Winter is the best time to enjoy cups of your favorite coffee while plopping onto the soft couch. However, there may be some unusual health risks associated with it. The weather can make the air dry, which causes itchy skin, dry eyes, congested sinuses, and cracked lips. That’s why you need an excellent humidifier to achieve quality indoor air. It can also protect the overall structure of your home. Those with respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma) and allergies would specifically benefit from owning this small unit.
But what happens if your humidifier gets short or runs out of water? Let’s say you have a few bottles of water at home. You merely have to grab one, fill up the humidifier reservoir, and voila! However, there is more story you should know.
Can You Use Bottled Water in a Humidifier?
There’s a continuing debate about the use of bottled water in a humidifier. Some indicate it can cause scale buildup inside the device due to the dispersed minerals and destructive pathogens contained. Therefore, not the best type of water to consider for your humidifier. Though, others assure it is much safer compared to regular tap water. Just be sure it is entirely free from inorganic components and minerals.
The Problem With Using Bottled Water in a Humidifier
It doesn’t matter whether you own the best quality or most expensive humidifier. If the type of water you’re using is not up to scratch, you’ll still become vulnerable to winter diseases.
Bottled water is considered a good alternative and may not pose a severe health risk. However, it can potentially carry toxic elements in the air. The risk multiplies if the tank of your humidifier is unclean. Bacteria, mold, and other offensive things might start to develop and spread – eventually causing long-term health issues. Bottled water adds further safety concerns since you don’t have a clear idea of where it was made.
Several brands claim that their packed water bottle comes from pure, clean underground sources. Though, you may still notice some mineral residues within the water. It is generally safe for the human body but is not deemed the safest alternative in filling humidifiers. When diffused as mist, the mineral traces will stream as white, fine dust. And you know how hazardous this white dust to your health is.
It ends up on the floor, furniture, wall, and other areas of your home. Once you get contact with any of it, symptoms such as breathing strain and sneezing will likely trigger. Respiratory complications would further aggravate.
Although, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should avoid using bottled water for good. You can still have some for your unit, but ensure always to keep it clean and dry out completely. And as have mentioned, the package label should indicate it is 100% organically sourced from natural spring.
Can You Use Tap Water?
Tap water is much more convenient as it is available in most residential properties. However, it contains a lot of minerals, which makes it less ideal for humidifiers. Zinc, fluoride, and other impurities are present, although it depends on the area where you live.
There are also pathogens and bacteria in the water. Those who are strictly conscious about sanitary due to allergies would surely not appreciate tap water. These contaminants will quickly disperse to your room. Scale buildup is another concern to watch out for. It leads to improper functioning of the unit.
If you own a CPAP machine, the use of tap water is never suitable. It is a dangerous option. Why? Mold, bacteria, and mineral residues tend to overgrow and enter the lungs of a person. You may suffer from a severe respiratory problem. Worse, people with current health complications can further alleviate the issue.
The Best Water for Humidifiers
Despite the type of humidifier you own at home, it is essential to use clean water sources. As an alternative to bottled water, experts recommend using distilled or purified water.
1. Distilled Water
Distilled water is often confused with purified water. It is true that distilled is a type of purified water. The process of heating is what makes the two distinct from one another. Distilled, as its name suggests, undergoes a distillation process to remove harmful contaminants and chemicals.
These could be anything from viruses and bacteria to protozoa and sulphate. There is hardly an accumulation of minerals. It stops mold and bacteria from developing and spreading out in the humidifier. Hence, a much healthier option. Especially ideal for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions. Those with certain cancers can benefit, as well.
Its purity makes distilled water a must-have in medical equipment, laboratories, and even in your humidifier. Pediatricians also recommend using it. Another best thing about this type of water is its affordability and convenience. One gallon of it might only allow you to spend a dollar.
You can find it at a local supplier or neighborhood. Pour the water directly into the reservoir, and you will have clean, high-quality indoor humidity. But in some areas, distilled water is either unavailable or comes at a hefty price tag. What you need here is the proper equipment to make distilled water for the humidifier at home and worry less. There are also automatic water distillers to save yourself from the exhausting labor.
2. Purified Water
Purified water is processed or filtered to get rid of toxins, chemicals, and other impurities. These include parasites, fungi, bacteria, and metals such as lead. It is commonly produced with tap water or groundwater. The process of purifying the water varies greatly from one country to another. An international standard or government regulation is being followed.
However, some countries implement strict water regulations. Sedimentation, disinfection, and filtration are among the several methods used for making the water safe.
When used in a humidifier, purified water could also prevent health issues. People with cold or flu can find a healthy aid using it. Mainly if you’re living in an arid area, you will need a clean water source for utmost comfort.
Some homeowners add scented oils to the water, which should not be the case. Avoid adding soaps or water softeners as you are exposing yourself to chlorine and other harsh chemical gases. Your lungs will be at higher risk. Just use plain water only, nothing too fancy.
Whichever type of water you use – distilled or purified – you will also prolong the life of your humidifier. It is an added benefit that many are unaware of. That’s because minerals cause scale buildup and crisp deposits. Microorganisms use it as a breeding ground. Clogging may likely occur and thus, reducing the life of humidifiers. Getting a brand-new unit is more costly than buying distilled or purified water, right?
In case there is no distilled or purified available in your area, you can also use demineralized water. The process involves deionization, which eliminates contaminants with a filter. So, you have water that is entirely free from microorganisms, impurities, and unsafe minerals. Still, it will depend on the number of processes the water runs through.
Is Cold or Hot Water Better for a Humidifier?
Cold and hot water are mutually useful in moistening the air. But talking about safety, cold water is best for children, babies, and pets. It will reduce the possibility of burn and pain. Moreover, the FDA states that cold vapor is much more breathable and stimulating. Placing hot water in the tank may cause internal parts to tire out quickly. It will affect the humidifier durability and lead to expensive replacement or repair.
Why Does the Water in a Humidifier Turn Black?
Low-quality water is the most common reason for those black particles. Using tap water, for example, will leave black-colored mineral residues as the water molecules get vaporized off. So, be wary of the type of water you are using. Use whether distilled, demineralized, or purified water since they don’t have mineral by-products.