Where Should a Humidifier be Placed in a Room?

There are a number of tutorials that will tell you how to clean a humidifier, and twice as many guides to help you find the best humidifier for a variety of circumstances. While those are both important areas that we stress to our readers as well, humidifier placement is often overlooked. If you’ve been wondering where to put a humidifier, you have definitely come to the right place.

What type of humidifier do you own?

Before we talk about where you should and shouldn’t put your humidifier, it’s important to understand the type of system you have to see if it has any special requirements. There are around a half-dozen kinds of humidifiers, although most homeowners choose a system that produces warm or cool mist.

Cool mist humidifiers are either evaporative or ultrasonic, while warm mist humidifiers can get hot enough to turn water into steam or simply heat up the water in their holding tanks. All residential units will plug into a standard wall outlet, although you’ll have a hard time tracking down cord length on any model.

If you can get details on the cord length, that’s a good idea, but you also need to consider the design of the system itself. Some are taller and designed to sit directly on the floor while others are built for tabletops, nightstands, and desktops. Taller humidifier project mist higher, which is ideal for floor placement, but shorter models placed directly on the floor may leave you with a puddle to clean up.

Unless you have water-resistant flooring in your home like LVP or sheet vinyl, a puddle from a humidifier could leave you with a costly problem as well. You can always place your humidifier in a short drip pan, but that isn’t ideal or attractive in living spaces.

Humidifier Tanks

Another area in regards to placement that they don’t discuss in your user manual is the water tank. Most are enclosed to a degree, so they’ll blend in with a room, but the location of the room can have an impact when it comes time to refill your humidifier.

The most popular types of humidifiers have detachable water tanks which you can remove and carry to a sink to fill. If the closest source of water in your home is downstairs and your humidifier is in an upstairs room, you may want to think twice before purchasing a humidifier with a large tank.

One of the biggest complaints we’ve seen from consumers has to do with poor tank design. That’s something you may not know is an issue until you’ve owned your system for a few months, but the shorter the distance between the sink and humidifier, the better off you’ll be.

There are also top-fill humidifiers with removable and fixed tanks. Any system with a fixed tank requires you to carry water to the machine in a pitcher or carry the system to the sink. You have to consider where the machine will reside in your home before you can find the best position for a humidifier.

The Best Position for Humidifiers in a Room

If you believe there is a perfect place to position a humidifier in a room, we’ve got bad news for you. You can put a humidifier anywhere in a room as long as you follow a few simple rules. The first is to always place your system on a flat, even surface. Ideally, you’ll want your system several feet of the ground as well, although there are some humidifiers that are perfectly safe on the floor.

You should also consider the size of the system itself, along with the aforementioned cord length. You need to ensure you have enough room around the humidifier as well. You don’t want your system too close to a wall or any furniture that could get damp from the mist over time. These machines need enough room around them for air to circulate, so keep distance between your humidifier and walls or other objects.

You should also keep humidifiers away from curtains for obvious reasons, but also because curtains cover windows. Direct sunlight on your humidifier can increase the potential for bacteria to grow, so stay several inches away from curtains and keep the unit out of direct sunlight. Vents and open windows will throw off a humidistat as well.

If you are purchasing or using an ultrasonic humidifier, and aren’t using distilled water, pay attention to what you place your humidifier on. White dust is a common occurrence when using hard water with this type of system, and while it can be cleaned up, it can cause quite the mess.

Should I close the door when using a humidifier?

One of the more common questions we get from our readers doesn’t involve placement, but doors and whether they should remain open or shut with a humidifier in use. If your humidifier has an automatic mode or humidistat, it shouldn’t matter either way. These machines will automatically turn on or off based on your desired humidity levels in a room.

Humidifiers that simply run until the tank is dry are a different story, however, especially in a child’s room. Too much humidity can cause more problems than a humidifier solves, so don’t turn a comfortable area into a damp room by keeping it shut off. Keep the door open in a child’s room, and think twice about shutting doors in rooms for adults if it’s a warm mist humidifier.

Warm Mist Humidifier Placement 

While the same rules with placement apply to both cool and warm mist humidifiers, there are a few extra precautions to keep in mind when a humidifier produces steam or warm mist. The best position for a humidifier that puts out steam is somewhere safe and stable away from children and pets.

Cool mist humidifiers are often used in nurseries for that reason alone as they are much safer to use in a baby or small child’s room. When it comes to pets, there may not be a place safe enough if you have a cat that likes to climb or an unruly dog. In that case, pay close attention to how the machine is designed and opt for a warm mist system over one that produces steam.

Conclusion

As you can see, a humidifier can be used almost anywhere in your home. While we recommend referring to your user manual when it comes to placement as every system varies, the main thing to remember is the surface where it will sit and general safety.

That surface should always be stable and level to prevent an accidental spill. Keep these machines away from children and pets as well, and always make sure there’s enough room around your humidifier for it to breathe if you want it to function properly.  

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