When you’re fighting a battle against dry air in your home, a humidifier is a very useful tool. However, if not properly cleaned, humidifiers can become a breeding ground for mold, allergens, respiratory irritants and bacteria. A dirty and wet unit can also worsen asthma and cause flu-like symptoms, so keep your humidifier clean with these tips.
Daily cleaning helps prevent mold growth in your humidifier. Empty the water reservoir daily and use soap and hot water to wash it. If you see mold or scales in the reservoir, scrub them with a brush and soap.
For the tank, empty water and rinse thoroughly with a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide. Then, refill the tank with distilled water if possible, since tap water contains minerals that can build up and become a breeding ground for microorganisms.
Cleaning your humidifier daily helps prevent mold, but a more thorough weekly cleaning is required to remove buildup. To do this, you need to add two cups of white vinegar to your water tank, add water and then run the unit for 30 minutes in a well-ventilated area. Once 30 minutes have passed, dump the water/vinegar mixture, rinse your tank and refill. Afterwards, run for several minutes to remove any lingering vinegar.
Removing Built-Up Mold
If you haven’t been performing daily and weekly maintenance and your humidifier has a heavy buildup of mold, you need to use stronger cleaning agents. Fill your tank with a 50/50 mixture of bleach and water, and then go outside for half an hour. Bleach is toxic, so make sure you rinse your unit extremely well. You can flush the filter by running your unit for several more minutes in a well-ventilated area.
Replacing Filters and Humidifiers
Before you store your humidifier, discard any used filters, since mold and other allergens can accumulate on them when they’re not in use. Buy new filters to ensure everything is clean and mold-free. If you can’t clean the mold from your unit by following the suggested procedures, replace it.
You can find the answers to all of your home humidity questions by contacting Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing in the Grand Traverse area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about humidifiers and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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