Is a Humidifier Bad For Electronics? (Can it Damage Electronics?)

Does the air in your office or home ever get dry? Your electronic devices such as computers are likely to get damaged by dry air. So what are some practical ways of humidifying the air without damaging your electronics?  

Using a humidifier around electronic devices is generally considered safe. However, you have to constantly check the indoor humidity to ensure that the air does not become too dry.

This article delves into how electronic devices are affected by humidity levels and how to regulate these levels so that your electronics are not damaged.

We’ll also discuss fixing dry air without using a humidifier, as well as controlling the air to avoid health consequences.

What are Humidifiers?

A humidifier is an electronic device that adds moisture into the air. Humidifiers usually come in handy during the winter when the indoor heating systems make the air inside your home dry, making your nose, eyes, skin, and lips dry as well.

The best humidity for your home is between 30% to 50%. You can use a hygrometer (which you can purchase from a local hardware shop) to determine the level of moisture.

If the humidity levels in your home are below 30%, consider purchasing a humidifier, particularly if you often complain of having dry skin, nose bleeding, and sore throat.

After buying a humidifier, constantly monitor the humidity levels. Humidity levels above 50% encourage the proliferation of fungi, bacteria, and other harmful microorganisms.

Humidity levels of 60% and above lead to precipitation on your windows and surfaces and promote the multiplication of bacteria and other germs.

There are humidifiers that have a humidistat that automatically turns off the appliance when the humidity levels are correct.

Types of Portable Humidifiers

There are five varieties of humidifiers. Out of the five, four are considerably small and portable.  Let’s look into all of them

Portable Humidifiers

  • Impellers have a rotating disk that creates a cool mist and use a comb-like diffuser to expel the mist into the air.
  • Steam vaporizers: You have to be extremely careful when using these humidifiers, and it is not advisable to use them near children. These humidifiers usually produce steam by boiling water electrically and expelling the steam when it has cooled to a warm mist.
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers: Expel cool mist by producing high-frequency sound vibrations. To prevent the proliferation of bacteria or mold, you have to clean it regularly.
  • Evaporator humidifiers: the mist expelled by these humidifiers is usually very fine and almost inconspicuous. The mist is typically produced from a wick that has a fan fluttering over it.
    The downside of these humidifiers is that the fans are noisy. You’ll need to regularly clean the wick to avert the multiplication of mold and bacteria.
  • Central Humidifiers: Central humidifiers are built within your home’s HVAC system, and they are meant to moisturize the whole interior structure.
See also  7+ Simple Ways to Clean Bird Poop off of Brick

Can a Humidifier Damage Electronics?

Yes and No. If your humidifier is set correctly, no harm will come to your electronics.

However, if the humidity levels are extremely low or high, it could cause damage to your electronic devices, since electronic devices are easily affected by environmental conditions such as abrupt temperature and humidity changes.

Nearly all types of electronics are susceptible to high or low humidity and temperature. The consequences of exposing your electronics to extreme moisture and temperature are usually not immediately recognized.

Eventually, your electronics become damaged, and you are likely to think that it is a result of hardware or software failures while it is a result of exposure to extreme conditions.

The question, however, is just how extreme is extreme in regards to damaging electronics? Let’s get more details on how humidity not only affects your health but your electronics too.

How Do Low Humidity and High Humidity Levels Affect Electronic Equipment?

When the humidity levels are ideal, a process referred to as surface-mount technology (SMT) works well. According to Condair, low humidity levels dry solder paste, causing the products to be damaged and solder joints dislocated.

High humidity levels can also affect the soldering, leading to condensation, short-circuiting or malfunctioning.

On the other hand, too much moisture damages the insulators and circuit boards on your device, which leads to flaws and short circuits.

It is recommended to have an ideal ambient relative humidity range of 35%-55% for computers—this should apply to other devices as well.

To decrease the incidents of electronic damage caused by soldering and desoldering, Condair recommends that you maintain humidity levels of 50-55 % in storage and manufacturing facilities.

See also  Do You Need a Humidifier in the Summer? (And Benefits?)

How Far Should a Humidifier Be From Electronics?

Position it at least 1 meter from curtains, furniture, walls, and other electronic appliances. Don’t put your humidifier on warm or heated surfaces like heaters. Ensure the nozzle of the humidifier is positioned towards the center of the room. 

To minimize contact between your child and the mist, you should position your humidifier at least 6 feet away from your child’s crib.

The humidifier should be put in the room you want to humidify most, and the nozzle should always be directed towards your area of interest.

If you have an ultrasonic humidifier, make sure you elevate it. Place it at least 2 feet above the ground and ensure you place a waterproof tray below it.

If you have a toddler, there are some additional guidelines to follow. For example, using a warm mist humidifier is not recommended as it can cause accidental burns. To avoid over-humidification, always leave your child’s room half-open.

Is It Bad To Sleep With a Humidifier?

No, you can sleep with your humidifier on, provided it doesn’t have a heating component. Consequently, the best humidifier at night is the cool mist ultrasonic humidifier.

Monitor how your body and environment respond when you start using a humidifier when you sleep. To avoid over-humidification, clean your appliance regularly and check the humidity levels constantly. The downside of increasing the moisture levels indoors is that it encourages the multiplication of bacteria and mold.

The best humidifiers to use while you are sleeping are ultrasonic humidifiers. This is because these humidifiers expel low levels of moisture. However, there is still a probability that over-humidification can occur.

This is because the steam can condense, resulting in water droplets that increase the likelihood of bacteria and mold proliferating. If you notice this, it might be time for you to purchase an evaporator humidifier.

This humidifier adds moisture to the air using the natural evaporation process. Evaporative humidifiers do not produce any water droplets on surfaces and floors.

Change the water before any subsequent use and ensure you maintain your humidifier by cleaning it once or twice every week using a cloth dipped in a mixture of white vinegar and water. 

As per the Consumer Product Safety Commission, inhaling contaminated steam can lead to lung problems ranging from mild flu-like symptoms to severe infections.

If you have an ultrasonic humidifier, white dust is another potential danger. The dust occurs due to mineral deposits in water that come about when steam lands on surfaces and dries up.

See also  Can You Spray Paint Artificial Grass? (Yes or No)

If you have asthma, allergies, lung infections, or sinus, this can have serious health consequences. Use distilled water that does not have any mineral deposits to avert the possibility of white dust formation.

Can I Put a Humidifier in the Same Room as My Computer?

Yes. Depending on the humidity of the air that surrounds your computer and other elements, you can place a humidifier in the same room as your PC.

In dry environments, you can put them in the same room as the humidifier will make the humidity levels in the room normal. However, in a high humidity area, the humidifier will cause condensation that may lead to your gadgets becoming faulty.

Having your PC and humidifier in the same room is no problem if you do not see any condensation or rust on computer components.

It would, however, be best if you have the humidifier in a different room and have a fan circulate the moisture. By doing this, the humidity levels in the entire home will be equal instead of having one area, particularly around your PC, having higher humidity levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a Humidifier Damage a Computer?

Yes. If not correctly utilized, humidifiers can cause your computer to be faulty due to condensation.

Furthermore, as computers pull in dust, the mixture of dust and moisture can lead to the formation of a pasty sludge that could cause irreparable damage to sensitive parts of the computer.

2. Are Humidifiers Bad For Consoles?

No damage will come to it as long as the moisture does not condense on your console. The active parts of most electronics are made from plastics.

Therefore, it is unlikely for condensation to occur. Furthermore, consoles are usually turned down often, making them warm, preventing condensation.

3. Is Low Humidity Bad For Computers?

Extremely low humidity levels can lead to your computer having problems. As humidity drops, it leads to the accumulation of static. When the static hits your PC, the shock can damage it even if it is not on at that particular moment.

Conclusion

From the article that low and high humidity can affect your electronics. The former can lead to static accumulation, while the latter can lead to condensation, promoting the growth of fungi, bacteria, and mold.

The best way to remedy the situation is balance. If you are trying to fix either of the extremities, you have to ensure that you do not over or under-humidify in the process.

About Sarah Walker

Sarah is a homemaker and is passionate about fixing little things in and around her house. She loves to do DIY hacks and keeps on writing about those things in her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her twins Cathy and Mickey.