Potential risks of a humidifier


A humidifier is an electronic device that is generally used to increase the humidity ratio or the moisture in the air either in a room or an entire building. A device built for in-home working is used to humidify a single room.

The HVAC system is the idea behind the working of such humidifiers. These are connected to the HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) environmental control system of a home or vehicle to achieve the goal of humidity ratio in the air.

HVAC is an important part of residential structures, family homes, buildings useful to regulate the temperature and humidity where safe and healthy building conditions are required, using fresh air from outdoors.

Many versions of humidifiers are available in the market as follows:

1. Industrial humidifiers
2. Portable humidifiers
3. Fixed-installation humidifiers

Industrial humidifiers are generally used to achieve a certain level of humidity to maintain the hygiene of the area, preserving the materials, or even build-up of static electricity. Portable humidifiers are available in a wide range based on size preference like table-top to floor-mounted. Fixed-installation humidifiers are used in large buildings as a part of a built system to maintain the desired humidity range as a purpose to maintain wooden furniture, materials stored and the health of the workers.

As easy and convenient as the humidifiers sound, they have many potential risks along with the perks. Every coin has two sides and the less attractive side of humidifiers are the problems caused by the mineral contents in the water.

It becomes essential to maintain hygiene when it comes to humidifiers as dirty humidifiers may lead to clogging and the settling of a white layer, which in turn affects the air on which the machine works.

The burn risk is higher in vaporizer humidifiers as there is a heating element that boils water and releases the steam into the environment.

If not cleaned on a daily basis this becomes the breeding ground for bacteria and mold.

Uncleaned reservoirs make it possible for the growth of bacteria and mold which becomes harmful for individuals; especially with breathing problems like asthma.

Even in healthy people, humidifiers trigger flu symptoms and lung infections when the contaminated steam is released onto the environment.

Certain small risks are steam burn, inhaling the mold-infected diffuser plate moisture. The humidifier involves maintenance and cleanliness as a part of usage and helps to maintain the level of relative humidity in the environment. The air stream, let out for humidifying purposes, gets infiltrated with microorganisms. The care taken while using a humidifier is the key to obtaining the maximum effects out of the device which essentially benefits us.

A recent term has been developed for the humidifier side effects called “humidifier fever” , a form of viral lung inflammation caused by the infected bacterial humidifiers. Inhaling these is as toxic to kids as it is to adults. The “white dust” inhalation over a prolonged period of time can cause lung injury as the build-up of calcium and magnesium is the reason for it. As mentioned earlier the untidy maintenance of any device can lead to serious issues, hence the regular cleaning becomes an imperative task.

The cleaning should be done thoroughly. The potential risk is some of the drawbacks of humidifiers usually occur when the water used is tap water, if the cleaning isn’t proper, and even when the heating coil is used for heating the water which is projected as a steam stream. Hence the risk is far more if not maintained and handled properly. In order to sum up, the humidifier is an essential device in a number of situations but when not handled wisely problems can escalate quickly causing health problems as well as damage to the machine. Finally, based on studies experts recommend evaporative and steam vaporizers as they release fewer microorganisms when compared to ultrasonic and cool-mist machines.