Why Isn’t My Humidifier Helping with Dry Air in My House?

If your house is dry even with a humidifier, you still have a problem of dry air to deal with.

A humidifier, such as the Honeywell HCM350 should add moisture to your indoor air and raise the humidity level to between 30 and 50 percent.

But that is not always the case. It is possible to experience dry air in the house even when your humidifier is running.

If the air is too dry in the bedroom, in the living room, or any other part of the house, and your humidifier is running, well, something is wrong.

There should be a change in the humidity, at least in the air that immediately surrounds the unit.

Why is my house so dry even with a humidifier?

Image of house is dry even with humidifier

Here are the most vital checks to make when the basement, living room, or bedroom is too dry, even with your humidifier running:

1. It is a brand-new humidifier: It might not work instantly

You have just unboxed your humidifier after it was shipped in. You have checked, and everything is in good order. You have added water to the recommended level, plugged it in, and in 20 minutes, you notice that it is not working.

Do not email or call the vendor just yet. Usually, it is recommended that you give the new appliance at least 48 hours, to plug it in, before you can write it off.

If you look for information in different spaces, you will find people asking: Do humidifiers work instantly? The consensus is that you should wait for some time. In most cases, a new humidifier will take at least 3 hours before it can start raising the humidity level.

If it takes too long, find out from the supplier or the manufacturer how long it is supposed to take. It might also be faulty.

2. It might have run out of water

Image of air feeling too dry even when humidifier is working

Modern humidifiers come with a built-in humidistat so that they can turn on automatically when the humidity level drops.

Once they achieve the desired humidity level, they switch off automatically. They will also switch off automatically when they run out of water.

However, older humidifiers might lack this function. In this case, they can run totally dry and might continue running for a little longer without water. If this happens, you need to check that it has water.

If you live in a place like Las Vegas that has very dry air, you might leave the humidifier running in the morning.

However, if it had little water, it might switch off in the day after running itself bone dry. When you come back in the evening, the air will be dry. Check the water level of your unit before tossing it into the trash bin.

3. The humidifier is too small

Humidifiers and dehumidifiers have a space rating. If you do not keep this in mind before running a unit, you might not enjoy optimum performance.

Image of Why Is My House So Dry Even With A Humidifier

Running a humidifier rated for 150 square feet in a space that measures 600 square feet is not going to do much to change the humidity level.

It is too small!

The amount of mist it will be releasing will simply not be enough to increase the humidity in the volume of air in your house.

By volume, we mean that if you have a room that is 20 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 8 feet high, the cubic feet of air (volume) that have to be injected with moisture is 20 x 10 x 8 = 1600 cubic feet.

To buy the right humidifier, always measure the size of your room and buy one that is slightly bigger. Even if you buy a big one, it will only increase the humidity level faster and then switch off automatically.

Tip: Take the humidifier to a smaller room and run it there. After some time, check the humidity level with a hygrometer. If it has risen, you are using the wrong unit for the job.

4. You are leaving the windows and doors open

In any home, the most important rooms to humidify are the bedrooms. That’s where your family spends several hours sleeping without leaving.

Now, if you keep the windows open, dry air from outside will come in. It will negate all the efforts your humidifier is making to raise the humidity level.

Leaving the doors open can also lower the humidity level. Dry air from other rooms will find its way in your bedroom. Thus, you will always complain that the air is too dry in the bedroom.

Tip: You can start by closing the windows and the doors to the room that you are humidifying. Keep an eye on the hygrometer to see whether the level of moisture in the air will rise.

5. It is a mini-atomizer or personal humidifier

While there are great reviews for battery-operated humidifiers, they are just for desktop use. This means they only humidify a very limited area, say.

In most cases, if the space is bigger than a closet or the interior of a car, there will be no change. In this case, it is possible to keep the small unit replenished with water and running, but still get no noticeable change in the humidity level.

Tip: Just get rid of the small units and get a bigger humidifier for bedroom. You can even have one installed in the HVAC system.

6. Your house is too cold in the winter

The complaint of your house feeling too dry, even with a humidifier, is common during the winter. There is a good reason for this.

Most people do not know that there is a close relationship between humidity and temperature. Without going into the complex mechanics of this relationship, warm air holds more moisture than cold air.

When you turn on the heat in winter, it further dries the air. Relax, though, because we run humidifiers during the winter. It injects moisture into the air, making your home comfortable and disease-free.

Even when you run your mister and there is no change, check the temperature of your indoor air. If it is not at the expected levels, you have leaks.

Old houses are more prone to developing leaks, which allow cold air to come into the house. In return, this hinders the proper working of a humidifier because cold air does not hold moisture properly.

Tip: Find a professional to seal all the leaks for you. This has a big effect since it will not only increase the efficiency of your humidifier, but it will also lower your energy bill. You don’t have to heat the house as much.

7. You don’t clean the humidifier as often as you should

In this case, we are assuming you have a warm mist humidifier. However, even the cool mists from Pure Enrichment, Honeywell, and other brand names need regular cleaning.

If you have a warm mist unit, using tap water in the humidifier causes mineral buildup on the heating elements.

When scale forms on the elements, they become harder to clean, and they do not heat the water fast. This compels you to run the unit longer than necessary.

Tip: Use distilled or purified water in a warm mist humidifier. You can also use a demineralization cartridge to remove the extra minerals from the water.

8. Exhaust fans might be expelling humid air

Image of can exhaust fan make room dry

Exhaust fans are effective, but they can also be a double-edged sword since they pull out humidity. This is the reason why we install them in bathrooms and kitchens, which are high-humidity areas.

If you notice that your humidifier is overworking in the winter, stop using the exhaust fans to remove humid air from the bathroom and kitchen. Rather, open the bathroom and kitchen doors to let the humidity spread to other rooms.

Final Thoughts

In whatever case, you are not supposed to run a humidifier 24/7 to keep your indoor humidity level up.

If this is your case, there is something wrong either with your house or with the humidifier unit you are using.

The most probable culprits are leakages that allow cold air to seep in from the outside. Cold air does not hold moisture very well. Therefore, your humidifier will have to work longer than it should.

If you are asking what to do if my room is too dry, the first option is to run a humidifier. But, as we have seen here, that too can fail. Therefore, you need to do a proper audit of your house to find out what is possibly causing the excess dryness.

There are so many factors that determine how well a humidifier will work. Thus, if it’s running and your apartment is too dry, it is not always to blame.

Before you get a professional to check the house or install a whole-house humidifier, try some of the tips we have given you here.