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Warm Mist Humidifiers = Cement Calcium Hardness

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Warm Mist Humidifiers = Cement Calcium Hardness

Old 10-06-06, 08:13 AM
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Warm Mist Humidifiers = Cement Calcium Hardness

We have a warm mist humidifier (don't know make / model) and after a while it formed like a 1" thick barrier around the thingy.. I have never seen such hard crap like this. I spend like an hour trying to freaking chisel this crap off. I even take a dremel to it..

I bought some freakin $6 solution that supposedly takes it off.. Well that didn't work worth a crap.

My question is.. WTH is the deal?? Is it our water? What can I do to prevent this? Do all warm mist humidifiers do this? And now that ours is poop I need a new one. Please recommend. Thanks!
Old 10-06-06, 08:30 AM
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You must have mighty hard water to have this much. The solutions work by chemically reacting with it. They work best on a thin layer, and you need enough to complete the reaction. Vinegar works about as well as things like CLR.

Remember chemistry class and moles of this and moles of that reacting. You're going to need a lot of solution. I'd break off pieces if possible.

Last edited by OldDude; 10-06-06 at 08:33 AM.
Old 10-06-06, 08:37 AM
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Well the one I have now is pretty much toast. It took one too many swings with a screwdriver to it.. I need to get a new one but I'm assuming this will happen no matter what one I get, right?

Ok, so say I start fresh. What's the best way for this not to happen? Keep the solution in it from the get go? That stuff isn't bad is it? I don't want the mist coming out to have chemical toxins in the air (for our baby's room). Thanks OldDude..
Old 10-06-06, 08:47 AM
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Also, since you say we must have some mighty hard water.. Would you recommend looking into getting a water softener?
Old 10-06-06, 08:47 AM
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I would not put the solution in it. Vinegar has an annoying odor. The CLR type products use a somewhat more dangerous acid; I would not want to be breathing a lot of the fumes.

My recommendation, clean it frequently with vinegar or CLR while the deposits are more managable. Or, you could use distilled water which has all the minerals removed, but the thing may use too much water for that to be economical.
Old 10-06-06, 09:00 AM
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What is CLR?
Old 10-06-06, 09:11 AM
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It is the brand name of of one product, probably the best known. that removes these deposits. I think it comes from Calcium-Lime-Rust. It removes them all. But it is acid enough to wear rubber gloves unless very dilute, and the fumes seem unpleasant.

The deposits are CaCO3, and all the products which remove it are acids; they react with the CO3 to fizz off CO2 and produce a more soluble calcium salt. I don't recommend spraying acids around your house from yoir humidifier.
Old 10-06-06, 09:46 AM
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Pics?

-Gunshy
Old 10-06-06, 09:53 AM
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Ok sorry but I'm a little confused.

I would not put the solution in it. Vinegar has an annoying odor. The CLR type products use a somewhat more dangerous acid; I would not want to be breathing a lot of the fumes.

My recommendation, clean it frequently with vinegar or CLR while the deposits are more managable.
So is the solution you would not use NOT CLR?
Old 10-06-06, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Gunshy
Pics?

-Gunshy
Huh?
Old 10-06-06, 10:08 AM
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About every week or every other, empty the thing, CLEAN it with CLR then use as normal. What OldDude is saying is not to run the thing with the chemicals in it.

Don't wait until it's clogged to clean it.

We have very hard water and are going to be getting a water softener soon. When you see those deposits in your shower and think about drinking them... ugh. Yuck!
Old 10-06-06, 10:13 AM
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We don't see them in our shower though..

Thanks for the explanation of the above.
Old 10-06-06, 10:21 AM
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Water softeners won't help this particular problem. A filter will. Or, you can buy distilled water to use in your humidifier. (healthiest option)

If you are getting a new one, get a sonic humidifier, not a steamer. You still get deposits, but not as badly.

The cheapest, safest, and most fun way to clean the calcium crusts off is with HOT vinegar. *fizzzzzzz*. Rinse thoroughly, or your room will smell like gym socks. Never, ever use any kind of soap, or anything more acidic than vinegar in a sonic humidifier. If you don't get it all off, you wind up breathing it. Vinegar, scrub with an old toothbrush, rinse well.
Old 10-06-06, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by tbird2340
We don't see them in our shower though..

Thanks for the explanation of the above.

that's because your wife is probably a better housekeeper than me

Old 10-06-06, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger
Water softeners won't help this particular problem. A filter will. Or, you can buy distilled water to use in your humidifier. (healthiest option)

If you are getting a new one, get a sonic humidifier, not a steamer. You still get deposits, but not as badly.

The cheapest, safest, and most fun way to clean the calcium crusts off is with HOT vinegar. *fizzzzzzz*. Rinse thoroughly, or your room will smell like gym socks. Never, ever use any kind of soap, or anything more acidic than vinegar in a sonic humidifier. If you don't get it all off, you wind up breathing it. Vinegar, scrub with an old toothbrush, rinse well.
Can you recommend a particular model? Thanks!
Old 10-06-06, 11:34 AM
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Just get a cheap cold air humidifier from walmart (I have a Holmes), replace the $6 filter every 30 days and it should be fine. the filter will be the only thing that clogs

The other alternative is distilled water or filtered water and I am going to guess that over time those will cost more than the $6 filter very month

I didn't like the warm mist or the ultrsonic and went back to a cold air model and now realize the beauty of the cheap filter change
Old 10-06-06, 11:56 AM
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Vinegar really isnt that bad. It rinses away/dilutes without any problem.

I have a water distiller that gets heavily calcified. A few bottles of WHITE VINEGAR (at the store for about $1.70 per gallon) clears it out after some soaking. Not much smell once you rinse it away.
Old 10-06-06, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 4KRG
Just get a cheap cold air humidifier from walmart (I have a Holmes), replace the $6 filter every 30 days and it should be fine. the filter will be the only thing that clogs

The other alternative is distilled water or filtered water and I am going to guess that over time those will cost more than the $6 filter very month

I didn't like the warm mist or the ultrsonic and went back to a cold air model and now realize the beauty of the cheap filter change
We like the warm mist much better.. We keep our house at like 65* at night and the warm mist helps warm up the room.
Old 10-06-06, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 4KRG
The other alternative is distilled water or filtered water and I am going to guess that over time those will cost more than the $6 filter very month.
I like the distilled water idea. Why screw around with fixing the effects of using bad water?

If you get distilled or reverse osmosis treated water in quantity it'll run about 35-40 a gallon.

I also like the warm mist type of humidifier rather than the cold ones. However around here it's so humid I have to use a dehumidifier in the winter.
Old 10-06-06, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by tbird2340
Ok sorry but I'm a little confused.



So is the solution you would not use NOT CLR?
Fine to soak it and then rinse it out; either rinses well.

I would not operate it with either vinegar. CLR, or any other solution added to water sprayed or evaporated into room.
Old 10-06-06, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by tbird2340
We don't see them in our shower though..

Thanks for the explanation of the above.
Because the concentration of the minerals stays the practically the same since just about all the water in your shower stays liquid. The whole point of the humidifier is to evaporate the water. The minerals stay behind, so the concentration increases until it surpasses the solubility of the minerals in the water. From that point on the solids will build up gradually.

Think of it in a conservation of mass sense. The mass balance would be: In - Out = Accumulation, since there is no chemical reaction occuring.

Shower: (water in + minerals in)showerhead - (water out + minerals out)drain = no accumulation

Humidifier: (water in + minerals in)feed - (water out)evaporation = accumulation of minerals in the humidifier.
Old 10-06-06, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by X
Why screw around with fixing the effects of using bad water?
Because water is heavy and a pain in the ass to carry around. The filter is light and I go to walmart once a month anyway, so I just grab one.

It is easier to me, maybe you would rather haul, track and store gallons of water, I wouldn't

BTW - the homes people recommend you replace the filter often anyway so that it doens't grow bacteria. I maybe replace it twice as often as they suggest.


The warm mist ones bother me (same with ultrasonic) as they tend to put too much moisture in the air. I also always thought the warm ones looked more like a fire hazzard. I like my room cold when I sleep, so it works out.
Old 10-06-06, 08:21 PM
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I'm just used to getting 30 gallons at a time since I use it for my fish tank. But the alternative is buying a reverse osmosis unit and they and their replacement parts are pretty expensive.

I'm not sure how much minerals and salts you get out of something with just a water filter.
Old 10-07-06, 12:32 AM
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yeah, I get all my drinking water from here

http://www.drinkmorewater.com/

buy in bulk it is 49 cents / gallon and is the purest water I have ever seen. I just don't want to make more frequent trips than I already do. I fill 7 five gallon bottles and it last me about 6 weeks as drinking / cooking water.

The humidifier takes 2 gallons a fill and even with cold air only style, the bedroom eats about a gallon a day (warm mist put out more). I just don't feel like hauling all that water, but I get your point.
Old 10-08-06, 05:13 AM
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I had a warm mist and a cold mist humidifier. The warm one did exactly what you are describing, so I just scraped it off once or twice a month. Eventually, my roommate knocked it over and fried the wiring.

The cold one has been running fine. I just pulled the filter out of it a year ago, and haven't seen any adverse performance.

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