Humidifier care and cleaning tips

Many of us use humidifiers in our homes to combat extra-dry air in Kansas City. The dry air can have uncomfortable side effects such as dry or even bloody nose, sore throat, dry lips and itchy skin. What’s more, dry air can cause static electricity, peel wallpaper, crack paint and even damage your furniture. A humidifier can help alleviate some these issues.

It’s important to note, however, that excess moisture can backfire, encouraging the growth of dust mites and mold, which can trigger allergic reactions.

To keep your humidifier working properly and your indoor air healthy, take a few basic steps recommended by the EPA to maintain your unit or system:

  • Fill your humidifier with distilled water with a low mineral content, especially if your unit is equipped with tanks of standing water. Minerals in tap water, spring water or artesian water may increase mineral deposits, or scale, inside the unit which can be a breeding ground for microorganisms.
  • Use demineralization cartridges/filters if recommended for your model. However, in areas where the mineral content of local tap water is high, using distilled water may be cheaper than cartridges or filters.
  • Look for white dust, which would tell you the minerals are not being removed properly.
  • Use the correct moisture setting for existing conditions but don’t set humidity levels exceeding 50 percent. If water condenses on windows or walls, or carpeting and drapes become damp, adjust your humidifier’s settings, use it less often or move it, if it is portable.
  • Keep your unit or system clean. In portable units, unplug the unit, empty the tank, wipe surfaces dry, and refill the water daily. Every third day, use a brush or other scrubber to clean the tank so that it is free of deposits.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for changing water and cleaning console units or central humidifiers.

If you have questions about home humidity or other HVAC issues, Santa Fe Air Conditioning and Heating would be happy to answer and provide expert assistance. Our family-owned business has served local homeowners in Franklin, Johnson, Miami and Wyandotte Counties for almost 25 years.