Humidify Me
January 24, 2005 10:36 PM   Subscribe

I need advice on a new humidifier. [MI]

I currently have a Vornado humidifier. I don't like a number of things about it, even though it does a very good job of humidifying the room.

1) The whole thing gets very dirty. After a few runs, the bottom becomes covered with a slightly slimy red growth. Even bleaching every time I clean it out doesn't keep it from coming back. That can't be good.

2) Overall, the wicks get mildew spots frequently. That also can't be good.

3) The water containers, though they last a long time, are troublesome to fill, and need to be filled in the bathtub, as they don't fit under the sink. I'd prefer something that needs to be filled more often, but is easier to fill.

Any suggestions on humidifiers that work well, but don't have the above problems?
posted by Caviar to Shopping (7 answers total)
Could the 'red growth' be iron? Do you have a well?

Sorry, no good answer on the actual question. I'm looking for a good one myself.
posted by bh at 3:57 AM on January 25, 2005

All humidifiers are going to give you the slimy red stuff unless you use distilled water. Even distilled water will have small amounts of trace minerals that will remain in the humidifier.

Read the instructions of your humidifier carefully. These things are high maintenance: cleaning is usually required after every use.

That said, we have a small Honeywell humidifier and the tank fits under the kitchen sink easily.
posted by achmorrison at 6:30 AM on January 25, 2005

Response by poster: I can't recall if there's any chemical reason why pouring bleach on iron would make it turn colorless (which it does). I guess I just assumed it was algae of some kind. I'm in Manhattan, so no well.

I've followed the cleaning instructions that say to rinse the unit several times during the season, and I've disinfected several times with bleach. I'm still getting black mold dots developing on brand new wicks.
posted by Caviar at 7:51 AM on January 25, 2005

One of the guys at 37signals had a post about a humidifier that he recommends. It's damn pricey - the smallest one is $220 at Bed Bath & Beyond - but it does sound like a good product.
posted by ssmith at 7:53 AM on January 25, 2005

What output are you looking for? I bought a Kenmore 11-gallon humidifier after reading up on a bunch of different ones, and I'm very happy with it. Also, the water tank has a side cap so that it fits very nicely under the kitchen faucet for refilling. Supposedly is one of the better performers for hard water too.

posted by chundo at 8:58 AM on January 25, 2005

They sell a product called "Bacteriostat" for humidifiers that works much better than bleach in mine.

Ours is from Sears, also Kenmore, similar to the one chundo linked to. Never any growth despite our hard water, but we do get a bad smell if we neglect the bleach / bacteriostat.
posted by mmoncur at 9:03 AM on January 25, 2005

One thing is that you want a cool air humidifier, especially if you have allergies, asthma, children, anyone sensitive to mold and/or bacteria. Warm air humidifiers are much more prone to bacteria growth. For the record, I have both a Venta and this Whole Home Humidifier. I am happy with both, but it depends on your space for how humid it will get. I live in a loft with 12ft ceilings, so nothing really makes this place as wet as I want it.
posted by scazza at 10:07 AM on January 25, 2005

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