A humidifier is the best solution to solve the problem of dry air. It helps moisturize the air and eliminates several health problems that are most frequently present during the winter. But, depending on how often you clean your humidifier, there is a chance you may be inhaling harmful organisms instead. So, what’s the deal and how can you remedy it?
Holmes H1709PDQ-U Humidifier Bacteriostatic Treatment
BestAir 3BT Bacteriostatic Water Treatment
Sunbeam Humidifier Water Treatment
Humid environments are often the favorite of bacteria, mold and other microorganisms that are dangerous to our health. Cleaning the humidifier on a regular basis (and as often as possible) will eliminate these problems. There is such a thing called “humidifier fever” which causes inflammations in the lungs once bacteria have been inhaled. If you’re already having troubles with asthma, inhaling bacteria coming to the humidifier will only make it worse. While you may think that cleaning the humidifier once a week is enough, specialists say that it’s best to clean it every day or, at least once every three days.
Proper scrubbing is important, as you need to make sure there are no deposits remaining on the sides of the water tank. It is also recommended that you use dish soap and hot water when cleaning and avoid using harsh chemicals as much as possible. It is no secret that distilled water is the best choice for refilling the water tank. However, distilled water costs about $1 per gallon, so the overall cost of using the humidifier rises significantly. Because of this, many people prefer to use regular tap water which, unfortunately, may contain microorganisms that are later released in the air you breathe.
We buy humidifiers because we need to keep the air inside our home to a humidity level of approximately 50%. We buy them because we need to solve a problem. However, not properly cleaning your unit can lead to several other problems, so you can understand why frequent maintenance is important.
As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to check the user manual of your specific humidifier model, as most big brands will give specific instructions on how to handle your machine, how to take it apart, clean it and put it back together. But we’re going to give you some general advice on how to do that, just in case you misplaced your user manual:
As mentioned before, bacteriostatic treatment is a great way to prolong the life of your humidifier and keep it clean. Generally speaking, these solutions will control the rate at which bacteria and algae grow inside the water tank, but they won’t keep them from ever forming, so cleaning every once in a while is still required. Since they are mostly made of chemicals, they can be toxic, depending on the concentration of each active ingredient. It’s important to handle them with care and only add recommended amounts of solutions per each water gallon inside the tank. Too much solution can lead to the humidifier dispersing a harmful mist, and using too little will be inefficient. As we’ve come to learn, bacteriostatic treatments also prolong the life of your wick/filter considerably, so that’s a triple win for you.
As with all products, some treatments are better than others, so we’ve looked into the ones currently available on the market to give you a clear overview of what each of them does.
What’s the best air humidifier treatment? Let’s find out!
Contrary to what the name suggests, the H1709PDQ-U is not just for Holmes humidifiers. It works with pretty much any humidifier that blows air through a wet filter. That’s because it’s used to keep the filter clean. It’s true that it leaves a small odor the first time you put it into the water, but it goes away about half an hour after you’ve started using the humidifier. Just add a cap of solution each time you refill the water tank and you’re good to go. Aside from its antibacterial properties, the H1709PDQ-U also keeps the water tank clean for a longer period of time. Once you start using it, you’ll notice that cleaning frequency drops.
Basically, this product will reduce the number of algae and bacteria which is normally formed in cool mist humidifiers. As you may already know, a cool mist humidifier provides a much better environment for bacteria to thrive in, compared to warm mist humidifiers that heat up water and eliminate a high number of bacteria in the process. Long story short: this product comes with three major benefits for its buyer. It prolongs the life of your wick/filter, it reduces the need for frequent tank cleaning and it makes sure that the water inside the tank is healthier before being released in the form of a fine mist.
Cool mist humidifiers often use wicks as part of their water filtering systems. These wicks are always kept in cool water, favoring the formation of all sorts of bacteria mildew. Because of that, changing the filter on a frequent basis is needed. By adding about a cap of H1709PDQ-U to every gallon of water or so, you will notice that the wick stays cleaner for a longer period of time. You will notice a visible improvement in the quality of the mist released from the humidifier after using this product.
Essick 1970 is certainly a customer favorite as far as bacteriostatic treatments for humidifiers are concerned. If you own an evaporative humidifier, this may just become your new best friend. The Essick helps eliminate unpleasant odors that are generally caused by algae and bacteria forming inside the water tank. You can purchase this product in several convenient packs (packs with 2, 4 or 12 bottles are currently available on Amazon) or you can opt for a single bottle purchase. The 9170 is recommended for frequent use every time you refill your humidifier water tank. Add about 1/6 fluid ounce to each gallon of water.
Since you only need a very small quantity of solution, a 12 bottle pack should last you almost an entire year. If you put the solution in the tank before filling it with water, you may notice some foam, but it’s always recommended that you add the solution before filling the tank, to give these 2 liquids a chance to mix together.
The Essick 1970 will significantly reduce the frequency at which you have to clean the water tank. Please be aware that this is a dangerous substance, so you will need to take all necessary measures of precaution, just as the label tells you to do. It’s highly corrosive and will cause severe damage if it comes in contact with your skin or eyes. Aside from careful maneuvering, careful storage is also required. Make sure you keep your 1970 away from the reach of children and pets. It is advisable to use rubber gloves and a face mask, to avoid the product getting in touch with your skin and to avoid inhaling any harmful vapors.
Customers have reported difficulties in measuring the right amount of liquid with the included bottle cap. You can use a teaspoon to measure how much treatment you add to the water. However, the bottle seems to have a bad design and doesn’t allow pouring in small doses. Some customers recommended puncturing a hole inside the cap to avoid pouring a large amount of solution at once. Others suggested that a redesign of the cap might do the trick, as it should include some marking for proper measurements.
As the bestselling bacteriostatic treatment on Amazon, we’ve decided to see what the BestAir 3BT offers that other products of its kind don’t. First of all, this product was designed for use in evaporative humidifiers, making it pretty similar to the ones we’ve talked about in the above paragraphs. The standard bottle quantity is also 32 oz. It’s ideal for people that use humidifiers who need frequent cleaning because of the bacteria and algae formation inside the tank. It also promises to eliminate the unpleasant odors caused by said bacteria. You can purchase a single bottle of this product, or you can opt for packs of 2, 3 or 6 bottles.
But how do customers feel about the BestAir 3BT treatment? With an overall rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars, you could say that this treatment is a customer favorite. On the other hand, some users have reported a bad smell, enhanced by the emission of chemicals that gave the entire family headaches. As a precautionary piece of advice, we recommend that you don’t pour in the solution immediately before going to bed, but do it about 2 hours before, just to make sure any chemical smell dissipates before you sleep. As far as keeping the filter clean is concerned, the 3BT seems to be doing a great job, as filter life is doubled and sometimes even tripled, depending on how frequent the humidifier runs.
The tricky part is the amount of solution suggested by the manufacturer for each gallon of water vs. what the users recommend, depending on their own experience. While BestAir recommends a cap full of solution for each gallon of water inside the tank, users suggest that you experiment to find what best suits your needs. One user, for instance, recommends using a syringe to add about 5 ml of treatment into the water. Syringes are a great idea when you have to handle small amounts of liquid, as they are a great measuring tool.
Time to take things to the next level and switch to a bacteriostatic treatment for warm mist humidifiers. The 1-quart bottle of Sunbeam promises to eliminate problems caused by limescale, bacteria and another buildup that’s commonly found on humidifier parts. Back in the day, humidifier filters were built to last for almost 1 year. Today, a filter needs weekly to monthly change and the Sunbeam can prevent that from happening.
Even if they don’t make filters like they used to, you have measures to prolong its life. A simple label reading and comparison with other similar products will show you that the Sunbeam actually contains diluted active ingredients and for that reason, they recommend adding a double dosage compared to other brands. To give you an example, the Holmes bacteriostatic treatment has about the same ingredients as the Sunbeam, but each of them is present in a dosage of 2.250%. Sunbeam only has 0.085% of the same active ingredients.
If you do decide to purchase and try it, you’ll notice that with the recommended dosage, it pretty much delivers as promised. Using the Sunbeam will guarantee a clean and odor-free environment inside your home. It will make your filters last longer, but it may take about 3 full water tanks combines with the solution to be emptied for the wick to become fully moist with this mix.
Even if there are few brands that provide us with solutions for treating water inside the humidifier, the BestAir 3BT is definitely our favorite choice. Available in several advantageous bottle packs, you can purchase this product in bulk and won’t have to worry about needing more supplies for an entire year. It helps keep bacteria and algae from becoming a problem, considerably diminishing the need to scrub the water tank clean. It also prolongs the life of your humidifier filter, as this is the part most exposed to nasty formations.
The downside of this product is the high level of toxicity caused by the chemicals inside the solution. There were several complaints registered about the chemical odors released in the air, some of which caused headaches and nosebleeds to people who used the 3BT. However, these isolated cases could be caused due to failure to follow instructions. As the label on the product suggests, it is important to handle this product with care, as you should so with all chemicals that are a hazard to your health. Keeping out of the reach of children is mandatory. But in order to find the dosage that’s most suited to your humidifier and your home environment, you may want to start small and experiment.
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