Humidifiers are simple things – they only need water, a wick (or nebulizer), and electricity to pump lots of moisture into your air. But what kind of water should you put in your humidifier? Should you use purified water, spring water, or water straight from the tap? Let’s dive right in and find out!
Let’s start with tap water because this is the cheapest and most readily accessible water option. Typically, your household tap water is going to be perfectly fine for your humidifier. As we mentioned, humidifiers are simple things so they don’t really need fancy water.
That said, be aware that tap water contains minerals that can possibly affect your humidifier. You may hear people mention mineral dust or “white dust” when they use an ultrasonic humidifier. The minerals in tap water sometimes create this white dust. A nebulizer in the ultrasonic humidifier breaks the water down into fine particles, then the humidifier’s fan blows these water particles into the air to add humidity to your home. During this process, the minerals from your tap water are also broken down and dispersed into your air, which can leave behind white dust once the water evaporates.
This white dust doesn’t always happen, and if it does, rest assured it is harmless (unless you have a condition making you sensitive to dust particles). If it does occur with your humidifier, you have a couple of options. You can switch to using purified water in your humidifier, or you can use an evaporative humidifier. Evaporative humidifiers use wicks rather than nebulizers to humidify your air. This wick traps the minerals in your water before it’s released into the air, so you won’t get white dust.
You’ll find many bottled water on store shelves, and while spring water is a popular one, it’s not the best choice for your humidifier because spring water contains more minerals than tap water.
This higher mineral content can be a healthy choice for people because it delivers beneficial nutrients like magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium, but these minerals are not good for your humidifier. If you’re using an ultrasonic humidifier, you may notice more white dust. In an evaporative humidifier, you may see a shorter wick life as these minerals build up in your wick and break it down faster. In both units, you may see a scale develop inside your unit. For these reasons, we don’t recommend using spring water.
Purified water, either distilled or demineralized, is water that has been filtered or processed to remove minerals, bacteria, sediment, and other “stuff” naturally found in water. For this reason, it is a great choice for your ultrasonic or evaporative humidifier, especially if your local tap water or well water is too mineral-rich to allow your humidifier to function properly.
If buying purified water is cost-prohibitive for you, white vinegar can help! When cleaning your humidifier, add a little white vinegar to your cleaning solution. This will help break down the minerals and mineral scale your water leaves behind in your humidifier and keep your unit clean. The owner’s manual that came with your humidifier will tell you how much white vinegar to use. If you need another copy, you can download one here on our site. Just type your model number into the search bar, and a link to your manual will be on your model’s page.
If you have more questions about water types or how to clean your humidifier, our Customer Care Team can help you! Give them a call at 800-547-3888, Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm CST.OLDER NEWER