Can Humidifiers Cause Mold? Your Questions Answered!
Humidifiers are a useful device designed to add moisture to the air in your home. Many people choose to use them to improve their comfort and decrease dryness in the air. One problem that frequently occurs though is humidifier mold.
It’s unclear to many homeowners whether or not this is an issue. But, can humidifiers cause mold and how much do we need to worry about this problem?
The goal of this guide is to help you better understand the risks of humidifiers and mold and what you can do to prevent it from becoming a problem for you and your family.
Do Humidifiers Cause Mold?
The humidifier itself does not cause mold. What causes mold is a lack of maintenance on your humidifier. If it’s not properly maintained and used, it can create an environment where mold will thrive.
Mold requires moisture and dampness and too much moisture in the air and on surfaces will cause mold to grow.
One common mistake is allowing water to sit in the humidifier for extended periods without cleaning or changing it. Stagnant water becomes a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, which can then be released into the air when the humidifier is in use.
Additionally, if the humidifier’s water tank or filters are not cleaned regularly, they can become contaminated with mold spores, which can then be dispersed into the air as well.
Is Mold in Humidifiers Dangerous?
The presence of mold in any form can be dangerous but this is primarily a risk for people with respiratory issues, allergies, or a weak immune system. When mold spores are released into the air from the humidifier, they can be inhaled which leads to respiratory infections.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Some of the most common symptoms of mold exposure are:
- Itchy eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Throat irritation
- Skin rashes
Keep in mind that these symptoms can come on rather quickly even with a brand new humidifier. Do not expect these risks to not apply to you even if you just purchased the humidifier.
How to Prevent Humidifier Mold?
That said, how do you prevent humidifier mold from building up in your home? There are a number of things you can do.
Clean it Regularly
Regular cleaning is crucial to prevent mold and bacterial growth in your humidifier. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting the unit.
Typically, this involves emptying and rinsing the water tank daily, wiping down the surfaces with a mild detergent or vinegar solution, and periodically deep-cleaning the unit with a bleach or hydrogen peroxide solution to kill any existing mold or bacteria.
Monitor Humidity Levels
The EPA recommends a humidity level between 30-50% inside your home. By keeping the levels between this range, you’re helping to reduce the likelihood of mold exposure. Remember that if the moisture level is between these numbers, you don’t need to use a humidifier because your home is humid enough.
Using a hygrometer, which is a device that measures humidity, can help you monitor and adjust the humidity levels accordingly. If the humidity becomes too high, it may be necessary to reduce the use of the humidifier or increase ventilation in the room.
How to Clean Your Humidifier
Cleaning your humidifier regularly is essential to prevent mold and bacteria growth. Here’s a simple step-by-step on how to clean your humidifier:
- Unplug and disassemble the humidifier.
- Empty and rinse the water tank thoroughly.
- Clean or replace the filter, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Disinfect the tank and removable parts with a solution of vinegar and water or bleach and water.
- Scrub the interior surfaces and rinse all parts with clean water.
- Wipe the exterior of the humidifier.
- Allow all parts to air dry completely.
- Reassemble the humidifier and test it before use.
Can humidifiers cause mold? They sure can, but there are many things you can do to prevent it. You shouldn’t have to worry about the air quality in your home in the first place.
At Southwest Heating and Cooling, we’re not just HVAC technicians and installers. Our ultimate goal is to help everyone live more comfortably inside their home and that includes air quality and humidity control tests.
We can test your air to ensure it’s at a comfortable level for your home and your family. Let us help with your indoor air quality today!