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How to Properly Store a Humidifier When Not in Use
Properly storing your humidifier during periods of non-use is crucial to keep it functioning optimally and avoid microbial growth. Leaving residual moisture inside can allow mold, bacteria and fungi to accumulate over time, contaminating the water and releasing harmful spores into the air when used again.
According to the EPA, ideal indoor humidity levels should be kept between 30-50%. Humidifiers increase moisture levels to combat dry air, but any remaining water needs to be completely drained and dried out before storage.
|The “Ultimate” Smart Humidier
Deep Clean the Humidifier
Before packing away your humidifier, it’s vital to do a thorough deep cleaning to remove any mineral deposits, sediment, and contaminants that can harbor mold and bacteria growth:
- Drain any remaining water from the tank, reservoir base, hoses, and filters
- Scrub the tank with a cleaner like vinegar or bleach. Rinse thoroughly.
- Replace any filters as recommended by manufacturer
- Use descaling solutions if necessary to remove mineral deposits
- Disinfect the tank with an antimicrobial cleaner
- Allow all parts to completely air dry before assembling again
Dry Out All Moisture
It’s critical to remove every last drop of water from the unit before storage. Any residual moisture left inside creates an environment for microbial growth. Here are some tips for drying:
- Dump out remaining tank water and wipe dry with a clean cloth
- Remove filters and let air dry for at least 48 hours
- Absorbent pads can be used inside to wick away moisture
- Let the empty tank sit open and run the humidifier for 30 minutes to evaporate moisture on interior surfaces
Store Properly in a Cool, Dry Location
Choosing the right location to store your humidifier also prevents moisture accumulation and possible mold growth:
|Good Storage Locations||Bad Storage Locations|
|Dry basement||Damp basement or attic|
|Pantry or cabinet||Garage or shed|
Avoid anywhere with temperature extremes like attics or garages. Freezing can crack the tank while heat expands trapped moisture.
Maintenance Tips for Stored Humidifiers
Follow these tips to keep a stored humidifier in good shape between seasons:
- Cover with a porous bag to avoid dust buildup
- Store upright to prevent water pooling in crevices
- Remove batteries to prevent corrosion
- Keep away from furnaces, hot water heaters, or heat vents
- Check periodically and wipe down any accumulated dust
Prepare Humidifier Before Use
When taking your humidifier out of storage, do a quick inspection to ensure it’s ready for use:
- Check for any mildew or biofilm accumulation
- Replace filters as needed per manufacturer
- Run cleansing cycles to flush the system
- Test for leaks
- Verify all functionality
Properly caring for and storing your humidifier saves money by extending its lifespan. Following these key steps keeps it clean and dry between uses, preventing microbial growth that compromises air quality and health.
Signs of Mold Growth
Check periodically for any signs of mold growth in a stored humidifier such as:
- Visible mold spots or fuzziness on surfaces
- Musty odors coming from the humidifier
- Cloudy mineral deposits around crevices or edges
- Black or green buildup on filters or in water tank
If mold is detected, thoroughly clean and disinfect the unit before use. Replace any parts that cannot be salvaged.
When to Replace a Humidifier
Consider replacing your humidifier if:
- It’s more than 3 years old
- Mineral deposits can’t be fully removed
- Plastic or rubber parts are cracked or warped
- It fails to properly humidify the air when turned on
- It begins leaking water
Replacement is cheaper than continually maintaining an old unit or dealing with mold contaminations.
Useful Accessories for Storage
These handy accessories help keep your humidifier protected in storage:
- Dehumidifier bags to absorb excess moisture
- Hygrometer to monitor humidity levels
- Storage totes or breathable bags
- Reusable covers to keep off dust
Alternate Uses While Stored
Consider these alternate uses for your stored humidifier:
- Air purifier to filter allergens and pollutants
- Essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy
- Small space heater to warm a bathroom
- Mini evaporative cooler or misting fan
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How often should I clean my humidifier before storage?
Clean and disinfect your humidifier before putting into storage for any extended period of non-use. This is recommended at least once a season or every 3-6 months.
2. What is the best way to dry out my humidifier?
Allow all parts to air dry fully for at least 24-48 hours. Absorbent pads can help wick away moisture from hard to reach spots. Run an empty cycle to evaporate any residual moisture.
3. Where should I store my humidifier?
Store in a cool, dry place like a closet, pantry, or basement shelf. Avoid damp locations like an attic or garage. Maintain stable temperatures between 45°F-80°F.
4. How do I prevent mold growth in my stored humidifier?
Remove all moisture, disinfect all surfaces, and allow complete drying before packing away. Store in a clean, dry location and check periodically for any mildew growth.
5. Should I cover my humidifier while stored?
Yes, cover loosely with a towel or bag to prevent dust buildup. Avoid plastic bags that can trap in moisture leading to mold.
6. How can I prevent damage to my humidifier in storage?
Avoid freezing or excess heat which can warp components. Store upright to prevent water pooling in crevices. Remove batteries to prevent corrosion.
7. Does my humidifier need maintenance while in storage?
Check on your stored humidifier every few months. Wipe down any dust and look for signs of mold growth. Replace worn parts like filters before the next use.
8. How long can I store my humidifier?
Most humidifiers can be safely stored for 6-12 months with proper maintenance. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for maximum recommended storage time.
9. What should I do before using my humidifier again?
Inspect for any mildew buildup, run cleansing cycles, check for leaks, replace filters, and verify functionality before putting back into service.
10. Can I store a humidifier with water still in it?
Never. All remaining water must be emptied and the tank completely dried before storage. Any moisture left inside will allow mold, bacteria and mineral deposits to accumulate.