Disadvantages of a Humidifier – Know Before You Buy

Humidifiers are handy devices used to maintain the humidity levels in the air by transforming water into airborne moisture. This helps add humidity to a certain space or area, creating an environment that’s healthy and comfortable for you and your family.

These appliances come with a wide range of benefits to your health, such as relieving irritation of respiratory systems, and of skin and eyes caused by excessively dry air. They can also ease some symptoms caused by the common cold or the flu.

However, with all the benefits humidifiers offer, they also have their drawbacks. It’s important to know the negative effects of a humidifier since it will help you make an education decision regarding whether the humidifier is appropriate for your home

1. Maintenance Can Be Tedious

Maintenance of a humidifier

Humidifiers need a great deal of maintenance since they require regular and thorough cleaning. This can be a lot of extra work for you especially if you’re someone who’s already on a tight schedule. The base and tank of your humidifier should be emptied, rinsed and dried every day, and it should be disinfected with a 10% bleach solution at least once a week to make sure bacteria won’t breed.

It’s also important to check the filters and the cartridges of your humidifier regularly to make sure they’re functioning well, making sure to change them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Taking good care of your humidifier is essential if you want it to last longer.

If you feel like you won’t be able to put in the time and effort to maintain it properly, you might want to think twice about getting a humidifier.

2. Condensation

condensation on a window

Although humidifiers are excellent options for fighting dry air by boosting humidity levels in your home, they can easily be overused, creating a new problem – condensation.

If you’ve noticed water droplets forming on the inside of your windows, it’s because your indoor humidity is too high in comparison to the outdoor temperature. Sometimes, the water can freeze on the glass in a thin sheet of ice during the cold season, and when the problem is extremely severe, you will most likely see condensation form on ceilings and walls as well. This could possibly be happening in other areas of your house that are usually unseen like inside your walls or in your attic.

The danger of condensation is that excessive moisture build-up can lead to rotting wood and other damage. If your home is sealed and insulated well, this problem is less likely to develop but if not, you’ll need to track and manage your indoor humidity levels, especially throughout the winter.

3. Excessive Growth of Mold and Mildew


Apart from condensation, running a humidifier in your home continuously can create an environment deal for the growth of mold and mildew on your ceiling, walls and upholstery. Humidifiers are one of the most common factors of mold growth in households according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which recommends not using them if your home or the area where you plan to use them doesn’t have adequate ventilation.

Mold can cause an unpleasant ‘musty’ smell in your home, discoloring surfaces as it grows. It’s also responsible for causing certain health issues when fragments of it or spores are inhaled. A humidifier may not be a great device to keep in the house if anyone in your family has allergies or irritated respiratory systems since excess moisture in the air can cause rapid growth of mold.

4. Can Be Noisy

Noisy humidifier

Another disadvantage of humidifiers is that some models are extremely noisy with noise outputs of 50 decibels or louder. This can be a problem if you want to use your humidifier in a quiet area like the bedroom, since the noise can disrupt your usual sleep patterns unless you’re someone who likes sleeping with background noise.

Fan humidifiers have running fans that tend to create a soft droning noise which can be either barely noticeable or quite loud depending on the humidifier settings. Bypass humidifiers are less noisy than fan humidifiers, but they still do product some noise duration operation. Steam humidifiers, on the other hand, are excellent options since they operate silently so they won’t cause any disturbance while you sleep.

5. Health Issues

Health issues from humidifier

While humidifiers are known to help ease the symptoms of certain health conditions like skin problems and breathing difficulties, they can cause serious health issues when overused. Some of the most common health issues due to high humidity include dehydration, fatigue, muscle cramps or heat stroke.

In addition to this, excess moisture creates the perfect conditions for certain microorganisms like viruses and bacteria to live and grow. Respiratory inflammation and allergies are some common health risks of excess moisture in the air. If you’re someone who already suffers from allergies or asthma, you might be at high risk for allergic reactions. It’s important to take these key points into consideration before you buy a new humidifier for your home or get the one you have out of its box.

6. Burn Injuries


One of the most common risks associated with using humidifiers is burn injuries. Yes, this isn’t one that many people think about. This is mainly for the variety of humidifiers which emits water as steam.

They’re also among the most affordable and easily available type of humidifiers. What happens is that as the water is converted into steam, it uses up a lot of heat, which warms up the unit. Children will sleep deeply and comfortably because of the warmth but it’s extremely risky and can cause house fires if it comes in contact with flammable materials. They can also burn themselves if they touch the unit.

It’s important to take special care especially if you have children in the house and they should never be allowed to handle these devices.

Wrapping Up…

As with all things, humidifiers also come with several disadvantages. However, these are easily solved if they’re taken into account and catered to. Choosing the right humidifier model is important, as it allows you to bypass many of these issues.

Although these appliances have their drawbacks, there are always solutions to the problems they cause. A word to the wise: Just be careful not to overuse your humidifier nor under-use it as well, if you want the most effective usage. Purchase a high-quality humidifier that operates smoothly and safely.

For most humidifier-uses, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. To learn more about humidifiers, check out our articles on how to choose a humidifier and the difference between humidifiers and diffusers.

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