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Thread: Room humidifiers and distilled water

  1. #1
    Registered User Clef's Avatar
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    Default Room humidifiers and distilled water

    Does anyone use distilled water in room humidifiers?

    I keep all of my musical instruments in one room and I use a small 1 gallon humidifier. For the past few years I was using filtered tap water. Doing this leaves a white powder and clogs up the humidifier. I have to soak it in vinegar often to keep it running.

    This year I decided to try distilled water. I like this so much better. The problem now is empty plastic gallon jugs are piling up. I feel like Iím trashing the environment going through 2 gallons of distilled water each day. Iím also going to get tired of paying for gallon jugs of water.

    I searched for bulk distilled water near me and I didnít find anything yet.

    Iím not sure what to do. Either I go back to filtered tap water, or trash the environment with piles of empty gallon jugs from distilled water.
    2012 Gibson F5 Custom Goldrush (Harvey)

  2. #2
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    Are you using an ultrasonic humidifier? Try evaporative
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    Does it get humid during the summer? Could you make use of a de-humidifier? Save and bottle the water from that to use in the humidifier during the dry season. (Fortunately humidity isn’t a big issue in the UK but I do use one in the RV to keep the thing dry during the winter.)

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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    Well, just as you say. I've tried too many humidifiers and all the expensive and not so expensive ultrasonic humidifiers have left the dreaded white dust over everything, including all my instruments, unless I use distilled water. Then I end up with a hundred empty plastic jugs, same as you. Even the humidifiers that claimed to filter the water and not leave a dust just didn't cut it. But the evaporative units that use a wicking filter DO WORK with tap water. They are just loud as heck. But I can use tap water and my water here is TN is really hard. The minerals collect on everything. However I get absolutely NO DUST from the evaporative models.

    It's the fan that makes all the noise while wicking the water up through the filter. So I just run it continuously except when I'm playing music. I just turn it off when I am in the room and turn it back on to run the rest of the time. It's the only solution I've found because I also don't like having hundreds of empty jugs to dispose of. There is no recycling happening here right now, so it just goes into the landfill and I don't feel right about that either.

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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    That dust caused me to just give up on humidifiers. It was actually giving me a chronic cough, which stopped as soon as I turned off the humidifier. My home is consistently about 25% relative humidity. Pretty dry, but I think it is more important for our instruments to avoid large, quick, changes in the humidity level than trying to adjust for a particular number.
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    I use a Venta air washer (LW45). I rinse it out every two weeks and add the Water Treatment Additive (reasonable price and the bottle lasts a long time). Tap water works fine. The white dust stays in the water reservoir and is fairly easy to clean. It is an evaporative model that uses two stacks of discs. German engineers and German built

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  10. #7
    MN Mandolin Orchestra Benjamin Gieseke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    We run multiple humidifiers in our house of varying styles and definitely deal with the white mineral deposits. We've been dropping these in the tanks and it does help quite a bit:
    https://www.amazon.com/Fette-Filter-...s%2C181&sr=8-9

    Also, not sure how comfortable you are with this because of COVID, but many grocery stores have a tap where you can refill jugs of distilled water for a fraction the cost of buying a new one. Not sure what chains you have in New Mexico but it might be worth checking out!
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    I use a wick evaporative humidifier with hard water, but no dust. You will need to change the filter occasionally tho.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  12. #9
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    +1 for evaporative humidifiers. I finally threw my Venta ultrasonic out because of the dust. I tried their mineral filters to no avail. Another problem I had with it is it would not work with my Inkbird humidifier controller, where as my less expensive Honeywell evaporative would. I am pretty happy with the whole arrangement.

  13. #10
    Registered User Scott Rucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    Another evaporative humidifier user here. I have an open floor plan house so I ended up having to do the whole place. I just use tap water and the filters last a whole season.

  14. #11

    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    I have a distiller from Amazon, it makes one gallon in 4 hours, my 1 gal humidifier uses about 1 gal a day, so it keeps up.
    My place is tiny, so a 1 gal warm moisture (boiler) humidifier meets my needs.

    Distiller: CO-Z Water Distiller $109
    Humidifier: Honeywell HWM-705B humidifier $33

    My tap water is very hard, the humidifier would have to be cleaned every gallon. The distiller also has to be cleaned every gallon but it's like washing a pot, much easier to clean than the humidifier. The citric acid distiller cleaners make it easy, I use it about every 3 gallons.

    Cost to make a gallon @ $.17 / kwh (4 hours at 750 watts) is $.50. This is cheaper than buying distilled water at the grocery store.

    Cost to use a gallon @ 24 hours on low at 130w is $.53.

    So about $1 a day total for me.

    I was buying distilled water, now I refill those plastic bottles with the distiller.

    I only need humidification during winter, which out here in northern CA is about 4 months of the year.

    My preferred RH is 50%, both my instruments and my sinuses like it. :-)

    WRT to bulk distilled water, we have a reverse osmosis water store near me, it produces essentially distilled quality water, maybe that could work for you. I seem to recall the price per gallon was lower than my $.50 distiller figure, and 3 gallon jugs were the easiest size to manage for me.
    Last edited by kurth83; Jan-25-2021 at 1:56pm.
    Davey Stuart tenor guitar (based on his 18" mandola design), TC octave mandolin.
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  15. #12
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    I use tap water in my room humidifier with no problems !

  16. #13
    Registered User Clef's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    I appreciate all of the feedback with my humidifier water challenge. Hopefully this tread helps others as well.

    The humidifier I’ve been using is an ultrasonic.

    From the comments:
    I’ll look into an evaporative humidifier for tap water. This might be a good option as long as I can find one that isn’t too loud.

    I did find the in tank filters for demineralization. It’s cool to see them mentioned here. I see mixed reviews online.

    I didn’t even think about buying my own distiller from Amazon. I’ll consider this option since using a humidifier is something I need all year.

    I called many places in Albuquerque today. No shop provides bulk distilled water out here.

    There is one shop in town that provides a type of reverse osmosis purified water. They said most of the minerals are removed and it’s very close to distilled water. They suggested I bring a few empty gallon jugs and give it a try for a few days. I’m going to try their water for a few days.

    Thanks everyone.
    2012 Gibson F5 Custom Goldrush (Harvey)

  17. #14
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    I use several venta ultrasonic humidifiers without problems. I have used an evaporative one and had problems with mold.

  18. #15

    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    Reverse osmosis water should work almost as well as distilled.

    The irony of running a home distiller is that you’re condensing the water vapor so that you can then re-evaporate it in your humidifier. Maybe we should just keep a pan of water on the stove and skip a step.

    I suspect I’m going to have a mineral blizzard in my apartment using Carlsbad tap water.

  19. #16
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    I'm running two evaporative humidifiers with paper element wicking filters. These do plug up with hard water and last maybe 2 - 3 months.

    The minerals get caught in the filters and stay there. I go through a couple 3 gallons a day.

  20. #17
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    Whole house humidifier (linked into our central heating) user here. No dedicated music room since our downsize a couple years ago, and I like only having to change the filter 1-2 times a year. But, then, I really only have to run it from mid November through maybe February here, and we run dehumidifiers for most of the spring/summer/fall months. Bigger up front cost, but itís paid off in convenience for me, and definitely easier than trying to keep up with individual case humidifiers.

    Good luck finding a solution that works!

  21. #18

    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    Wal Mart has some bottles of humidifier treatment for a few bucks that make the paper wick filters last a lot longer. I used to change them every couple weeks, but now can get through a whole season with one filter.

  22. #19

    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    We have extremely hard water. I installed an RO unit to feed a small faucet on the kitchen sink, mostly for tea and coffee. Otherwise we get a mineral scum on our tea. The RO water works great in the ultrasonic humidifier in my workshop. No deposits at all. Much better tea as well.

  23. #20
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    Very interesting conversation. I have been running a couple of ultrasonic humidifiers with tap water (from our county service) basically around the clock and have not noticed any residue other than inside the humidifiers themselves.
    Drew
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  24. #21
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    Some of the ultrasonic humidifiers, such as Boneco (Air O Swiss) have excellent filters that seem to keep the mist free of lime (mineral) scale even using tap water. The one I use creates no white dust on any surfaces in room.

  25. #22
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    My instruments are in what used to be the kids' bedroom. It's about 11' x 11' with a bunch of plants in it. I have a hygrometer in there and one in the living room dining room area, and the RH in the music room generally registers 15% higher than in the common area.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  26. #23

    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    I started looking around for very small reverse osmosis units and found this:

    https://www.expresswater.com/product...-express-water

    They recommend also getting the "Deionization Filter Upgrade" if you want to use the water with a humidifier as that gets rid of the last bit of dissolved solids.
    Davey Stuart tenor guitar (based on his 18" mandola design), TC octave mandolin.
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  27. #24
    Registered User Clef's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    Quote Originally Posted by kurth83 View Post
    I started looking around for very small reverse osmosis units and found this:

    https://www.expresswater.com/product...-express-water

    They recommend also getting the "Deionization Filter Upgrade" if you want to use the water with a humidifier as that gets rid of the last bit of dissolved solids.
    Nice find and thanks for sharing the link. This is a great option for long term use of humidifying a room for musical instruments. I like the idea of supplying my own water for a humidifier.
    2012 Gibson F5 Custom Goldrush (Harvey)

  28. #25

    Default Re: Room humidifiers and distilled water

    My tap water is pretty hard (deep groundwater source) so I have a water softener that exchanges the hardness chemicals (Ca, Mg) with sodium (Na). I found that my evaporative humidifier paper wicks plugged up faster using the softened water. I.e., it plugs quickly with the excess Na.

    I had a plumber install a cold water pipe to a basement sink straight from the water main and bypassing the water softener. I find that this hard water does not plug up the paper wicks very fast, and in fact, I can go an entire winter using only one set of wicks. It is good to dispose of the paper wicks at the end of a winter season since black mold can form on them if not used in the summer, when excess humidity is the issue (to us northerners, that is).

    If your water is softened, the white powder is the excess sodium. If your water is hard, the white powder is calcium carbonate, which will dissolve in a weak acid like vinegar.

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