Stopping Scale In a HumidifierQuestion:
I have a steam humidifier and it is constantly plugging up, and I have to clean the chamber all the time in the winter. Is there anything I can do to help this? Would a water softener help? - Signed C.C.
Steam humidifiers are unquestionably the best way to humidify your household (or business) air if you live in a climate where that is needed. However, in 98% of the country, the water requires treatment and I do not mean a water softener. The problem with steam humidifiers is that most water has some degree of mineralization in it.
The minerals are calcium and magnesium, and when water is heated and evaporated by the stream humidifier it leaves the minerals behind. After a few cycles, if the evaporation chamber contains 1/4 gallon of water, it has the minerals of 4 or 5 gallons (maybe more). This creates big problems. A water softener is not the answer because it works by exchanging the calcium and magnesium for sodium. Instead of calcium and magnesium buildup, you will have sodium buildup.
Solutions - on a Scale of 1-10:
- Polyphosphate - Some companies have filter cartridges that install on the inlet to the humidifier and "coat" the humidifier with a layer of sodiumhexametaphosphate which is supposed to help. Bad Idea! Rating: 1
- Salt-Free Water Conditioners - They don't take out the calcium and magnesium so the problem still persists. Rating: BIG ZERO!
- Deionization - You can use a DI cartridge to remove all of the minerals, but it is very expensive. It works extremely well, but costs 35 to 60 cents a gallon (depending upon water hardness). On a scale of how well it works, it's a 10! On cost, it's a 2. Overall Rating: 5
- Reverse Osmosis - Unless you have more money than sense, reverse osmosis is the ONLY way to treat a humidifier economically. Some people even put a DI cartridge after the Reverse Osmosis system to have absolutely pure water, but in most instances Reverse Osmosis removes 98% of the dissolved solids and allows the humidifier to work without the burden of all the hard minerals.
If you don't have a reverse osmosis system on a steam humidifier... or any humidifier for that fact, you are doing a very bad thing!
PUT A REVERSE OSMOSIS SYSTEM ON ANY HUMIDIFIER - YOU WILL BREATHE EASIER AND THE SYSTEM WILL LAST A THOUSAND TIMES LONGER!