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Dangers of Humidifiers

The use of ultrasonic humidifiers remain unrestricted, despite the dangers associated with it.

Date:   2/16/2019 6:53:47 PM   ( 3 y ) ... viewed 296 times

Impurities existing in tap water, as well as microbes harbored due to stagnant water in the unit are responsible for the risks posed by humidifiers when dampening the environment. These impurities, which are simply mineral deposits in tap water, forms a layer of white powder over surfaces when circulated, which later provides a breeding ground for microbes. In an ultrasonic humidifier, which does not make use of heat, microbes are likely to breed within the equipment and are disseminated alongside the required vapor. Hence, residents touch base directly with these impurities as the humidifier is used, which may result in health risks such as breathing infections. Asthma patients and others suffering from lung illnesses are more vulnerable to the side-effects of ultrasonic humidifiers. Parents commonly use them to soothe infants’ troubles resulting from cold and cough, not knowing that its impurities can cause respiratory problems in them. Increased humidity indoors also supports the growth of molds on surfaces, which in turn poses a health hazard for occupants.

Electric shock is a common hazard associated with every electrical equipment, and touching the appliance frequently, perhaps to switch it on or off, while it is still connected to a power source is risky enough. A precautionary step would be to keep kids and pets off the equipment to guard against such occurrences. The operation of the appliance generates a high level of heat within it which may cause burns when touched.

Outcome of studies carried out by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) confirm the dissemination of impurities and microorganisms into the air indoors, which is definitely something to worry about. This however, requires advance study to get more facts on the matter.

Ways to Lower the Hazards Related with Humidifiers

A few preventive measures could help to minimize the health hazards identified with the use of humidifiers. The following tips are captured from recommendations issued by the U.S. EPA on the use of this equipment.

  • Use distilled water rather than tap water in a humidifier. Water with low mineral composition would eradicate the possibility of having white powder on home surfaces.
  • Cleaning of a humidifier properly and frequently would help reduce microbial activity in it which gets disseminated in the air.
  • Avoid keeping water in the unit for long periods, as it will become polluted and its use will certainly pollute the indoor air.
  • Relative humidity levels should be kept at 50% maximum. Any more and mold growth would be supported from the indoor air being too humid.
  • Routine maintenance of the appliance should be done by following the guidelines on the manufacturer’s manual.
  • Special attention should be given to people suffering from asthma, as they are more likely to be affected by the use of this appliance.
  • Should a person develop signs of respiratory difficulties or other health issues, contact a physician immediately.

Cleaning Guidelines for a Humidifier

Ultrasonic humidifiers consists of a vibrating metallic diaphragm with a frequency preset to transform water into tiny droplets which are dispersed in air as cool mist. These humidifiers also operate without noise which is an added advantage to its type. Humidifiers are comprised of a water storage tank, an ultrasonic component and a vaporizer which releases the cold mist. High humidity levels encourage the growth of microbes and contaminated water in the tank could breed bacteria which would get circulated in the environment. There is also the risk of spewing minerals from the tap water throughout the house, which forms a layer of white dust on everything. Therefore, cleaning of the appliance regularly is a requirement to remain in good working conditions. The steps listed below address just that.

  • Disassemble the Unit

Unplug the humidifier to disconnect it from the power source. Disassemble its many parts including the storage tank, vaporizer and others.

  • Clean the Reservoir and Tank

A thin, greasy film may be noticed on the inside surface of the storage tank showing that the water has remained unchanged for a while. This indicates the presence of bacteria breeding in the tank. Empty the tank and pour in some unmixed white vinegar. Spread the vinegar across the insides of the tank and leave it for 20 minutes. An alternative to vinegar would be chlorine bleach.

The ultrasonic humidifier tank also requires similar cleaning. After using the pure vinegar, add diluted vinegar in it and let be for 30 minutes. Scrub the film on the reservoir and tank surface with a soft brush. For any stains or scales resulting from hard water, you may use a toothbrush to scrub. Rinse with warm tap water. Repeat if required.

  • Clean the Vaporizer

Soak the vaporizer in a solution of either vinegar or chlorine bleach and water. Scrub with soft brush and clean after 30 minutes.

  • Fill the Tank

Now fill your clean humidifier with clean and cold water, preferably distilled water which is purest. Filtered water also reduces impurities and as such can also be used. Reassemble the many parts of the appliance and return it to its place, then reconnect to the power source.

For your ultrasonic humidifier to always remain clean, ensure water is replaced daily so it does not remain stagnant over long periods. The above cleaning procedure should also be followed once weekly at least.

The use of ultrasonic humidifiers remain unrestricted, despite the few dangers associated with it. Regular cleaning of the appliance as well as using water having low minerals make it safe enough to be used in homes to maintain a relaxed residence.

 

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