What Can Cause a Humidifier to Stop Working After Cleaning?
Do you have a problem with the humidifier not working after cleaning? Relax, here, we are going to look at the possible causes of that.
In our article on Pure Enrichment humidifiers not working, we looked at many reasons why a humidifier may fail. These were:
- Failing to produce mist
- Humidifier light blinking red
- Humidifier running but not producing mist
- Humidifier producing insufficient mist
- Humidifier not running at all
However, there is another problem, that of a humidifier failing to work after you clean it. Keep reading to see the possible causes of this issue.
Humidifier Not Working After Cleaning: Top Checks
It is a good practice to clean your humidifier with vinegar to kill bacteria. However, when you clean it and set it up, and it fails to work, well, there could be a problem.
Or they couldn’t! Sometimes, some old humidifiers behave that way. They refuse to work and then they “think” otherwise.
Here are some simple checks that you should make:
1. The humidistat needs time to acclimatize
Most times, the humidistat needs some time to acclimatize after you clean the humidifier.
In another article on hygrometer vs humidistat, we saw that the latter monitors the humidity and sends the signal to the control board when there is a need to increase the humidity level.
However, after you clean the humidifier, the humidistat can “reset” itself. In that case, it will take some time to get it to read your humidity settings, and compare them to the moisture levels in the air, correctly.
Also check: Does a humidifier increase oxygen?
Some humidifiers will behave like they would behave when they are brand new, after cleaning every component of them.
If you suspect this could be the problem, please give the humidifier some time to acclimatize. It should start working after a few hours.
2. Check for water in the humidifier circuitry
This is one of the first culprits of a humidifier failing to work after you clean it. Water from the base can leak to the circuitry board and make contact with the wires. This will cause the failure of the humidifier.
The best thing to do is to open up the base and check physically whether the wires have water. If they do, you will need to air-dry for a couple of days. This should remove all the water.
Do not try to blow the water out with a blower because that will only push it deeper into the wires and cause more problems.
Before you put the base back, spray the wiring with a WD40 rust remover. If metal parts come into contact with water, they sustain corrosion and it can cause problems in future.
After doing this, the humidifier should work just fine if the problem was water in the circuitry.
3. Do the other regular checks
Even before you get to check the circuitry for water, you need to do a few other checks. First, check whether the humidifier tank has water.
Start with the following:
Check whether there is enough water in the tank
Little or no water in the tank is going to prevent the humidifier from working. This appliance is designed to work with water. If it does not get enough, it will not work.
Depending on the model, some like most Honeywell humidifiers just shut down when there is little or no water in the tank. Others can continue running for some time, in which case they can overheat and sustain damage.
Check whether the power cord is working
If the power cord is broken or has a loose wire, the humidifier is not going to work! Start by transferring the humidifier to another socket, and see whether it works.
If it does, the power outlet is bad. If it does not, most likely, the power cord itself is broken. You can check the AC power plug by opening it up to find out whether the fuse is blown. If it is, replace it. If it is the power cables that have a problem, change them.
Ultrasonic humidifier not producing mist
If you have cleaned the humidifier and it is not producing mist, there are some checks to make. First, check whether you have entered the right humidity settings.
If the humidity settings are too low and the humidity level is okay, the humidifier is not going to produce mist, since the humidistat will read it as okay.
An ultrasonic humidifier produces mist by using a vibrating membrane, which vibrates and breaks the water into tiny droplets.
If there is a problem with the vibration mechanism, it is not going to produce mist and so it will not increase your indoor humidity.
Ultrasonic humidifiers will leave humidifier dust on your surfaces. However, this is going to happen when you use water that has minerals, or hard water.
Here are a few things to check when your ultrasonic humidifier won’t work:
4. The diaphragm is blocked
First, let’s say that for the ultrasonic humidifier diaphragm to be blocked, you would have to have neglected it for a long time, without cleaning it.
Overtime, bugs, dirt, grease and other things can find their way to the diaphragm. They end up blocking the diaphragm, in which case it is not going to work properly.
The only solution here is to clean the humidifier in its entirety regularly, say, once a week. This will prevent the build up of any sort of dirt on the diaphragm and will lower the humidifier down times.
5. The ultrasonic humidifier is not assembled properly
The ultrasonic humidifiers are a bit more complicated to set up, than the regular cool mist and warm mist ones.
Therefore, when you take it apart for cleaning, it is possible to miss a step or two when you are putting it back together.
This is why the humidifier might fail to work properly. In that case, you would have to take it apart, follow the user manual to put it back together.
6. Improper tank position: Frida humidifier not working after cleaning
When you have taken the humidifier apart from cleaning, you have to put it back together correctly. There is no room for mistakes.
Most people get the tank positioning wrong. If this is the case, some units just refuse to start completely.
If you have a Frida humidifier, it might run alright, but it will switch off soon after. It will also not produce mist when it is running.
7. The humidifier is broken down
Sometimes, you will have a humidifier not working after cleaning, because it is just faulty. It is hard to fix factory defects.
If the humidifier is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer to see whether they can replace it or repair it. If it is missing a part, it will not work correctly.
Some parts wear out slowly. Taking the unit apart from cleaning might be the coup de grace that it was waiting for.
If the ultrasonic humidifier is too old, perhaps it is time to replace it. The lifespan of most of these appliances is 5 to ten years.
Vicks humidifier not working after cleaning
If you have a Vicks humidifier, you can run it with or without VapoPads. However, it too can fail to work properly after cleaning.
If this happens, just follow the procedure that we have outlined here. Check the circuitry for water and if there is, air-dry the Vicks humidifier.
Otherwise, all cool mist humidifiers work the same way. Also, all warm mist humidifiers work the same way.
Even if you have the problem of your Homedics humidifier not working after cleaning it, well, it is the same thing all over. Do the same checks!
When you buy your Homedics humidifier, make sure you get the user manual with it. Look specifically for Homedics ultrasonic humidifiers manual online.
User manuals for humidifiers show you how to change filters, clean, assemble, set the humidity and do much more.
If you have been asking: What do the buttons on a HoMedics humidifier do? It is all in the user manual of your humidifier.
Remember, the user manual also warns you of things not to do. If you do contrary to what the manufacturer intended, you will void the warranty of your new unit.
Can you get sick from not cleaning your humidifier?
If you think your humidifier might refuse to work after cleaning it, you might want to miss a few cleaning sessions.
However, this is not advisable at all.
Humidifiers run on water. This water stays stagnant inside the tank of your unit. Therefore, the tank is a good breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
You should also look for symptoms of mold in the humidifier. If there is black or pink slime in the tank, that’s an indication of mold.
If you do not clean the humidifier, you can get sick. What happens is that whatever pathogens find their way in the unit, it will blow them out with the mist. And you will inhale them.
The mold in the humidifier will find its way in the house. It will develop new colonies by spreading mold spores in the air.
If you inhale mold, it can cause you respiratory illnesses. It can:
- Cause asthma flare-ups
- It can give you coughing fits
- Can cause excessive mucus discharge
- Skin issues, itching and rashes
- It can give you humidifier lung illness
You can also inhale the virus and bacteria that form in the humidifier. If this happens, you can sustain different types of illnesses. For people who ask whether a humidifier can cause chest tightness, it can!
If you use your humidifier often, clean it often. The least you can do is clean it once a week. If you use tap water in the humidifier, clean it more often to prevent the formation of scale.
Scale forms on the walls of the tank or on the heating element in warm mist humidifiers.
Final Thoughts: Humidifier not working after cleaning
A humidifier not working after cleaning is very common. Mostly, it comes from water in the base dripping its way to the circuitry.
If this has become a common tendency with your unit, please ensure you air-dry it properly when you clean it.
Moisture in the circuitry is not the only culprit! Also perform all the other checks we have suggested here.
The good thing is that most of these things are easy to fix. There are so many resources on this blog to help you.