Humidifiers are designed to improve the quality of air in your home by adding moisture or humidity to the air.
The question of whether it is safe to leave a humidifier on when not at home relies on several factors like the type of humidifier that you are using, the relative humidity in the room or your home, the capacity of the humidifier, and how long you intend to leave the humidifier on while you are away.
So, is it safe to leave humidifier on when not home? The simple answer is yes and no. It is safe to leave a whole-house humidifier on whenever you are not at home but it is not safe to leave a portable humidifier on when you are not at home, especially if you will be away for more than 24 hours because most portable humidifiers need to be refilled after 24 hours.
If you want to leave your humidifier on for a longer duration or during the day while you are out of your home, ensure you understand the type of humidifier that you have first, its operation, and whether it can function seamlessly for longer durations without the need for constant attention.
In this pst we cover:
- Is It safe to leave humidifier on when not home?
- How long should you run a humidifier in a bedroom?
- Can I leave my Vicks humidifier on all night?
- Sleeping with humidifier risks
Is It Safe to Leave Humidifier on When not Home: Comprehensive Answer
Several factors can be used to determine whether you should leave your humidifier on when you are not at home.
Type of humidifier
Whole-house humidifier: Most whole-house humidifiers are connected to a water supply, which ensures that the humidifier can be used continuously.
For instance, bypass humidifiers generate moisture from the warm air generated by your furnace. The humidifier draws moisture from the warm air and the water trickles down the water panel and into the ductwork in your home. After that, the water is distributed in your home through the air supply in the form of humidity.
Other types of whole-house humidifiers might need to be connected to a water supply or water tank for them to work effectively. These humidifiers will draw water from the supply, convert it to mist or humidity and distribute it around your home.
Regardless of which type of whole-house humidifier you are using or plan to use in your home, it is important to ensure that the relative humidity in your home does not exceed the recommended levels.
Leaving a humidifier on in a home with high humidity levels can increase the risks of mold growth, wood rot, and surface damage.
If you have a whole-house humidifier you can run it continuously in your absence without worrying about damage or the water supply running out.
Portable humidifier: Portable humidifiers can also be left on as long as they are filled with water and are not left on for more than 24 hours.
Most portable humidifiers need to be refilled after 24 hours. If you are using a smaller portable humidifier, you might need to refill it more than once after every 24 hours depending on its capacity.
If you plan to leave your portable humidifier on while you are not at home, ensure that you check the capacity of your portable humidifier to ensure that the amount of water in the humidifier will be enough for the duration that you will not be at home.
The duration that you will be away from your home also matters when you are considering leaving the humidifier on. If you plan on going for a full-month vacation, leaving a whole-house humidifier on, will not pose any danger to your home.
However, you can opt to turn off the whole-house humidifier if you are unsure about your return date or if you do not monitor the humidity levels in your home regularly.
During summer, the relative humidity in most areas is usually high. As such, you can turn off your whole-house humidifier if you plan to travel to prevent humidity-related damage.
Both portable and whole-house humidifiers can be left on for 24 hours or during the day while you are at work.
The settings on your humidifier will help you regulate the humidity levels in your home. Adjusting the humidifier settings to regulate the amount of moisture released by the humidifier will reduce your risks of living in a home with very high humidity.
If you plan to leave your humidifier running while you are away, it is recommended to adjust the settings on your humidifier to low. A low humidity release setting will ensure that the room r home is humidified, while at the same time reducing the risks of saturating the air with humidity.
If you have been monitoring the humidity in your home consistently and it is within the recommended levels, then you can leave your humidifier on for several hours as long as it has enough water to run continuously throughout the time that you will be away.
Low Humidity (<40%): If the relative humidity in your home is below 40%, you can leave your humidifier on for prolonged hours to ensure that the air in your home is adequately humidified.
Low humidity levels in your home can lead to skin dehydration, which can cause irritation, increase your risks of acne, and contribute to eczema.
Using a humidifier in a home with low humidity levels will help you attain the recommended humidity levels in your home and reduce the risks of respiratory illnesses and dehydration-related skin damage.
Leaving a humidifier on if your home has low humidity levels will also ensure that you enjoy the air around your home when you walk in your home. As such, it can improve your respiratory health.
If you plan to be away from your home for several months, leaving a whole-house humidifier on will also protect your electronics from dry air damage.
Recommended Humidity Levels (40 to 55% or 60%): If the relative humidity within your home is between 40 to 55%, you do not necessarily need to leave your humidifier on when you are not at home.
If the relative humidity is towards the lower side, below 50%, you can leave your humidifier on for a few hours without worrying about over-saturating the air in your home with moisture.
The main consideration for leaving your humidifier on when the relative humidity is within the normal range is time because leaving the humidifier on for long periods can contribute to over-humidification of the air.
High Humidity Levels (above 60%): If the humidity in your home is above 60% RH, you should avoid using a humidifier regardless of whether you are at home or not.
Leaving a humidifier on when the relative humidity is already high will increase the risks of mold growth and promote water or moisture damage around your home.
You might also notice that the air around your home is moldy if the relative humidity is above 60% RH.
If you notice that the air in your home is moldy, assess the cause of the excess humidity and consider the use of a dehumidifier to get rid of the excess humidity.
How Long Should You Run a Humidifier in a Bedroom?
You should run a humidifier in a bedroom based on your needs and the humidity levels in the bedroom. If the bedroom has high levels of humidity, it is recommended to avoid using a humidifier or opt for a dehumidifier instead.
If the humidity levels in your bedroom are within the recommended levels (30 to 50% RH), you can run the humidifier for up to four hours continuously in your bedroom.
You can run your humidifier for longer hours if the amount of humidity released by the humidifier is relatively low or if the humidity levels in your home are lower than 40% RH.
Can I Leave My Vicks Humidifier on All Night?
Yes, you can leave your Vicks humidifier on all night. It is important to remember that your humidifier will only continue running successfully if it has water in it.
As such, if you plan to use your portable Vicks humidifier throughout the night, you should check the water levels in the humidifier several times during the night.
If the water in the humidifier runs out, you risk damaging your humidifier. If you are not unsure about your ability to wake up in the middle of the night to check on the humidifier, you should set the humidifier on the lowest setting.
The low setting on your humidifier will ensure that the amount of moisture released into the air is relatively low. This will ensure that the amount of water in the humidifier is not drained within a short time.
Sleeping with Humidifier Risks
Sleeping with a humidifier on can be risky if your home has high levels of humidity or if the water in your humidifier is not clean.
If your home has high levels of humidity, sleeping with a humidifier on will only increase the humidity levels in your room and make the air dewy and possibly moldy.
Similarly, not emptying your humidifier regularly will also make the water in your humidifier dirty and increase your risks of breathing in microbes that had accumulated and later on expelled in the air by the humidifier.
Risks of too much humidity and inhalation of moldy air or microbe-filled air include asthma, allergies, fungal sinusitis, skin rashes, and other respiratory illnesses.
Related read: Can a humidifier cause mold?
In summary, it is safe to leave a humidifier on when you are not at home as long as you consider factors like the type of the humidifier you are using, its water supply, how long you will be away from your home, and the current humidity levels in your home.
If you notice that the humidity in your home is relatively low throughout the year, you can leave a whole-house humidifier running without worrying about dealing with high humidity levels when you get back.
A great tip when planning to leave your whole-house humidifier on for a long time is to ensure that it is well maintained. This will reduce the risks of mold-related damage that can ruin your ceiling and walls.
If you are using a portable humidifier and you plan to leave it on for several hours while you are away, ensure that the humidifier is filled with clean water and regulate the amount of moisture released by the humidifier.