white dust from tap water in humidifier

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Hi, during the winter months the air gets very dry in our house because of using the central heating.
to make the air more moist we have been using a small humidifier, the type that you put water in, and it puts a stream of cold mist into the air.
we have been using tap water in the humidifier and it seems to lay a white dust on everthing nearby.
presumably that is the chalk in the tap water? (being in london u.k. the tap water is quite hard [i.e. chalky].
is there a way to stop this dust. many thanks
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in thread whittled the following words:

Use rainwater or distilled water. Or filtered water.
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whittled the following words:

If you use distilled water, you may need to add a pinch of salt to get it to heat up. lucy
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in thread whittled the following words:

Really? why?
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whittled the following words:

If the heater for the water puts electricity thru the water to heat it up, the distilled water wont conduct enough to heat up without the salt.
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in thread whittled the following words:

Thank you
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whittled the following words:

Cool mist humidifiers (which is what the OP apparently has) don't need heat up.
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whittled the following words:

lucy.. who still doesn't need reading glasses! <grin>
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whittled the following words:

Not if it's a cool mist humidifier - that type uses ultrasonics to break the water up into drops small enough to float in the air, no heating required.
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ghbt wrote:

add vinegar to the water. The vinegar will serve two purposes by ridding of the white dust and sweetening the air. HTH
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What is your ratio of vinegar to water, I like the idea?
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thanks for all responses. with filtering, what would i use as a filter please? it is a portable humidifier. what percentage of vinegar 'to' water would that be please? many thanks.
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Products similar to:
http://www.brita.co.uk/action/home/
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Your "white powder" is mostly lime (Calcium oxide or CaO) and lime compounds like calcium carbonate.
A filter will not filter out dissolved lime unless an expensive reverse osmosis filter is used. Depending on the type, the other filters filter out suspended particles, use redox to convert some contaminates into hydroxides, or in the case of carbon filters, absorb volatiles that have more affinity to the carbon than the water.
Adding vinegar (CH3COOH) to water will not remove the lime. It will reduce the hardness or "sweeten" it by making more calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and adding acid, but when the water is all evaporated, the white residue will still be there.
Adding salt to distilled water in a "cold" humidifier won't help. A "cold" humidifier sprays the water, often in microscopicly small droplets created by cavitation from an ultrasonic vibration, whereas a "vaporizer" used to help people with colds uses electrodes immersed in water to heat and boil the water. Adding salt there increases the current flow and heating ability.
A "cold" humidifier can be a breeding ground for germs, which it then sends into the air. The effect is worsened when the water is not changed out regularly and the container cleaned. Because of the heat and method of evaporation, vaporizers avoid this, but can suffer more lime buildup.
The short answer is to use distilled water, reverse osmosis filtered water, or rain water in a "cold" or ultrasonic humidifier.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I'm going by experience with the vinegar from few sources. I know it works to prevent any white film on canning jars when processing them. If you don't add vinegar, there is a white film on the jars. I've used vinegar for removing water deposits in my dishwasher. Both these applications work well but they envolve heat. When we had a table top humidifier, I used vinegar in the water to prevent water deposits in the humidifier. This reduced the white dust on the funiture from the humidifier. I'm not sure why it worked, just that it did <shrug>

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Yes. Vinegar does work well for stuff like this.

It is possible that the vinegar formed large percipitate particles of some of the calcium compounds that then sunk to the bottom of the tank without attaching to it. A lot would depend on the exact chemistry and contamination of the water.
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On Tue, 22 Mar 2005 23:53:22 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Thanks for a very interesting post. My chemistry isn't good enough to have written it [without refreshing my memory + Excedrin], but I could keep up with most of it. (Redox conversion to hydroxides!? Oh, No!) LOL
Water chemistry is never dull.
School - Four walls with tomorrow inside.
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In alt.home.cleaning on Wed, 23 Mar 2005 10:08:46 -0500 Michael A.

Then how come the Broadway play, "Water Chemistry" folded after one performance?

Just kidding.
Meirman -- If emailing, please let me know whether or not you are posting the same letter. Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
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ghbt wrote:

I just added a couple of tbsp vinegar to the water.

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As usual dipshit (serendipity) you dont know what your talking about..... To the original poster, "cold mist" humidifiers work with ultrasonic energy, it literally "cracks" the minerals in the water. the use of distilled water ONLY will stop the white powder. "warm" type humidifiers WILL NOT produce the white powder at all. Distilled is still preferred as you will get calcium and lime buildup in either humidifiers. Serendipshit is giving you BAD info, adding vinegar WILL NOT stop the dust, will make the house smell like a salad..., but to trailer trash.(Serendipshit) thats a major plus.
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