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What Type of Water can be used in a Humidifier?

Explore what type of water can be used in a humidifier and what is the best kind of water for you to use.
Air humidifier on the table at home

A humidifier can be an essential item for your home or business during all four seasons but they are especially beneficial in the colder winter months. During this time, the cold air outside and the warm, centrally heated air of our homes causes your skin to become dry, and can also result in congestion. Not only that, but dry and warm air can promote bacteria spreading around your home. A humidifier is a great way to combat the dryness of winter and reduce damaged skin and other ill effects.

But in order to make the most of your humidifier, you need to understand how to best take care of it. In this blog, we explore what type of water can be used in a humidifier and what is the best kind of water for you to use.

Hot vs cold water for humidifiers

One of the first questions often asked about humidifiers is whether to use hot or cold water to make the most of a unit. The truth is somewhere in the middle – using either very chilled or boiling hot water isn’t a good idea, as hot water can be damaging to your humidifier. This is partially due to minerals in the water degrading the inner workings of the humidifier, but the heat from hot water can also wear out and damage the electrical parts within the unit.

Some humidifiers require hot water to create more evaporation, but this will be stated in the instructions for your specific unit and will usually require their filter to be changed more often to keep them working at full efficiency.

Cold water is also not optimal for a humidifier, as it means the unit will not work as effectively, especially if your humidifier requires warm water to create mist or steam.

What is the best temperature for water used in your humidifier?

With both boiling and chilled water being unsuitable for a humidifier, the most effective and least damaging temperature to choose is room temperature. This will be warm enough that your humidifier does not have to work harder to create steam (if you own this kind of model), but not so hot that it will damage the internal mechanics of your system. Room temperature water will also create a more pleasant, breathable kind of humidity.

Can you use tap water?

Aside from the temperature of the water, the actual type of water you use is extremely important. Many people automatically use tap water in a humidifier as it is easy and accessible but this does not come recommended by manufacturers. This is because tap water contains many invisible minerals, including magnesium, which can create buildup in your humidifier, resulting in limescale and mould. You may not notice this when using tap water a few times, but it will become an issue over time.

Since humidifiers are contributing to the air quality in your home or business, avoiding these kinds of buildups is vital to preserving healthy air. If left, this buildup is the perfect place for bacteria to thrive, which are then expelled into the air around you.

If you have been using tap water, your humidifier will require more frequent cleaning. You could consider using a cartridge that can filter the minerals out of tap water.

Is using cooled boiling water good for a humidifier?

Have you heard that boiling water can help to clean water and rid it of bacteria and other impurities? While this is true when you are trying to create drinkable water, this does not create water that should be used in your humidifier system. We have already learned that boiling or hot water isn’t good for a humidifier, but even if you boil the water and leave it to cool, the minerals in the water, such as sodium, will remain. You are less likely to encounter mould build-up in your humidifier, but you may still find scale, so this process is best avoided.

Can filtered or bottled mineral water be used?

Filtering tap water for drinking can be beneficial. However, filtering water does not remove all bacteria or viruses which can render the humidifier steam less healthy for you.

Bottled drinking water is similar to filtered water in some ways, as it has usually been filtered but will still hold dissolved solids and minerals. Over time, you may notice that your humidifier is becoming dirty, which can again cause bacteria to spread.

While bottled water is useful if you have no other alternative, it should not be a long-term option for your humidifier.

What kind of water is best to use?

It may seem that there is no good answer when choosing the right water for your humidifier. Luckily, there is one choice that can keep you safe and healthy while prolonging the life of your humidifier.

Distilled water is considered to be the optimal choice for humidifiers of all sizes. This is due to how it is treated and processed in a much more thorough way than other water types.

How is distilled water treated?

Distilled water is created by first boiling water until evaporation occurs. The minerals and other dissolved solids, which you would find in bottled water, remain in the original container. The steam is then left to cool down and condense into water again in a different container. This condensation is distilled water, with all the bacteria and corrosive minerals removed.

What are the health benefits of using distilled water?

Distilled water has a positive impact on the air quality of your home. You will not suffer from the white dust that is sometimes emitted from humidifiers that have mineral buildup and will avoid breathing mould spores and other contaminants. A humidifier using distilled water will also require less cleaning and has a reduced chance of breaking down, meaning you won’t be without it when you need it most such as during the cold winter months.

What are the benefits of using distilled water for your humidifier?

Utilising distilled water for your humidifier is suggested not only due to the clear health benefits but because you will be preserving the mechanisms of your humidifier and reducing the amount of maintenance you need to carry out. Due to the lack of minerals, including calcium, your humidifier is less likely to become encrusted with limescale or slime, as it would with other kinds of water. Overall, your humidifier will last longer and work more reliably when you use the right kind of water, that has been treated appropriately.

Keeping this in mind, for the efficacy and longevity of your humidifier, using distilled water at the correct temperature is essential. If you want to enjoy the full health benefits of your humidifier, filling it with only distilled water is the best way to avoid mould, bacteria, damaging particles and more.