I'm having a problem with what I can only assume are mineral deposits.
I usually run my warm mist humidifier in the winter and clean the
heating elements about once per month with vinegar. I've never really
had any issues with mineral deposits.
Yesterday I cleaned the heating elements with vinegar and ran the
humidifier for maybe four to eight hours. I noticed it wasn't
producing much steam despite being set to high. When I looked at the
heating element it looked as if it was covered in wet sugar. I assume
those are mineral deposits, except that I've never seen mineral
deposits that look like that.
Any ideas as to what this problem is? I don't know if it's not
producing steam because there are too many minerals or because there
aren't enough. I don't know what the wet sugar like stuff is covering
the heating element. Is there something I could add to the water in
the humidifier tank? Interestingly, I have a 20 y/o vaporizer that
says to add baking soda if the mineral content is low and a four y/o
vaporizer that says to add salt if the mineral content is low. It
seems like salt should be added if the mineral content is high since
salt pellets are added to a water conditioner if the mineral content
I do have hard water and use a water conditioner. I'm not the one who
is in charge of taking care of the water conditioner so I don't know
if the salt pellets were added this month. It would be a few days
before I could find out.
On Mon, 8 Dec 2008 22:54:27 -0800 (PST), "Mike S."
I am not sure about your current problem, but the water softener
does not really help you in this situation. Water is softened by this
kind of softener, not by removing the minerals, but by changing them.
Once changed they don't give the feel of hard water and don't prevent
soaps from doing what they should, but those deposits will still be
there unless you move to distilled water(filtered water is not the
same thing) or clean your own using an osmosis system.
Are the deposits you are seeing now new or might they have built up
over a long time?
fill humidifier with white vinegar, let sit half hour run half hour,
turn off empty and cool, then rinse entire unit repeatedly.
then run a normal cycle, perhaps sit it outdoors, if t still smells
its sluged up from hard water deposits, your softener isnt working
my old whole house humidifier would do this, looked like cave
vinegar is mild acid, deposits in humidifier basic and will remove them
The reason vaporizer manufacturers tell you to add some salt to the
water if it doesn't vaporize is to increase the conductivity of the
water. The cheap, simple vaporizers rely on passing current between
two metal electrodes to heat the water. If you have water that is
too pure, then the resistance is so high it won't conduct well.
I don't know exactly what kind of humidifier you have, but if it
worked before, clearly the water being used isn't the issue.
If you plan a scientific approach to this, you need first to
identiify the dissolved minerals in your water supply that
precipitate (become solid) in your humidifier. Calcium
is most likely, but is found in several different varieties,
which react differently to other chemicals. Generally it
is uneconomic to remove dissolved minerals at the
source. "Water conditioners" alter their chemistry so
that the water will do what you want (e.g. laundry.)
the only answer I know is to open the humidifer and actually scrape
off the minerals... I have to do this once or twice a heating
season. My humidifer is the electrode type, two electrodes are
immersed in the water and they pass the AC current directly through
the water. The electrodes eventually get caked with minerals and you
have to physically scrape and break the deposits off. Adding a
little salt to the water will keep it going for a while.
DO NOT PLUG IN THE HUMIDIFER WHILE THE ELECTRODES ARE EXPOSED!!
The electrodes are electrified...
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