What Type of Water Do You Use in a Humidifier?

A water humidifier is a great choice to control the air inside your home. While keeping a tab on your moisture levels can be a great idea, the purpose is defeated if the water quality ends up affecting the air quality. 

Not giving your humidifier the best conditions to function can not only reduce the life of your device but in turn end up compromising on the quality of air in your space causing more harm than good.

To give you the answer you’re looking for – you should always use distilled water in your humidifier for the best air quality and the best performance. Having given you the short end of it, read along to explore more about what kind of distilled water would be the best fit for you along with understanding the effects of using alternative water types.

What kind of water should you use in your humidifier?

As already discussed, distilled water is the way to go. Let’s understand a little more about why that’s the case. 

The difference between using distilled water and any other form that has not been distilled is the absence of minerals, bacteria and other particles. How exactly is this helpful? – In two primary ways.

Water is boiled and the vapours recalled to make distilled water. The evaporation process removes all the bacteria, dirt, minerals and other particles from the concentrate and the condensate of this process is what is used as distilled water. 

Firstly, the absence of dirt particles and minerals help your humidifier function better with a reduced scope of maintenance issues from accumulated dirt in your humidifier. Using water enriched in minerals, especially causes issues with your humidifier as these solids tend to dirty your humidifier. 

Additionally, there is also the possibility of dust and dirt inside your humidifier also creeps into the air that you breathe in. Typically called humidifier dust, these particles can be eliminated to a great extent if you use distilled water that is the purest form for your humidifier. 

Other than these issues, there is also the possibility of mold growing in your humidifier tank causing further degradation of air quality along with hampering the functioning of your water humidifier. Mold often grows with the presence of fungal spores. Using distilled water helps avoid this issue as well.

What happens if you use tap water in your humidifier?

By now, you have a hint that it is not recommended to use tap water for your water humidifier. Let’s talk about some major reasons for this. 

Build ups in your filter and mold in your humidifier are two undesirable outcomes that can reduce the quality of air you breathe. Even after frequent maintenance sessions, it reduces the longevity of your humidifier. 

Tap water contains both minerals and microorganisms, depending on the source of water. The dissolved mineral and other solid particles can cause significant scaling of deposits in your humidifier. This disrupts the process of humidification and obstructs consistent vapor formation to boost moisture levels accurately.

Scaling along with the presence of microorganisms can cause mold formation. Even the initial stages of budding fungal growth would affect the quality of air adversely. 

Issues with humidifier dust are caused by the impurities in tap water samples that consist of minerals and particles unsuitable for your humidifier. Despite these issues many still use tap water regularly in their humidifier.

If you want to use tap water with your humidifier, there are some things you can follow to avoid hampered functioning. Firstly, the humidifier needs to be cleaned frequently making sure that the filter doesn’t have any build-ups for a prolonged period. You can also try to ensure that the cartridge is demineralized to remove any mierals from the tap water. Despite these measures, using tap water might not be the best pick for your water humidifier for prolonged periods.

Can boiling the water help? 

A common question is whether boiling the water can help with avoiding the issues of hard water with your humidifier. The short answer to this is – No.

The primary issue that can be solved by using boiled water is killing bacteria or viruses that the sample might have. This would help combat issues of molding and fungal growth in the humidifier.

However, boiling the water does shoot up the mineral concentration in the sample as the evaporated water leaves less water in the sample for the same minerals present. How is this different from distillation? Boiling water involves using the same sample while distillation collects vapours leaving impurities behind. 

Thus, scaling due to mineral deposits might inadvertently increase if you use boiled water. While issues due to molding can be eliminated to a great extent with the use of boiled water, clean-ups for scaling issues would be required more frequently. 

Another very important aspect of picking boiled water for your humidifier is the temperature at which you use it. Be sure to give enough waiting time for the water to cool down before you use it for humidification.

The last thing you want is to pour hot water in your humidifier and damage the filter and other parts. This is one factor that can be time consuming, thus, making the logistics of using boiling water extremely difficult. 

What about bottled or filter water?

Is bottled water or pre-filtered water any different than using distilled water? Well, not really. Bottled water is manufactured to make it free from impurities and microorganisms, however, it still contains minerals.

In fact, “mineral water” as it is called, is actually enriched with minerals after the decontamination process of water. This makes it fit for drinking but not for your humidifier for the same reasons as discussed above. 

The dissolved minerals are likely to cause the same scaling issues with your humidifier causing build-ups that can be difficult to clean and get rid of in the long run. Having said that, if you’re out of distilled water and want to use something just for a short while, bottled water is the best bet out of the remaining options. A few uses won’t show any visible build-ups, as long as you switch back to distilled water as soon as possible.

What about filtered water? Again, better than tap water, but filtered water contains minerals too. It is, in fact, a rung lower than bottled water for use in a humidifier. The filtering process doesn’t remove all kinds of microorganisms which leave a window for microscopic impurities in your sample. Unsurprisingly, the minerals cause scaling issues, so it’s not a great option to go for.

Where to find the perfect water for your humidifier?

The next obvious question is where to find the right water for your humidifier and what are the names this would be available under. Where can you actually buy distilled water?

You can find distilled water sold by the gallon in any local store. Packaging that says “demineralized” or “purified” water can be picked up to use in your water humidifier. Many fret over the fact that buying distilled water can be quite expensive in the long run. 

If you’d rather not spend money on distilled water and you tend to overuse your humidifier, you can invest in a demineralization setup and use a filter system to convert your tap water to distilled water. 

In any case, make sure that your water humidifier is frequently cleaned and maintained well to ensure the best quality of air and the best operability of your water humidifier for the long run.

Some Best Practices for water in your humidifier 

Last but not least, a few best practices for water in your humidifier can go a long way in making your air quality as healthy as possible while also ensuring you use your humidifier correctly:

  • Avoid using water that is too hot with your humidifier. Hot water can allow more dissolved solids to seep into your system while also causing different mechanical parts to heat up and malfunction. 
  • Using water that is too cold can hamper the process as well. Cold water would make the humidification process less efficient making vaporization difficult. Thus, room temperature water is best suited.
  • Make sure you descale your humidifier regularly and carry out prompt maintenance from time to time. 
  • Rinse the tank after cleaning and change the filter of your water humidifier regularly.
  • Change the humidifier water as often as possible and keep the external areas around dry.