Can you use tap water in a humidifier? This is a question that crosses the mind of almost everyone who is using a humidifier for the very first time. Humidifiers can be very useful in climates where there is low humidity. These devices function by adding moisture back into the air and making it more humid. This can be very useful from a health perspective, and many people who have asthma or other respiratory conditions find them essential. They have a place in homes, nursing homes, and even commercial buildings where the comfort of people is paramount.
Humidifiers are also useful in terms of preserving things such as books, papers, and furniture. In dry and low humidity climates, these things can be susceptible to cracking and drying out. When the air has some moisture in it, these objects are less susceptible to damage.
Can you imagine the problems that a large company might have if they have many important and sensitive documents? Likewise, your local library would be in trouble if the atmosphere inside was not at least a little humid.
Given that it’s pretty easy to get a portable humidifier for the home or office, many people simply put tap water in them. This makes sense to most people because it’s often the easiest source of water, but is it a problem?
The problem with tap water is that it contains plenty of minerals. Depending on where you live, it can contain anything from trace amounts of zinc to fluoride. When you put tap water into a humidifier, the minerals are released into the atmosphere. If you’re the kind of health conscious person who will have a problem with this, tap water isn’t for you.
The other problem is that the minerals in tap water will also cause a buildup of scale inside the humidifier. This can result in it not working properly and may even cause damage to it. If you’ve spent plenty of money on your own humidifier, this is not really how you want to look after it.
Also, if you really want to keep your humidifier and your room sanitary, tap water is not the way to go. In fact, tap water contains bacteria and other pathogens that can actually build up in your humidifier and enter the room. Because the humidifier is warm and moist, it’s also a great environment for the growth of more bacteria!
This last point is actually worth noting if you are using a CPAP machine and filling the humidifier device with tap water. Given what a CPAP machine is used for, it is actually dangerous to use tap water in this instance. The overgrowth of mold, bacteria, and mineral deposits can enter the lungs of the person it is connected to and cause serious respiratory conditions.
So, what about other kinds of water? What about distilled water or even bottled water from the supermarket?
Do You Put Hot Or Cold Water In A Humidifier?
The type of water you put in a humidifier will affect its safety, comfort and durability. So between hot and cold water, which one is more suitable to put in a humidifier? If you didn’t know, hot water contains more minerals than cold water and so if you put hot water in your humidifier, you’re basically increasing the chances of mineral deposits building up inside your humidifier. Cold water on the other hand can help prevent the accumulation of bacteria or mold due to little amount of mineral deposits in it. This can contribute to the longevity of a humidifier if there’s no conducive environment for harmful microorganisms to thrive in.
Also, from a safety point of view, cold water is safer than hot water especially if you have little kids around the house. If a child or even an adult accidentally hits a humidifier with hot steam, the humidifier can tip over and spill out the hot water or steam which in turn can lead to serious burns.
The Food and Drug Administration also says that cool mist makes breathing easier since the cool air produced helps to shrink your nasal passages. Warm mist on the other hand can cause your nasal passages to swell which in turn can make breathing a bit difficult.
So if you want your humidifier to last longer while creating a more refreshing and safe environment for your family members at home, then don’t hesitate to put cold water in your humidifier. But if it’s really cold outside especially during the winter, then putting hot water in a humidifier can be a good option to consider.
Can You Use Distilled Water in a Humidifier?
Even though it’s easy enough to go and run the tap and fill your humidifier with tap water, the truth is that you should ideally use distilled water. Unlike tap water, distilled water has been through a process called distillation. During this process, lots of the minerals have been removed, so it’s a cleaner source for the humidifier unit.
The biggest advantage to using distilled water is that there is hardly any mineral buildup in your humidifier. This also means there are less places for the bacteria and mold to grow. The last thing you want to be doing is breathing in mold, especially if you have a serious respiratory condition such as asthma.
So, can you make your own distilled water rather than buying it from a supermarket? The fact is that you can, but it’s not necessarily the easiest or the most convenient process. Distillation means that water has been boiled and the steam is captured and then condenses to form distilled water. The distillation process turns the water turns into steam and leaves all of the inorganic contaminants behind.
Unless you want to be dealing with tubing and bottles tilted at odd angles, it’s simply easier to buy distilled water from a store. By doing this, you ensure that you treat your humidifier right and avoid any nasty mineral buildup. Just be sure to find a source of distilled water that isn’t going to break the bank.
Can You Use Bottled Water in a Humidifier?
There are many brands of bottled water on the market, and they also often come in large 10 liter boxes with inexpensive prices. This makes it tempting to use for your humidifier, but is it the right thing to do? Is it better than tap water? The many bottled water brands would have you believe that their water is as pure as the driven snow, of course.
Here’s the thing: there are so many brands of bottled water on the market making so many claims of purity that you really can’t be entirely sure how pure they really are. In fact, some studies have even found that some brands of bottled water are nothing more than filtered tap water. So, is it okay to use if you don’t have any distilled water available?
Good bottled water in general is going to be better than most tap water. The problem is that filtered water doesn’t actually remove many of the inorganic elements and minerals present in tap water. Even if the bottled water comes from a natural spring, as many brands claim, there’s still going to be minerals in the water. This is not bad for us at all if we decide to drink it, but it’s not so great for our humidifiers because it results in scale buildup in the device and minerals that enter the atmosphere.
Can You Use Boiled Water in a Humidifier?
What if you don’t have any distilled water and you’re unsure of the purity of your bottled water? Can you use boiled tap water instead in your humidifier? It’s easy enough to run the tap, fill a pot, and then boil it, but this doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to put it in your humidifier.
The short answer is that you can’t. The longer answer is that boiled tap water will still contain all of the dissolved minerals in it. Boiling doesn’t get rid of them. Boiling means that you’ve killed most of the pathogens in the water, but there’s still the problem of dealing with the minerals.
As we know, all of those inorganic elements in tap water and boiled water can harm the humidifier or CPAP machine. There’s the problem of the white dust buildup inside the humidifier that needs to be cleaned. All of those minerals will also enter the atmosphere and could cause health issues. If you don’t want to damage your humidifier, the best thing is not to use boiled water as a shortcut.
Best Water to Use in Humidifier
So, what’s the best water that you can use in your humidifier, given the options? The best answer is to use distilled water. As the water is distilled, the minerals are removed, leaving pure water that can be used for any kind of humidifier or CPAP machine.
While it’s certainly tempting to just go to the tap and fill your humidifier unit with tap water, you’re going to have problems. Tap water, boiled tap water, and even bottled water all contain dissolved minerals and possibly even bacteria and other pathogens. All of this gunk will build up inside your humidifier machine as hard scale and will cause damage, unless it is removed frequently.
More to the point, this sort of environment is terrible for anyone with a serious respiratory condition, such as asthma. Mold may grow in this environment and even bacteria. These organisms can be released into the atmosphere as the humidifier is operating and cause an exacerbation of any respiratory illnesses and may even cause serious complications.
Why Would You Use a Humidifier?
Now that you know that distilled water is the best thing for a humidifier, what are they often used for? Consider the following:
- Sinus problems, such as congestion, and headaches caused by congestion
- A dry and irritated nasal passage
- People who suffer from frequent bloody noses due to having dry nasal passages
- People with a dry throat
- People who have respiratory illnesses, such as asthma
Portable humidifiers are commonly used by people in their own homes because they are affordable and easy to use. They can be moved from room to room easily and pulled out when there is a need. This makes them ideal for children who might suffer from seasonal asthma, hay fever, or have regular respiratory illnesses.
Humidifiers can also be installed as part of the HVAC systems of commercial and industrial properties. In these cases, they are often used to change the climate inside a building to be more comfortable for people.
For many people, humidifiers are an essential part of their home or business. They are very common in dry climates where moisture in the air is low.