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Devil505 12-11-2006 07:24 PM

Console Humidifier Maintenance
I have a Sears (Kenmore) console Humidifier that I just started running for the winter. I cleaned it, replaced the filters & bought some Sears "Bacteriostat" to add to the 12 gallon water tank. The unit is about 4 years old but I didn't use it at all last year as, after reading Consumer Reports recomendation that the water should be changed & the unit cleaned daily, I wasn't willing to spend an hour a day servicing it! This year, after my wife is complaining of the dryness in the house, I decided to fire it up again, hoping that the new filter pads & the Bacteriostat would get me through the winter. Any thoughts on reasonable humidifier maintenance would be appreciated.

acefurnacefixer 12-11-2006 07:43 PM

Do you have forced air furnace? If so why dont you have a whole house humidifier installed?

Devil505 12-12-2006 06:50 AM

I do have forced air but it hardly ever runs as we get almost all the heat we need from a coal stove in the basement family room....Does the whole house! We have a split entry so the air migrates up the stair-well & I have put a few floor vents in to aid in circulation to the point that each room is within 1 or 2 degrees of the rest.

Christopher 12-12-2006 09:10 AM


I gather that the major health concern is bacteria buildup in the humidifier. While this has been a major problem in poorly maintained commercial cooling systems (Legionnairesí disease), we haven't heard much in the way of health related problems with humidifiers. That said, I do hold the view that germs survive by attaching themselves to moisture particles. Therefore, I think your goal should be to prevent the humidifier from becoming a breading ground for germs. What may be very effective to this end would be to deliberately allowing the humidifier to run dry between fillings.

Before modern humidifiers people used to keep a pot of water on top of the coal stove. However I would think that your basement already has enough moisture.


mdshunk 12-12-2006 05:13 PM

Adding the bacteriocide is about all you really need to do. I had one many years ago. I did take it out in the driveway and scrub it up good with bleach every time I changed the pads. They start to get funky at about the same time the pads need changed. Keep a bit of something in the water to kill the nasties in between, and you won't have too much to worry about. Naturally, if you only use it in the winter, you will want to change the water and scrub it up at the beginning of each winter. That water sitting all summer will create quite a nasty stew. If anyone has asthma, a console humidifier might not be so healthy, but it seems to be your best bet for humidifying considering how you heat your home. If anyone has breathing problems, it might be better to just retire the humidifier and put up with a dry house. Either that, or change your furnace around to run the blower on low speed all the time and add a humidifier to the furnace.

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