are pretty heavily slanted to the opposite. Lots of complaints of pink residue in the bottom of the humidifier.

The fact that the Blue lamp in this humidifier is an LED light and not an ultraviolet light is probably the reason people are not seeing the results they expected.

As a basic humidifier it does not require a filter which is a plus but it does not have any of the regular features like humidistat, or aromatherapy tray.

Dimensions 10.75 * 8.9 * 8.9 in
Weight 3 lb
Square footage: unlisted
Tank size: unlisted

Features:

  • Antimicrobial LED light

Pure Guardian H5450BCA

This humidifier has different methods to help to keep bacteria and mold from growing inside of a humidifier.

The first is a non ozone UV-C light. The second is that it has silver embedded into the housing.
The third is the fact that it works as a warm mist humidifier as well. Which means that the water in the humidifier must be risen to a boiling temperature which will destroy bacteria.

Ultraviolet light is a proven method of destroying germs and bacteria when it is targeted directly upon them.

Silver is an all natural antibiotic that has a purifying effect on water.

This humidifier doesn’t make any claims suggesting that it is 100% germ-free or self-cleaning, only that it has incorporated a couple of methods that work to help reduce germs and cleaning.

And this pure guardian humidifier has a lot of features that make it an excellent humidifier regardless.

Features:

Remarks

 The real deal. Pure Guardian not only employs the UV lamp to target bacteria and germs inside of the tank, the tank itself is embedded with silver, an all natural antibiotic known to reduce bacteria. 

Dyson am-10 humidifier

This is a humidifier and fan all-in-one.

Dyson am-10 uses a UV lamp that exposes every drop of water to the ultraviolet light.

And claims to kill 99.99% of bacteria inside of a tank.

It is an intelligent appliance that measures the temperature and moisture of the air to control to keep the ideal climate continuously in your room.

It is a 3 l tank and works up to 12 hours before having to have a refill.

Manufacturer: Dyson
Dimensions: 8.7 by 9.4 by 22.8 in
Weight: 7.5 lb
Tank size: 3 l
Square footage: not listed
Type: ultrasonic

Features:

  • UVC lamp
  • Fan
  • Humidistat Auto shut-off

Remarks:

This is a Dyson product so the price is significantly higher than most.

They do have a reputation of being very effective and the fact that it is a powerful fan as well as a germ-free humidifier makes it very interesting.

This air purifier doesn’t feature a way to diffuse essential oils.

The reviews are a mixed bag. Some people love this humidifier, other people hate it.

Pure Enrichment Mistaire Eva

This is a low maintenance humidifier that incorporates an antimicrobial filter.

It doesn’t make any huge claims of killing 99% of bacteria or even reducing it.

Only that it helps fight allergies by trapping and killing airborne allergens in the filter.

It does claim to dramatically reduce the amount of white dust you typically find around ultrasonic humidifiers though.

The humidifier uses a technology called whirlwind fan that captures cools and humidifies the air up to 500 square feet.

It offers for fan speeds and an auto off timer. It also offers turbo speed.

It also serves as a night light that can be changed to 7 different colors.

One feature missing is the aromatherapy option.

Item model number: PHHUMEVA
Dimensions: 9.5 by 9.5 x 13.5 in
Weight: 5.49 lb
Square footage: 500 square feet
Tank size: 2.8 l
Warranty: 5 years

Features:

  • 500 square feet
  • Antimicrobial filter
  • 25 hour runtime
  • Multiple settings including turbo mode
  • 7 color night lights

Remarks:
It has an amazing new technology that helps it cover large areas. But they don’t tell say what it is or how it works. A little fishy. 

Air innovations

Air innovations feature one of the most stylish humidifiers available.
But style is not the only thing it features.

This humidifier can run 96 hours and humidify a room up to 600 square feet without refilling.

It also includes a remote and a digital display hygrometer / humidistat.

The reason it is featured as a low maintenance, germ-free humidifier is that it is made from antimicrobial plastic. Which resists the growth of mold and bacteria in the tank.

Manufacturer: great innovations
Dimensions 8 by 8 by 18.5 in
Weight: 3.83 lb
Square footage covered: 600 square feet
Run time without refilling: 96 hours

Features:

  • Adjustable humidistat that adjust according to the relative humidity in the room
  • Remote
  • Auto shut off and beat notification when it runs out of water
  • 15 inch extension nozzle
  • Aromatherapy option
  • Antimicrobial plastic construction

Remarks:

 Easily one of the all around best humidifiers available. The humidifier features just about everything you can possibly want out of a humidifier and looks great doing it. 

Winix Ultrasonic humidifier with LightCel UV


Winix is known for their air purifiers that feature Plasmawave technology.

With this humidifier they have dove into the humidification world with a humidifier that has a UV +LED Light that targets bacteria and germs before they can become an issue and your humidifier.

It includes demineralization capsules that will help reduce the amount of cleaning also.

This humidifier holds two gallons of water and it will run for 120 hours without having to refill it.

And it can also be used as either a cool mist or a warm mist humidifier.

Manufacturer: Winix
Dimensions 8.5 x 10.6 by 14.6 in
Weight: 5.9 lbs
Tank size: 2 gallons
Maximum noise level: 30db

Features:

  • UV + LED antibacterial light
  • 120 hours between refills
  • 2 gallon tank
  • Programmable timer
  • Auto shutoff
  • Very quiet at 30 fb
  • Warm mist and cool mist
  • Demineralization capsules included

Remarks:

 Winix have successfully managed to carve out a space for ionic technology in the air purification world that is dominated by HEPA filters.  And it looks like they have managed to design an excellent humidifier that helps control bacteria as well as keeps the humidifier cleaner longer as well. 

Crane humidifier with UV

This is a humidifier that features all the bells and whistles but with a twist, it contains a UV lamp to kill bacteria and germs in the water tank before they become a cleaning issue and a breathing issue.

Variable speed settings and an adjustable 360 degree Mist lid make it excellent for using in a large area. It can humidify rooms up to 500 square feet and run for 24 hours without having to refill.

But it does not contain an aromatherapy option.

Manufacturer: Crane
Dimensions: 14 by 10 by 16 in
Weight: 7.26 lb
Square footage covered: 500
Tank size: 1.2 gallons
Run time: 24 hours between refills

Features:

  • ultraviolet ionizing light
  • 500 square feet
  • Adjustable sit and leave humidistat
  • Easy to clean

Remarks

This crane humidifier does not feature an aromatherapy essential oils option.
But it does say that it creates a refreshing smelling mist.

Ionizing air purifier manufacturers often spin the smell of ozone coming from their units as an “after a thunderstorm fresh smell”.

This humidifier doesn’t make any claims of ozone production but it is interesting that they use the same language and that they have an ultraviolet ionizing lamp included.

The reviews are hit-and-miss with a lot of people saying that the humidistat failed fairly soon after their purchase.

Boneco s450

 

There is a way to bypass all the issues of adding a ultraviolet lamp to a humidifier or putting additives in the tank or purchasing a humidifier that’s made out of antimicrobial plastic,

And that is to purchase a warm mist humidifier that boils the water before it is emitted into the air as steam.

Warm mist humidifiers or vaporizers are not for everyone because steam will  raise the temperature in a room.

But as far as warm mist humidifiers go, Boneco has a humidifier that is next level.

It can humidify an area as large as 860 square feet. And it is very quiet coming in at 37 db on the high side.

Manufacturer: Boneco
Country: Switzerland
Dimensions:  13.2 by 9.5 by 14 in
Tank size: 2 gallons
Weight: 10.1 inches
Wattage: 480

Features:

  • 860 square feet coverage
  • Humidity display
  • Humidistat
  • Mist output control
  • Safety Auto shut-off
  • Programmable timer
  • Essential oil options

Remarks

This is a warm mist humidifier that has all the bells and whistles you typically find with the big brands like Levoit
Warm mist vaporizers or an easy way to get a bacteria free experience from a humidifier.

But they do use steam to humidify, which can make a room feel swampy.
This is a real nice humidifier but personally I would pick a humidifier that has a cool mist option as well as a warm mist often.

60 Percent Humidity in the House? 70? 80?

Humidity has a big effect on your health and property, and the truth is, it is much more serious than you probably ever gave it credit for.

Both high and low humidity comes with its own problems and symptoms.

This article is about many of the symptoms and problems that you can expect with high humidity. And some solutions too.

40 to 60% relative humidity is the optimal range to protect your home and family from the spread of germs and avoid damage to your personal property.

A direct statement by ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
says “health effects caused by road of humidity would be minimized by maintaining indoor levels between 40 and 60%”

60 percent humidity in house

 

At 60%, the humidity in the house is nearing the outside of the range of what is considered comfortable and safe humidity inside of the home.

At 60% RH, you have already begun to enter into an area of relative humidity that can provide enough moisture in the air for mold to take root.

As that number increases, the likelihood of mold being found somewhere in your home increases.

70% humidity is the ideal moisture level that you will find mold growing.
And with mold comes mold spores. A significant household allergen.

70 humidity in house

 

At 70%, you are already noticing the telltale signs all around you.

The AC will begin to feel like it’s not running at all and condensation will be nearly pouring from it.

You will undoubtedly feel very clammy and will have no chance of dealing with your frizzy hair.

You might also find yourself sneezing and rubbing your itchy eyes.

Why is that?

It’s because dust mites thrive in temperatures that hover around the 70 to 80° range with a relative humidity of 70 to 80%.

80 humidity in house

At 80% humidity, you may start wheezing because of the amount of dust mites and mold spores in the air.

And the risk of dehydration will become a real threat because your body will not be able to produce sweat nearly as easily at that level.

Your performance will be off and you will find that you’re not able to do as much without getting tired.

Humidity sustained at that level will begin to rot the wood around your home including window sills and floorboards.

And any musical instruments you have around the house will have probably gone way out of tune by now. And the risk of them bowing to a point that they may never play well again is serious.
violin i

Uhh!!

As you can tell, a sustained high level of humidity is not good for your health or your home. If any of this describes your situation then you should be taking steps to remedy the situation.

Determining the Origin of the Humidity

 

Climate

Of course there’s not too much you can do about the weather. And if the outside humidity is shooting up then you’re inside humidity is going to shoot up with it.

Solutions

Air Conditioning

Refrigerated air conditioners, either the type you have built into your house via the HVAC

or window air conditioners which would include portable air conditioners that vent out of the window,

will reduce the humidity inside of the house.

This type of air conditioner pulls humidity out of the air, reduces it to condensation, and either drips or funnels it outside.

And most refrigerated ACs you find these days have a dehumidifier setting that will reduce the humidity in the room without having to have the cool function running.

The dehumidifier setting on an AC is usually called “dry mode”. It’s symbolized by a water drop, if your unit has symbols instead of words.

Dehumidifier

The dehumidifier is a device that is similar to a refrigerator air conditioner except that it doesn’t have any type of cool setting.

It’s only function is to reduce the humidity.

Humidifiers exhaust heat similar to the way a window air conditioner does.

If you have ever walked behind a window air conditioner then you probably remember feeling heat coming off of the unit.

  But the heat that is exhausted on a dehumidifier is expelled inside of the room.

A factor you’ll want to consider when you’re thinking about operating a dehumidifier.

Depending on the reason for the humidity, the heat exhausting from the machine it’s not exactly a welcomed feature if the temperature is already hot outside.

70 humidity in house

When is the AC not useful in humidity?

Even though refrigerator air conditioning is the easiest and most effective way to bring them the humidity level indoors, there are times when air conditioning will do the opposite.

AC humidity problems

1.  Running the AC with “fan on” setting engaged.

There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to running the air conditioner with the “fan on” setting engaged versus the “auto on” setting engaged.

The “fan on” setting well actually makes your home feel more humid.

The reason is, one of the primary ways that an air conditioner cools down a room is by extracting the humidity and turning it into condensation.

But when the “fan on” setting is engaged, the humid air that is being pulled into the air conditioner does not have a chance to stay in front of the condenser coils of the AC long enough to turn into condensation.

So the result is humid air being pulled into your air conditioner and redistributed throughout the house without the humidity being extracted.

2.  Too Large of an Air Conditioner

Another problem that can occur with air conditioning and humidity is that you have too large of an AC unit.

The result of running an AC unit that is too large for a home is a phenomenon called “short cycling”.

Which means that your air conditioner turns on and off more frequently.

This affects the way a air conditioner extracts humidity because the air conditioner is continually turning on and off,

and not giving the condenser coils enough time to turn the humidity into condensation and funneled out of the house.

humidity in house3.  Evaporative cooling

 

Evaporative coolers are essentially a large fan blowing over water as a means of cooling the air off.

Evaporative coolers are also known as swamp coolers because they can make a room feel swampy.

Number one, if you were trying to use a evaporative cooler when the humidity is high, you will not be able to feel anything much more than a fan coming from the unit at that point.

Number two, you are only adding more humidity to an already elevated moisture level.

And for some people this may be the reason your home feels humid in the first place.

Any devices or machines like evaporative coolers or humidifiers that disburse water droplets into the air, should not be operated when the humidity level is high in the house.

Humidifiers are for dry air only.

Leaking pipes

If you have above average humidity in your home but the climate outside is not especially humid, then you have another problem altogether.

Basements are usually known to be extra humid because of being located beneath the ground.

The moisture in the ground can find itself inside of your home.

  Dehumidifiers can be outfitted with pumps and drainage hoses to reduce the humidity inside of a basement.

  Leaking water pipes are also found in the basement quite often and can cause the humidity level to soar.

Telltale sons of leaking pipes inside of your home usually appear as drywall that is bowing or that feels damp to the touch.

Discoloration of the walls usually indicates a leak of some sort also.

Leaks in the ceiling are usually very easy to locate and are very noticeable because they appear as some liquid that has been spilled on the ceiling.

If the high humidity inside of the home is due to leaking pipes, then as you probably guessed, you’re going to need a plumber.

Symptoms of High Humidity in Your Home (A Long Frizzy List)

If there is one thing that I have learned this past summer season is that a little humidity goes a long way.

This has been, no doubt, one of the rainiest spring and summer seasons I have ever lived through.

The heat has been through the roof and the air conditioners don’t even feel like they’re on half the time.

  I guess we all know how miserable, excessive humidity can feel going through our regular work and school days.

And just about everybody has had an experience with their hair looking terrible because of the humidity outside,

But comfortability and great hair could be the least of your worries when the humidity has risen sky high in your home.

Symptoms of high humidity in your home

If you tell tale signs that the humidity inside of your house is too high.

symptom of high humidity in your home1. Condensation on the windows

Everybody knows what it looks like in the bathroom when they get out of a hot steamy shower.

The mirror gets completely fogged over in the windows get a layer of condensation on them.

That’s par for the course and completely understandable in the bathroom.

But if you have condensation on the windows in other parts of the house, that’s not normal.

That is definitely a symptom of high irregular moisture in the air.

2. Allergies and breathing issues

Air that is heavy with humidity can be harder to breathe. Especially if you’re coming from an area that is dry and traveling to an area that is extra humid like the tropics.

  But adapting to breathing extra wet air is not the only thing that makes humidity tough on your respiratory system.

Humidity just happens to be one of the main ways that dust mites get their nourishment.

Heavy humidity can cause an explosion of dust mites. Which are a common household allergen that can cause you to have multiple symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, and coughing.

Another allergen known to be spurred on by higher humidity is mold. More specifically the mold spores that are released from the mold and travel through the air looking for the next place to take root.

Allergies and breathing problems while in the house can definitely be a symptom of high humidity.

3.  Visible mold growing on the wall

If you have mold on the wall, there is no doubt that you have an issue with high humidity in the area of said mold.

Humidity is not only caused by climate, you can just as easily because of a leaking pipe.

Mold only needs a simple recipe of dampness, darkness, and something to feed on.

That’s why you find mold growing in places like under the kitchen and bathroom sinks so often.

If you find mold growing on the walls, you will also find a source of moisture fairly close by. Guaranteed.

4.  Wet drywall

If a room is exposed to heavy humidity for too long, the drywall can begin to absorb moisture out of the air.

The result can be areas in the drywall that are damp to the touch or slightly bowing.

Damp drywall can also be a symptom of humidity inside of the walls caused by a leaking pipe inside and near the damp part of the drywall.

Discoloration of the drywall is also a telltale sign that you have excessive humidity somewhere in the area.

If you have a dark discoloration in the drywall, you can be fairly sure that you have a leaky pipe in that area.

You probably noticed the leak like this in the ceiling before.

5. The smell of mildew

Mold and mildew have a specific smell that is hard to miss.

Even when you don’t see any signs of mold growing on the walls or find any areas of dampness,

The smell of mildew is a surefire indication that there is mold growing somewhere.

Your nose always knows so follow your nose.

Excessive humidity in your house can cause mildew to grow in any dark corner it can find.

Which means it will not be obvious to your eyes. So trust your nose, if you smell mildew, you are smelling a symptom of high humidity.

6. Air conditioner doesn’t feel like it’s running

High humidity can make the air conditioner feel like it’s doing very little or nothing at All.

If you got the air conditioner on and you know the filters are clean and there’s nothing going on with the thermostat,

There’s a good chance that the humidity level is just at a point that it’s causing the AC to feel pointless.

An Air conditioner not feeling cold can definitely be a symptom of high humidity and excessive moisture in the air.

7.  Excessive condensation coming from your air conditioner

If you are running a window air conditioner or using the air conditioner in your HVAC system and you notice a lot of condensation building up and dripping out of your unit,

You can bet that the humidity is high.

That is because these units convert the humidity in the air to condensation and funnel it outside.

Another way the air conditioner can provide you with a symptom of high humidity.

8.  AC is set to “Fan on” instead of “Auto”

If your air conditioner is set to the fan on position, the humidity that is typically funneled out of the air conditioner doesn’t have enough time to evaporate and is blown back into the house through the vents.

This can also happen when your air conditioner unit is too big for your house.

If your unit is too big then it can cause rapid cycling which will also not give the humidity enough time to evaporate before it’s blown back into the house.

Improper settings and unit size of an air conditioner can cause and be a symptom of high humidity in the home.

Summary

Symptoms of high humidity in the home come in the form of condensation on the windows and mold growing on the walls.

Other symptoms that suggest does the humidity is too high inside of the home is an air conditioner but just doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything

or having a hard time breathing because of the amount of dust mites and mold spores traveling through the air because of the high level of moisture feeding them.

And if you are smelling the musty smell of mildew, you can bet there is mold growing somewhere around you.

Another symptom that you have high humidity in your home.

What to do?

Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is a device that pulls humidity out of the air. Dehumidifiers come in all sizes and range from simple ” dump the water out yourself models” to modern Wi-Fi units that include humidistats with a pump and a hose attachment that make it super convenient to use.

Dry mode on the AC

There’s a good chance that the settings on your air conditioner include “dry mode”.

“Dry mode” is the dehumidifying function of a refrigerated air conditioning unit.

The AC itself

Though the humidity can get to a point that it makes the cool function of an air conditioner seem like it’s not doing anything,
Running the air conditioner, provided we are talking about a refrigerated AC, will still reduce the humidity inside of your home.
And many times, it’s not the temperature that’s making your home uncomfortable, just the humidity itself.

Can a Humidifier Make you Sick? (A Better Question is When?)

Is there any truth to the idea that using a humidifier can make you sick? Why exactly do you think that could be?

Think about it…

The humidifier falls into a category of appliances and machines that use water and have a basin to fill with water.

Other machines like evaporative coolers,  air washers, and dehumidifiers all fall in the same category.

The one thing that each of these devices or machines have in common is the chance of getting contaminated when not maintained adequately.

More to the point, the water in them has a chance of getting contaminated when it is left standing.

Bacteria and mold can begin to take root and get a foothold in as little as 48 hours in standing water.

Can a humidifier make you sick?

humidifier mold sickness



A humidifier can make you sick when it is not maintained correctly.

A dirty humidifier with contaminated water can become a literal germ distributor when it is operated.

Diseases like Legionnaires are directly connected to breathing in the mist from bacteria contaminated water.

Pontiac Fever is a lesser version of the disease that occurs the exact same way.

Most people agree that a humidifier is not as likely to get bad enough to spread Legionnaires disease.

But it is a strong enough threat that the Israeli Ministry of Health issued a warning about the incorrect use of domestic humidifiers and their connection to Legionnaires.

The bottom line is that humidifiers
must be emptied once a day and cleaned thoroughly once a week.

And that yes, there is a chance of a humidifier making you sick if it is not cared for adequately.

And if you already have a predisposition to mold allergies, the chance of getting sick from an unmaintained humidifier can be that much worse.

So if you are in the market for a humidifier, it would be well worth it to search for one that is easy to clean and is dishwasher safe.

Many brands of humidifiers are starting to use features like ultraviolet light and carry additives that help keep mold and bacteria from growing or at least nearly as fast.

Over Humidifying

Another way that humidifiers can affect your health adversely is using one when the humidity is already high.

Air that is thick with heavy humidity can be harder to breathe.

And it’s very hard to breathe if you already suffer from a condition like asthma.

High humidity also promotes dust mite and mold growth.

Both of which fall into a category of airborne allergens that can cause symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, coughing, and fatigue.

Mold can also take root in your house, hiding in dark spaces where it can grow out of control and cause a great deal of damage in a very short time.

Maintaining a relative humidity between 40 and 60 percent is the key. And if the humidity is already above that range,

Running a humidifier will only make it more humid and exasperate the problem.

A dehumidifier or simply running the central heat and air would be a better solution to help reduce the humidity and thin the air.

Humidifier Pros Though Bro

healthy relative humidity

But with all the talk of how a humidifier can be dangerous when not properly kept,

It makes you forget how beneficial a humidifier actually is, when it is properly used and maintained.

And how important maintaining the proper relative humidity is to your health.

Humidity is a subject that most people don’t consider to be related to anything other than a bad hair day or a muggy uncomfortable afternoon.

But humidity has much more to do with staying healthy then you may have thought.

Like I previously mentioned, keeping the relative humidity at the optimal point is the key.

An actual quote in the National Library of Medicine states “the majority of adverse health effects caused by relative humidity would be minimized by maintaining indoor levels between 40 and 60%.

That’s a pretty big statement.

Another study concluded that “rodents and environments with 10 to 20% relative humidity succumb to influenza virus infection or rapidly than those housed in 50% relative humidity”

This leads to the conclusion that relative humidity is much more important to maintaining your health than previously thought.

Wouldn’t you say?

Benefits of Optimal Humidity

Some of the benefits of using a humidifier when the air is too dry include:

  • Reducing flu and viral transmission

Studies show that a proper relative humidity keeps viral droplets from being able to travel as far during cold and flu season.

  • Repairing Dry skin

Dehydrated skin equals dry skin.  When there is not enough mouth in the air , the air itself becomes an absorber, pulling the moisture out of your skin.

Dry skin is also at the heart of acne. A lack of moisture in the air also exacerbates psoriasis.

Increasing the moisture in the air with a humidifier can help improve and heal dry, damaged skin.

  • Managing Dust

Dust is made up of a huge list everything you can think of including dead skin and the exoskeletons of insects. As well as pollen and mold spores.

Running a humidifier helps add weight to the dust particles floating through the air. This keeps dust from being able to enter your airways and cause any number of allergic symptoms.

And for asthma sufferers, it can be the difference in breathing or not and triggering an attack.

Recap

There is no question that a moldy humidifier can make you sick.

There are conditions including Legionnaires and Pontiac Fever that are  caught by breathing in humidity droplets that are tainted with mold.

It is obviously very important to keep your humidifier clean as well as any other devices or machines that you have in your home that require adding or emptying water like in the case of a dehumidifier.

But don’t let the maintenance involved in using a humidifier keep you from doing so.

The benefits of keeping the relative humidity between 40 and 60 percent are as important to your health as eating, drinking, and sleeping well and enough.

Your skincare is absolutely dependent and maintaining the proper humidity as well. This includes treating Acne and helping to relieve psoriasis.

12 Types of Machines That Clean the Air

Finding the right air cleaning machine can be tricky. There are so many types of air cleaning methods and not all are suited for your immediate needs. Getting to know a few and what they do is a great place to start.

So let’s give it a go…

Machines that Cleans the Air- 12 Types

1. HEPA air purifier

HEPA filtration is the most widely used type of machine for air cleaning.

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Absorber) filters are engineered to capture particles as small as .03 microns. And collect

Which works very well for large particular looks like dander and pollen, as well as dust mites.

HEPA filters are a very dense media made up of random fiberglass fibers.

Interestingly, there are so many knock offs filters that do not meet regulations that HEPA is known as True HEPA now to help consumers find the real thing.

HEPA filter air cleaners are primarily single room purifiers that work better for smaller areas.

Levoit Core is our pick for Best Hepa air purifier- See it Here

 

2. Negative ion Generator

negative ion generator is a machine that cleans the air by electronically charging particles and emitting them into the air.

This works because when the negatively charged ions from the machine are dispersed into the air, they instantly latch onto the positively charged ions already in the air,  trapping any pollutants in the way into the newly formed bond.

Once these newly formed bonds accumulate, they clump together and fall out of the air.

Negative ion generators also work best in a small area.

3. Ozone Generator

Ozone generators are machines that intentionally create Ozone gas to clean air.
They can effectively remove long-standing odors and kill any bacteria or viral contamination in an area.

Ozone or activated oxygen as it’s also  sometimes called is an oxygen molecule (O2) that contains a third atom. (O3)

Ozone (O3) is very unstable.  So much so that when it comes into contact with any airborne contaminant, it destroys it through oxidation.

Ozone is a very potent air cleaner and is never used in an area occupied by people, or animals.

The reason being is that ozone gas will oxidize your lung tissue if it is breathed too heavily.

It is important to follow the guidelines when dealing with ozone.

Ficus Benjamina - weeping fig4. Humidifier

A Humidifier is a device that does not normally come to mind when you’re talking about a machine that cleans air but you might be surprised.

A humidifier is simply a device that adds moisture to the air.

But when the air is dry, dust is easily kicked up into the air stream. Leaving you wide open for an allergy attack.

A humidifier can help control dust by adding moisture to the air so that dust particles get wet and bind together.

Making the dust particles adhere to surfaces rather than float in your breathing space.

Air Innovations are the Mother of All Humidifiers- See Them Here

5. Bi polar ionization

Bi polar ionization is a type of machine that emits anions and cations simultaneously.

This dispersion of both positive and negative ions have an immediate purifying effect on the air quality of a room.

Air pollutants like cigar smoke can be instantly removed.

Bi polar ionization also has a dramatic effect on bacteria and viruses.

By surrounding the pathogens with negative and positive ions , the cells become damaged and rendered inactive. 

Winix Uses Plasmawave Bi-Polar in Their Units- Check Them Out Here

6. Dehumidifier

dehumidifier reduces the humidity in a room by turning it into condensate and capturing it in a localized container.

What does that have to do with air cleaning?

High levels of moisture in the air creates droplets that act like traveling containers for air pollutants like mold spores and bacteria.

Humidity is also a major food source for dust mites.

By reducing the humidity in your home or office, you are effectively reducing dust mites and mold spore populations in the air.

7. Air Washer/Water Air Purifier

 

An air washer is a machine that cleans the air by filtering it through water.

The air is pulled in and literally thrown against a series of vats that wash the air before it is released through the other side.

The machine also doubles as a humidifier.

The plus of this type of air cleaning machine is that it never requires any replacement filters and it also moisturizes the air.

The minus is that it is not useful in the humid months.

Air washers also come in compact devices called Revitalizers.

Revitalizers throw aromatherapy into the mix. The machine comes with its own brand of essential oils to use in it.

8. Activated Carbon

Activated Carbon is an age-old method of reducing pungent odors.

Activated Carbon is like a naturally occurring sponge that instead of absorbing water, adsorbs fumes and gases.

It is particularly good at reducing offending smells. Which makes it great for areas like crafting rooms and kitchens.

Types of carbon include charcoal and coconut husk.

The most popular being charcoal.

Activated Carbon is also sold by weight.

Most Hepa Air Purifiers Combine a Carbon Filter as a Set-

Blueair top the list of Best Air Purifiers With A Carbon Filter- See One Here

9. Ultraviolet Irradiation

Ultraviolet light has the ability to destroy any type of pathogen that it is targeted on.

The optimal word being “targeted”.

UV as an air cleaner means targeting the ultraviolet light on a source of air pollution.

One source of air pollution that can be targeted by a UV lamp is the condensation runoff and drip pans inside of a central heat and air handler (HVAC).

Because of the environment of moisture and the absence of light inside a HVAC unit, mold can become an issue that becomes distributed throughout your home whenever your heat or air comes on

By placing UV Germicidal lamps at the source of the mold, you can reduce it before it ever becomes an air quality problem.

10. Photo catalytic oxidation

Photo catalytic oxidation or PCO is another way UV can be utilized as a machine to clean the air.

PCO targets Ultraviolet light onto a titanium oxide catalyst in a hydrated cell.

This process creates a mass blanket of hydroxyls and hydroperoxide ions.

This air cleaning method is essentially like pouring hydrogen peroxide solution, the same stuff used to disinfect a wound, on every airborne germ floating through the air.

See: Air Oasis for the Best PCO air purifiers

11. Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is another type of machine that you may not automatically equate with air purification.

But if you have an air conditioner that has a button on it to enable something called dry mode, then your air conditioner is outfitted with a dehumidifier.

Dehumidification is a type of air purifier because it removes the moisture from the air that is a primary source of food for dust mites in the high humidity season.

It also reduces the humidity that nourishes mold, which in turn releases mold spores into the air.

Even if your air conditioner does not have a dry mode setting, refrigerated air dehumidifies as it cools the air as part of its primary function.

That’s why you have condensation that drips out of your air conditioner.

Central heating and air is another way that air conditioning reduces pollutants in the air.

The air filter that you replace in your HVAC system is not only there to protect your system from getting dirty, it is also there to reduce the pollutants in the air that are circulated through your house every time the air conditioning unit kicks on.

12.Essential oil diffusers

Diffusers can be a great machine for helping clean the ambient air.

Not only do they function as a humidifier to a certain extent, they also disperse whatever essential oil you add to them.

There are many essential oils that have medicinal qualities that help remove airborne pollutants like mold.

Tea tree oil for example is known for its antimicrobial properties.

Likewise Eucalyptus and Lavender, which are both very popular aromatherapy oil additives, are both known to have antifungal properties.

A warning though, essential oils like eucalyptus and tea tree oil can be very potent and even dangerous to animals, especially dogs.

Some air cleaners are made to reduce dust while others are intended to destroy germs and viruses.

Knowing what types of machines that clean air and what they do is a great place to start when searching for an air cleaner.

Why Is There Mold On The Styrofoam In The Air Conditioner?

Mold growth typically happens where there is a lot of moisture and nutrients to feed it. Most mold strains are common to leaves and grass and more specifically the soil that is feeding the grass.

So how does mold get on the Styrofoam in the air conditioner?

1. The Styrofoam is dirty.
2. There is standing water inside the air conditioner.

Styrofoam is one of the most unlikely places for mold to grow. The reason is it has absolutely no ability to absorb moisture and it has zero nutrients.

But given the right circumstances even Styrofoam can have mold growing on it.

WHY IS THERE MOLD ON THE STYROFOAM IN THE AIR CONDITIONER

 

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1.It is dirty.

If there is mold growing on the Styrofoam inside of your window air conditioner, it is most likely because the Styrofoam is dirty and there is either rain or humidity droplets supplying moisture to it. All inside a dark humid space.

The outside of the window air conditioner is in fact outside in the elements.

Overtime dirt is going to get into the machine and get on the Styrofoam.
Combine the nutrients of the dirt with the humidity and darkness inside of the housing of the air conditioner and you have the ingredients of mold production.

2.  There is standing water inside of the air conditioner.

Most all household molds have one thing in common, they all thrive in standing contaminated water.

Condensation from the cooling coils inside of the air conditioner is meant to drip freely to the outside of the machine so as the inside of the machine stays dry.

If the inside of the machine is unnaturally filled with debris, the drip hole could be clogged to the point where there is standing water inside of the air conditioner.

This could explain why there is a continuing water supply for the Styrofoam.
Again creating the essentials for mold production which are nutrients, moisture and darkness.

Something to remember here is that black mold requires a constant supply of moisture over an extended period of time.

Standing water or drenched leaves inside of an air conditioner qualify for the requirements of black mold to grow.

If there is black mold on your Styrofoam then take the necessary precautions to clean it because certain molds that are black in color can be Stachybotry, the infamous mold that is toxic to breathe.

Don’t panic, just remember to wear gloves and a face mask. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials to show you how to do this without it being dangerous.

Another reason why there may be standing water is that the air conditioner is not level and condensation water is able to gather to the lower side of the unleveled unit.

 

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Where is the air conditioner located?

If the inside of the air conditioner has mold and you’ve already determined that the recipe for mold is nutrients, moisture, and darkness, then the question is , how is the source of nutrients getting inside of the machine?

Some of the possibilities include that it is located under a tree, or it is in an area like a wind tunnel where dirt is easily kicked up and can get into the machine.

There are many reasons why an air conditioner can be exposed to extra dirt and debris.

If that is the case then you should consider moving the air conditioner to an area where it is less likely to get dirty inside.

Also if the air conditioner has been recently brought in from storage, the likelihood of it being dusty inside is more than a little high.

Storage areas have a tendency to be humid, whether it be the Attic, the basement, or a storage building outside, they almost always seem to be moist.

Again you have all the components necessary for the production of mold in one spot. Humidity, dust, and no light.

Taking apart your air conditioner when you bring it out of storage is a great time to examine it and make sure that there is no debris inside the block the drainage hole and to clean off any dirt and dust on the styrofoam.

Another tip for keeping water from gathering inside the bottom of the air conditioner is to drill a couple of 3/8″ holes in the bottom of the square housing to give the moisture more area to escape through.

But regardless of whether you’re taking it out of storage or not, it is time to take apart the air conditioner and completely clean out any mold, debris, and dirt.

Another additional tip at this juncture is to add a mold inhibitor.

A mold inhibitor is a specific product that is manufactured to add to livestock feed. It keeps mold from being able to grow in their food.

It is also sold as a spray or solution to keep decks from mold growth.

While your air conditioner is taken apart for cleaning and maintenance, spraying a mold inhibitor on the styrofoam as well as the other components inside the machine before you reassemble it is a great way to help ensure that your air conditioner and more importantly your air is free of mold and mold spores.


 

Della 6000 Smart  Window AC. 250 sq ft. See Here.

 


Summary.

Even though Styrofoam is a material that facilitates mold easily. Any material given the right circumstances can develop mold growth.

If there is mold on the Styrofoam in your air conditioner, then more than likely the Styrofoam is dirty.

Mold needs nutrients, and without there being something like dirt on the Styrofoam, there is no way that mold could grow on Styrofoam.

Mold also needs moisture, if there is something blocking the exit of the moisture inside the air conditioner, like mud or leaves, then you have all the components of mould and the perfect environment for it to grow in.

In order to find out if you have these issues, you’re going to have to take apart your air conditioner to clean and maintain it.

Taking apart and cleaning an air conditioner is a very easy thing to do and there are plenty of tutorials and YouTube videos available to take you through the process.

But before you put the air conditioner back together and reinstall it, it is the perfect time to consider spraying a mold inhibitor on the Styrofoam and all the other components inside of the air conditioner.

Also adding another drip hole or two by drilling a 3/8 inch hole in the bottom of the air conditioner will not diminish its performance at all and will only help keep moisture from unnaturally gathering inside of the unit.

Air conditioners will last an amazingly long time when they are maintained and kept clean. Keeping mold from growing in your air conditioner comes down to exactly those two things.

Do Air Purifiers Need UV?

Ultraviolet light is highly effective at reducing mold and bacteria when it is targeted and allowed to remain focused on its intended target.

But the problem remains. How can that translate to cleaning air since there is no way to actually target air?

Are UV air purifiers effective? How so?

Do air purifiers need UV?

Most air purifiers work independently of UV and do not need or require UV to operate. The most common purpose of Ultraviolet light in an air purifier is as a method of sterilizing the filter to prevent it from becoming populated with live bacteria and germs.

But the air purifier will still work without the UV.

 But… Another type of UV air purifier that DOES require UV to work is Photo catalytic Oxidation. 

Also called PCO and tio2 air purification, these air purifiers create a reaction between Ultraviolet light and Titanium Oxide that produces an ionic plasma that kills mold spores and bacteria.
UV is central to the operation of these air cleaners and they will not work if the uv bulb is burned out.

Photocatalytic oxidation is commonly used in the Central AC ductwork. Which ties into the next way UV is used in air cleaning.

The third way UV is most commonly used in air purification is the HVAC system.

In this case, ultraviolet lamps are used to destroy mold and germs inside of the central heat and air system before they get a chance to enter into the home through the ductwork.

This is done by targeting the UV sterilizing lamp primarily onto the evaporative coils and drip pan in the air handler.

Though this method of air cleaning with Ultraviolet light works well,

It is not entirely necessary because both the AC coils and drip pan can be cleaned and maintained by making sure there is not any stoppage in the drain line that would cause moisture to build up in the drain pan and ultimately produce mold.
In other words it can be kept clean without the use of UV and ultraviolet light is not a component needed for a AC to run.

Photocatalytic induct air purifiers can also be inserted into the plenum and ductwork to destroy mold and bacteria inside of the air handler.

 This is one of the best uses of UV air purification because it essentially turns the HVAC Central Heat and Air system into a whole house air purifier. 

Though these UV induct air purifiers are usually on the expensive side, the expense does not even compare to what it would cost to place air purifiers throughout the house.

But there is one downside to this method is that the blower on the HVAC needs to stay on throughout the year.

Not too much of a problem in the winter and the off months but running the fan continuously when the AC is on does not allow the dehumidification function of the AC to work properly resulting in more humidity in the house.

The reason for this is that the condensation created in the air conditioning coils evaporates back into the house instead of exiting the house through the drain line.

One the main concerns when it comes to UV air purifiers is the danger of ozone being produced by the lamp.

 Which begs the question ” Does UV remove odors?” since ozone has a distinct sharp odor when it is created. 

The answer is the type of UV used in filtration air purifiers is not in the range to create ozone and is further protected by the type of glass that the UV is encased in.
This type of UV will help reduce the musty odors caused by mold and mildew without producing the smell of ozone.

PCO- tio2 UV induct air cleaners typically create more ozone because of the photocatalytic oxidation process. But the amount is below the .05 ppm acceptable level of ozone put in place by the EPA.

And though the musty smell of mold as well as other odors can be expected to be minimized with the UV PCO air purifiers, it is likely that the smell of ozone will be noticeable.

Many stand alone Photo Catalyst air purifiers like Molecule and Air Oasis use  a UV that creates little to no ozone.
But it is also worth noting that companies like Oasis that used full ozone UV bulbs in their machines in the past also were able to make the claim that their units cleaned up to 3000 sq ft.
But with reduced ozone bulbs have reduced the amount of air that can be cleaned to areas more like 300 to 500 sq ft.

Recap

 The typical UV air purifier is basically just a HEPA filter based air cleaner that has a ultraviolet light aimed at the filter to keep bacteria and germs from living and growing in the filter. 

 This type of air purifier can work without a UV lamp as it is not necessary to the primary function of the air purifier which is to filter contaminants from the air. 

But in the case of HVAC air purification and photo catalytic oxidation induct air purification, the UV is Central to the ability to function of the air purifier to clean the air.

If the UV Burns out on a photo catalytic oxidation air purifier then your air purifier will not work until the UV is replaced.

In the case of an HVAC UV system, the UV is basically used as a sterilizer targeted on areas of the air handler that can produce mold.

If the UV lamp is broken or burned out, it will not do anything to aid in the this process and will have to be replaced.

uv sterilizerDo I need a UV light for my air conditioner?

The air conditioning and heating system works independently from any type of UV device and does not need an Ultraviolet lamp to operate properly.

Out of the three methods in which UV is successfully utilized in air purification, PCO induct air purifiers make the most sense because they essentially turn your HVAC central heat and air unit into a whole house air purifier that cleans the air every time it cycles on and off.
The only downside is that it requires the fan on the AC to run continuously which can result in a humid house when the air conditioning is in use.

Do Humidifiers Cause Mold?

 Mold spores are virtually everywhere that there is air, floating and searching for nutrients to take root.

And Mold and mildew is something you can find anywhere there is a source of water, food, and oxygen.

Do Humidifiers Cause Mold?

A humidifier meets the criteria for being a catalyst for mold growth and airborne bacteria in your home when:

  • It is poorly maintained
  • It is used when not needed
  • When it’s too Big
  • If it Leaks

The presence of mold in your home can not only cause damage to your house and structure, it can also exasperate allergies, and be a trigger for asthma.

According to one study, it can be a factor in the development of childhood asthma.

When mold goes unchecked, it can spread very fast and cause more damage than you may suspect.

This article will lay out 4 ways a humidifier can be responsible for mold.

1. Poorly Maintained Humidifier

Easily the number one way that  a humidifier can cause mold production.  Failure to keep a humidifier clean and filled with fresh water can create the idea setup of water, dirt, oxygen, and low light that mold can flourish in.

Once mold has taken root in a poorly kept humidifier, the humidifier becomes a distributor of mold spores throughout your room and house.

According to Pubmed, Humidity droplets act like microscopic containers that can carry bacteria and viruses much further than they can travel without the aid of humidity.

Another aspect of a poorly maintained humidifier is leaving water in the basin when the humidifier is not being ran.
Mold can develop in standing water in as little as 24 to 48 hours.

Imagine turning the humidifier on and running it after the water and it has been standing for a long period of time.

You’re just asking for a room full of mold spores ready to attack your respiratory system and your walls and ceiling.

 


2.  Using a humidifier when the climate does not warrant it.

Excessive humidity in the air can be a absorbent for the pollution and spores already in the air. As stated in this article already, humidity droplets can provide a vehicle for germs and bacteria to to be able to travel long distances.

When the relative humidity is already on the high side, adding more humidity to the air by using a humidifier is like pouring fuel on a fire.

Moisture is the primary food source for dust mites. Dust mites along with mold spores are two of the most common household allergies

Adding extra humidity to an already humid area with a humidifier only provides extra water and nutrients for mold and dust mites to thrive.

Rooms like bathrooms or kitchens tend to already have an ample amount of humidity because of showers and baths and boiling water and dishes being soaked.

Using a humidifier in these conditions can add too much humidity to the air which can cause mold growth on the walls and allergies to kick up.

Exhaust fans are usually installed in bathrooms and in kitchens for this very reason.

3.  Too Big of a Humidifier

Along the same lines as using a humidifier when you do not need it, is using a humidifier that is too large for the space you have it in.

Placing a humidifier that is meant to be used in a large living area in a small bedroom can add to too much humidity to the air which can result in mold growth especially in a room that is dirty.

Measuring the humidity and providing the right amount of humidity back into the air is key to getting the benefits out of a humidifier.

But overdoing it can result in mold. If you measure your humidity (a hydrometer can be purchased very inexpensively) and it is already between the 30 and 50% mark. Adding extra humidity can put you into the range of causing mold somewhere in your home.

4. Leaking Humidifier

One of the main ingredients that mold needs to start growing water. Mold inside of the house is always connected to an inappropriate source of water somewhere. Usually it’s a leaking pipe or a leaky roof.

But a humidifier, because it has a basin for holding water, can also be a source of inappropriate moisture if it is leaking.
If the table or counter where are the humidifier is sitting has water around it, then there is a chance that the humidifier is leaking. And just as easily as mold can take root in the moisture caused by a leaky pipe, it can take root from the water leaking out of the humidifier.

Most people are not going to let mold grow right on the counter in front of them. But it may not be as easy to see when it has drip down the back or sides of a counter top or table.

moldy humidifierMany modern humidifiers already take all of these situations that can occur when a humidifier is in use into account.

For instance, there are self cleaning, germ-free humidifiers that are already on the market that use technologies like ultraviolet light and bacteria and mold resistant plastic and their production.

1. There are also many additives that you can buy the place in the water of the humidifier to reduce mold and bacteria growth inside of the humidifier.

2. Many of today’s humidifiers also come with features like auto shut off and built in hygrometers and humidistats
that measure the humidity inside of the room and turn off dehumidifier when the relative humidity entered in as a cutoff point is reached.

3. Safety features are also installed to let you know if you have a leaky basin or if your water compartment is not seated correctly and is leaking.

4.There are also many ways that you can communicate with your appliances through smart plugs that can be purchased that allow you to schedule when your humidifier is on and off and allow you to turn it on from a remote location.

The only feature I have not seen on a humidifier yet is one that does not allow the humidifier to run when the water has become tainted.
Sounds like something that needs to happen. Maybe you can be the one to invent it.

 

DIY Humidifier

Does an Air Purifier Help with Mold Spores?

 Mold is a household problem, that if you find inside of your home, should be taken very seriously and dealt with very quickly.

Mold when it is left unchecked can cause more destruction than many people give it credit for and faster than you may have believed.

Mold can develop in as little as 24 hours once spores find moisture. Walls can be inundated very quickly because of how porous drywall is. It can call us and become a problem in 1 to 12 days.

It is also a problem that can exasperate allergies, respiratory issues, and trigger asthma attacks. According to this study, mold is instrumental in the development of asthma in children.

Does an Air Purifier Help with Mold?

An air purifier will help with allergy symptoms related and caused by mold because it can filter out the spores from the air that are breathable.

But mold itself is caused by an inappropriate source of moisture and dirt somewhere in the area.

And there will still be a constant supply of mold spores in the air til the source of the water is found and stopped.

Regardless, having clean air to breathe when you are dealing with a problem like mold is still essential, and a mold spore air purifier is perfect for that reason.

But in instances like a damp basement where moisture is more pervasive, using an air purifier is more like putting a Band-Aid on the problem instead of addressing the real issue.

An area that has excessive humidity like the basement would benefit more from a device like a dehumidifier rather than an air purifier, at least initially.

Though an air purifier can help reduce the mold spore count in the air, it will do nothing to fix the problem that is resulting in poor air quality caused by mold.

Unless the source of the mold is fixed and the air is dried out, using an air purifier for the mold is like taking an aspirin for a headache but never addressing the reason you are having headaches.

Thank God for the aspirin, but fixing the problem is better than covering it.

To sum it up, an air purifier will help reduce the amount of mold spores in the air and in doing so reduce the symptoms related to breathing mold spores, and it will also reduce the chance of mold growing somewhere else.

And with less mold spores traveling through the air, there are less chances of it finding a new place to start growing.

But it will not fix the original problem and until the source of moisture is found and stopped and the area is dried out, you will continue to have an issue in your home with mold.

Some people worry that using a air purifier with a HEPA filter to capture mold spores will cause mold to grow in their air purifier.

That is a real concern if the humidity in the room is so high that it even makes the HEPA filter in the air cleaner damp.

But that is usually not the case, and since it takes moisture for mold spores too began to colonize, as long as you keep your air purifier dry, you should not have a problem with mold growing inside or on the filter.

What Causes Mold in a House?

moldMold inside of the house is more likely to be caused by a leaking pipe or windowsill. A leaky roof is also a common place where moisture is finding it’s way inside the house.

A leaking windowsill is pretty easy to identify but finding a leaking pipe or a drip in the ceiling is not as easy and may require a professional.

If you suspect you have a leaking pipe inside of the wall, oftentimes you’ll see the paper on the outside of the drywall begin to bubble or the whole area starting to swell and feel softer to the touch than the rest of the wall.

Leaks from the ceiling are pretty much the same but since it’s harder to get up and feel of the ceiling, you can most likely identify moisture coming in by searching for discoloration in the ceiling.

Another way mold spores become part of the air stream in your home is through the HVAC system.

HVAC which stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

Though the heating and air system is vital to your comfort,  especially in some climates, it also has the capacity to produce mold because of the presence of moisture and dirt located in a dark area inside of the air handler.

This can become an issue very quickly if not addressed. Mold spores inside of your ductwork can be distributed through your whole house every time the air handler kicks on.

If you have a musty smell coming from your vents or if you can identify mold around the vent, chances are your air handler is developed mold in it somewhere.
Two of the easiest things to check if you think this may be the case are the drip pan and the evaporative coils.

Condensation drip pans can get clogged , causing a buildup of moisture that can turn into mold and feed mold spores into the house via the duct.

Evaporative coils are the coils on an AC that absorb heat and cools it off with a refrigerant. In the process the coils produce condensation which which drips into a drainage pan.

Mold can start in the evaporator coils when the coils get dirty. At that point the AC has everything it needs to produce mold. Dirt, water, and darkness.

Checking and keeping the evaporative coils on the AC clean is one of the easiest things to do to avoid mold buildup inside of your HVAC.

evaporative coilsRecap

An air purifier can help with mold because it will reduce the mold spores in the air. Which in turn will reduce the amount of chances that spores can come in contact with any moisture in the house and at the same time create less chances of breathing in mold spores which can be a source of allergies and a trigger to asthma.
Less Mold Spores traveling through the house also means less new outbreaks of mold.

But though an air purifier can be a very good device to use when you have an issue with mold, it is only a supplementive solution and will not do anything to fix the original problem causing the mold.

Finding the source of the mold, fixing the problem and cleaning it up, as well as drying the area out are all things that are needed to help control mold and mold spores.

Why Does My Room Smell Musty?

Musty is a word that is sometimes used to describe the feeling you get from a stale or a stuffy room. It’s usually a smell that you just can’t quite put your finger on, but you know that there is something that is not quite right. But in most cases that “not quite right feeling” is the presence of mold and mildew.

Why Does My Room Smell Musty?

A musty smell in a room is an indicator that you have moisture coming in somewhere that along with dirt or grime has become a source of food and nutrition for mold and mildew to take root. Mold can take root and grow very fast when given the right ingredients. A musty smell should be taken seriously as a warning that there is an issue with mold close by.

I’ve had a personal experience with this.

In my neighborhood there was an issue with heavy rains that washed over the curbs and went up the driveway and eventually seeped into the backdoor of the house.

It didn’t seem like much at the time so we really didn’t do too much about it besides put some towels down to soak up the water. And it was the very back of the house that doesn’t get a lot of traffic anyway.

A couple of months later I noticed a rotten smell coming from that area.

I pulled out a bookshelf that was in that corner and pulled up the edge of the carpet only to find that dark green and black mold had spread heavily underneath the carpet and had made its way all over the wall and the back of the shelf, including all the books on it.

It was pretty shocking to see how much the mold had taken over.

We had to take the carpet up and remove and replace the drywall on that side of the room.

Luckily the mold did not turn out to be the dangerous Stachybotrys or black mold.

All that to say that if you have a musty smell in your room, it’s a situation that you should take seriously.

Mold can do more destruction than you may be giving it credit for. And do it much faster than you may think.

Mold can also exasperate allergies and is known to be a trigger for asthma.

What you are looking for in your room when you have a musty smell is an inappropriate source of moisture.

According to the National Library of Medicine , Mold spores are practically everywhere and there is really no way to get away from them or keep them out of your house. But without an adequate source of moisture, they cannot grow and colonize into a problem.

So the fundamental thing you’re looking for in the case of a musty smell is moisture and the supply of that moisture.

Wet moldy carpet

Why Does My Room Smell Musty in The Morning?

What could be some reasons your room smells musty?

  1. Wet carpet
  2. Wet drywall
  3. Window seals
  4. Excessive humidity
  5. Dew
  6. Leaves
  7. Moldy items in trash
  8. Moldy food laying around
  9. Mold inside of the HVAC duct work

1. Wet carpet

Remember that you are looking for the source of the moisture.

If you have wet carpet then the ideal is to figure out why it is wet.

Some reasons may be as simple as a soaking wet towel laying on the carpet or has there been a big spill that was not cleaned up?

If you have a large area that is damp, then there may be a leak that has sprung from a pipe beneath the flooring.

it will be worthwhile for you to peel the carpet back and make sure that your floor is not soaking wet beneath.

And if it is, you should make it a priority to have it fixed as soon as possible to avoid further damage and mold growth.

2.  Wet drywall

It can be a smell can be coming from the walls if a pipe inside of the wall has busted. Examine the walls and see if you can find any areas where they are bubbling, swelling, or peeling which would indicate that moisture has gotten inside of the drywall.

3.  Window seals

One area that moisture can get into the house easily is the windows. If the windows are not sealed properly, you can find moisture creeping in around the window. If it has been going on for a long time, you will also find the frame around the window rotting.

4. Excessive humidity

If you live in an area with a climate that is prone to high humidity, you may find that it is the humidity that is causing moisture to build up inside of your room. If this is the case, then mildew is probably showing up on your walls or ceiling somewhere.

This is the case in many basements. The level of humidity inside of the room causes condensation to build on the walls and create a natural food source for mold and mildew.

The best solution in that case is to use a dehumidifier to pull moisture out of the air so that it does not have a chance to become a problem in the form of mold.

Dew

5.  Dew

Many people claim to be more concerned with the dusty smell in their house in the morning time.

That morning musty smell is usually associated with the moisture that develops in the air in the early morning hours.

It’s the moisture that is commonly known as dew.

Dew can help turn the volume up on the smell of mold and mildew in the morning.

6.  Leaves

Leaves, specifically in the Autumn season can pile up in gutters and around the house and make an excellent environment for mold to take root. And once the mold has colonized inside of the leaves, any sort of rustling around caused by the wind or by kicking the leaves can unleash mold spores into the air.

7.  Moldy items in trash

Sometimes a musty smell is coming from a moldy item that has been thrown away and just sitting there stinking. The trash can is one of the first places to look when you smell something musty in your room.

8.  Moldy food laying around

Moldy food can cause a very pungent musty smell when it is laying out or in the trash can. Items like half eaten hamburgers and apple cores are best disposed of in the main kitchen area where the trash is taken out more frequently.
If you have a musty smell in your room, looking for any food that has been left out to mold is a good place to start.
Another place that you can find moldy musty smells is in the kitchen sink where the garbage disposal is. If the garbage disposal has not been cleaned properly in a while, you are liable to smell moldy food coming from there.

9. Mold in HVAC ductwork

If there is mold in your ductwork, you can be sure that it will be distributed throughout the house every time the heating or air conditioning comes on.

According to this study, mold can be commonly found inside of an air handler, specifically the wheel fan blades, the ductwork, and the cooling coil fins.

Another source of mold coming into the house through the ductwork is the evaporative coils. Dirty evaporative coils contain all the ingredients for mold to flourish and find its way inside of the house.

If you have a musty smell coming from your HVAC ductwork, cleaning the evaporative coils located on the outside section of your unit is a good place to start to reduce the volume of mold spores coming in.

Another trouble area for HVAC systems when it comes to mold is the drip pan. If the drip pan is not draining sufficiently, water can build up in the pan and become a source of mold.

Clearing any blockage from the drip pan to the outside drainage is also a good way to ensure that you do not have mold growing and coming in through your HVAC.

UV systems are often used to target areas like evaporative coils and drip pans so that mold does not have a chance to colonize and become a problem in your air quality.