Notes on humidification
In January 2020, after serious sinusal hemmorrhage, I bought an
AIRCARE EP9 800 Digital Whole-House Pedestal-Style Evaporative Humidifier,
for about $150. It holds 3 gallons of water, is easy to operate and to clean.
AirCare whole-house pedestal humidifier
It's called "digital," but there's nothing electronic or digital about it. It
comes as a piece of furniture with a replaceable tile on top that you can
change out. It comes in black or mahogany. You can set a plant or other stuff
on top of it.
The controls are fairly simple:
- Power switch.
- Fan speed. Goes F1 through F9.
- Humidity selector.
This is like a thermostat in that you set it for the target humidity.
- When you see the humidity indicator alternate between CF and the
present figure indicating percent relative humidity, the appliance is
telling you to change the wick (filter).
Tips for operation and cleaning...
- For any value 60% relative humidity or less, just select the
Humidity setting you want and
set the Fan Speed to F1. This will make the humidifier
try for your humidity setting while not making a lot of fan noise.
- The indicator will say CF (change filter) after about
3 months operation. Depending on how dirty the air is in your house, you
can use the wick at least twice that. To reset the appliance, unplug, the
reconnect it and reset your Speed and Humidity. It will
say CF only after another three months.
- You can buy bottles of a solution that will preserve the clean
state (in terms of mold and mildew) longer. However, nothing except using
distilled water will keep hard-water deposits from forming.
- ½ tsp of common, household bleach per gallon (the pedestal
humidifier holds 3½ gallons) will keep the scum from growing and
reduce the number of times per year you should have to dismantel and
It may also increase the life of the filter.
Or, you can buy Essick Air 32 oz Humidifier Bacteriostatic Treatment
which runs about $13 on Amazon or half of that from Lowe's (reputedly; I
haven't tried to get it there).
As you can see, bleach is by far the cheapest at a couple of bucks per
gallon. However, you do need to exercise caution (but the same is true
for the Essick Air product) not to spill the bleach as it will create
spots on clothing, floors, furniture, etc.
- It's easy to disassemble for replacing the wick. When you do
this, clean the insides where water has been using cheap, white vinegar
(let the vinegar sit to do the work). Take photos as you go so that you
can put it back together. Nota bene: the filter/pad/wick frames are
very delicate and will break when you remove them. If your new wicks
didn't come with new frames, you can use the old ones—just don't
- When you clean the appliance,
- Wheel it near your kitchen sink.
- Lift the whole body of the humidifier up and away from the guts.
There is nothing to clean in the body. Your only concern is knowing
which, of four different orientations, the body goes back down
later. I suggest making a mark on the foot of the part that has the
wheels to mark the back of the unit.
- What's left is what's to clean. You'll remove the tall float to make
things easier. You'll bend its retaining clip a bit out of the way
to disengage it.
- Discard the pads; disassemble from the frames carefully unless you
have new frames.
- Pour the water out into the sink and scrub the inside from mold,
mildew, calcinated water deposits. White vinegar works well. Soak
any places that are filthy.
- Do not score or otherwise damage the smooth surface of the plastic.
If you do, cleaning will become harder and harder.
The pads (or filters—wicks, in fact) are pricey on Amazon, so I began
buying them from Zoro:
- In your browser, go to zoro.com.
- Type "humidifier wick filter 1043" (without the quotes).
- Or look for humidifier wick EP9" (without the quotes).
- Press Enter or click the magnifying glass.
- Proceed with ordering.
- Illustrations below date back to March 2022.