Best TYPE of humidifier

Marc Morfei

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I need to get a room humidifier. We have a whole-house one, but it's just not good enough. I need to get one for my guitar room. What is the best type for this purpose? I have researched this a few times before and always get confused. Cool mist or warm mist? Evaporative or ultrasonic? I want something fairly large so I don't have to refill it constantly. Quiet, because it's my practice room. Relatively easy to clean and refill. Not too godawful ugly if possible. Thanks for suggestions.
 
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Chuckster

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Same... I'll be watching.

I bought one a few years back and all it did was leave a fine white dust all over the room.

Interested to hear about the correct type, brand, and model.
 

Telekarster

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FWIW we run 2 heater evap type humidifiers in our home, each one is about 2.5 gallons, and we refill them about twice a day. One is in the living room, one is in the music room (about 30 feet apart from each other), and between the 2 of them they keep the house pretty well humidified. We wanted to install a whole house but couldn't justify the cost/maint. associated with that sort of thing. We didn't want a cool water type due to the extra maint they require to keep mold etc. from forming, filter changing, etc. In the end, we went with the evap type and have been using them for several years now. Every once in a while I have to clean them with distilled vinegar to remove the calcium that builds up on the heater, but meh... it's not really all that in the end.
 

That Cal Webway

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Def don't get one that you have to use replaceable filters!!

I have an under $30 one I got at Walmart that does gd for my music room, about 12x12.
(And I do have a good humidity gauge).
 

Telekarster

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Def don't get one that you have to use replaceable filters!!

I have an under $30 one I got at Walmart that does gd for my music room, about 12x12.
(And I do have a good humidity gauge).

Oh yeah! I forgot to mention the humidity gauge. We have one of those too. It's amazing just how hard it can be to get a house to the correct humidity, but you don't really know that until you get a gauge to help monitor that ;)
 

zimbo

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The mostly all have white dust even the expensive ones. I like the old ones with a water wheel and fan.
 

Rich_S

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We use the 1-gallon steam type, but we fill them with distilled water to keep them from gunking up with mineral deposits. I suppose the cool-mist ones would work without leaving white dust everywhere if you used them with distilled water, as well.

The distilled water is kind of expensive (about a buck a gallon and we go through about about 4 gallons a day for three humidifiers. It's a bit of a pain, going to Target or wherever a couple times a week and rolling out of the store with a cart containing 10 or 12 gallons of water.

I keep one set on "low" in my 11' x 10' office/studio and it keeps the guitars' setups from changing noticeably. The one down in the living room is on high all the time.
 

DocG

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The ultrasonic humidifiers, AKA cool mist ones, will create white dust, presumably from minerals in the tap water. I guess if you fill them with demineralized or distilled water they won't produce the dust, but around here distilled water costs a buck a gallon.

I'm using an evaporative humidifier, which uses a fan to suck moist air through a wicking filter. The filter traps the minerals and eventually gets stiff with buildup, stops wicking and must be replaced. The useful life of a filter depends on the mineral content of the water. Filters are not cheap, but I feel they're worth it as they keep the air moist so I can keep the guitars out of their cases and quick to grab when inspiration strikes, and they keep the minerals out of my lungs.
 

Boreas

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I would recommend evaporative unless you have a maid to dust for you. I would recommend a floor "console" type that typically run about $150+. Most have 2 plastic canisters you fill at the tap, but you can usually fill them with a hose or bucket. The canisters usually hold about 2.5 gallons each. I use mine as a whole-house unit, but I have a small house. In a closed room, you wouldn't have to fill it very often, so you should also consider an additive to minimize mold or bacteria. Smaller units may also work well, but just require more frequent filling.
 

JL_LI

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It’s cold as a witch’s, you know what today. It’s cold and dry inside. A pot of boiling water on the stove distributed heat and the added moisture that made it comfortable.
 

telemnemonics

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I've used all types including running the big consoles in a cabinet shop, and bought one of those for home but it was too big for my purposes, better to have smaller ones in a multi room dwelling.
Electrostatic I didn't like for a number of reasons including they don't last all that long.
Evaporative with a fan and filter or drum, is what I find best long term machines.
Buying filters seems annoying yet the machine works great and you can buy the filters online much cheaper than at CVS where I bought my last machine and where every damn thing is twice the price as the grocery store which doesn't carry the vicks filters.
I've run small filter type machines for almost ten years and only retire them when the motor gets a bit noisy and they look a bit messy from repeated cleaning.

Certainly need a mold deterrent, in the woodshop we used cheaper bleach but that has an odor so at home I use H2O2, a good dash with every fill.
And a new filter, maybe three per season.
 

Milspec

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The reality is that the wicking type are the workhorses of the humidification world and the Aircare brand is the most reliable ones out there. Simply purchase the size to match the room needs.

I run a 5 gallon unit on the first floor and one on the second floor...keeps my 2.5 story at 40% with the furnace running all day. I go through filters once per month and refill the unit twice per week. Filters aren't the cheapest local, but online they are pretty cheap in bulk.

In my converted bedroom / studio, I just run a 2.5 gallon unit that needs refilling 1-2 times per week and maintains the humidity at 45% in a 12x12 room.

I have been operating this way for the past 8 years and it gets me through the winter without worry. They are basic engineering and very reliable solutions.
 

telemnemonics

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FWIW we run 2 heater evap type humidifiers in our home, each one is about 2.5 gallons, and we refill them about twice a day. One is in the living room, one is in the music room (about 30 feet apart from each other), and between the 2 of them they keep the house pretty well humidified. We wanted to install a whole house but couldn't justify the cost/maint. associated with that sort of thing. We didn't want a cool water type due to the extra maint they require to keep mold etc. from forming, filter changing, etc. In the end, we went with the evap type and have been using them for several years now. Every once in a while I have to clean them with distilled vinegar to remove the calcium that builds up on the heater, but meh... it's not really all that in the end.
You mean ten gallons of water per day goes into your house air?
Wow!
My machine does maybe one gallon a day but I'm also a gardener nutcase and bring in 80-100 potted plants for winter, which evaporate a good measure of water plus clean the air.
It really does take a good amount of water though, we can't see how much water is in the normal to humid summer air.

I've run lots of evaporative but never "heater evap".
Is it also a heater or it uses heat to speed the evaporation?
Mine always just use a fan to force air through a wet wick/ filter/ mesh or whatever the unit uses. The big drums use something like a 3M scrubber pad several feet long wrapped around a rotating drum that submerges to get wet then moves past the fan near the top air outlet.
 

Marc Morfei

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OK thanks everyone. Based on a couple very sensible comments above, I went with the Aircare evaporative humidifier. It seemed the advantage of this type are: quiet, no dust, no need for distilled water, no visible "mist" that might turn into condensation. Yes there is a filter to change but that's what allows you to use tap water. The downside is they are bigger so take up more space in a small room. But they have larger tanks so you can refill less often. Actually I ended up buying two, a small one for the guitar room and a bigger one for the living room. We'll see how it works out.
 

Telekarster

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You mean ten gallons of water per day goes into your house air?
Wow!
Yep! In a 24 hr period, for sure. Especially this time of year, with winter months and all. And even at that rate it's barely enough to keep the house at 45% humidity, which is the industry standard as I understand it. We're not religous about it or anything like that, but yeah... it certainly makes a difference and it's noticable when they're not working at optimum level.
s it also a heater or it uses heat to speed the evaporation?
Basically they've got a little water proof heater in em and all they're really doing is boiling the water and releasing the steam. It's sort of like the old school way of putting a pail of water on the stove, but much more efficent and not nearly as dangerous. They're nothing special really, can be had at most stores I think, but they work for us vs. more expensive options like whole house etc. Because the water is boiled they don't require filters and there's not really any chance of mold or mildew etc. in the machine because of the heat/steam. They're pretty maint. free, except for the occasional cleaning with distilled vinegar to remove calcium build up.

Some have mentioned distilled water usage - Yeah... that is the sensable water to use. We did that for quite a while but it became a real PITA to keep that much of it on hand, and it gets expensive. Eventually we just started using our softened tap water. Of course that means we have to clean out the units from calcium build up occasionally, but it's not that bad of a job so... we're ok with that vs. storing/running to get gallons of distilled water ;)
 
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Marc Morfei

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I thought I'd report back, after starting this thread. Went with the Aircare evaporative humidifier. It's pretty big, and has a 2-gallon capacity. On the low setting, I have to refill every 2 days. It's pretty easy to refill, so no trouble there. It is whisper quiet. You can set the desired humidity level, and it tells you when it's empty. I have it in a medium-size room, and running continuously on low it raises the humidity in the room by about 10%. If I turned it up higher it would raise it more, but then I'd have to refill it every day instead of every other. The built-in hygrometer is misleading. It's measuring the humidity at the unit itself, which is skewed because that's where it's pumping out the humidity. I put a hygrometer on the opposite side of the room and it was way, way less. Still more than the rest of the house. I have no idea how the filter life will be. My water is very hard. All in all I'd say I'm satisfied, and I would buy it again.

IMG_9258 (1).jpg
 




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