Are Ultrasonic Humidifiers a Source of PM2.5?

Ultrasonic humidifier | Purpleair

Outdoor air quality is unpredictable. The weather and atmospheric conditions can change from one day to another. Environmental pollution, car density, and even daily activities, like smoking and lighting fires, can affect particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations.

In a sense, indoor air quality should be easier to maintain, clean, and breathable.

But what if there is a silent enemy inside your home?

Today, we are finding out how ultrasonic humidifiers may significantly contribute to PM2.5 levels inside your home.

How Do Humidifiers Affect Air Quality?

Ultrasonic humidifiers use a piezoelectric transducer to generate ultrasonic vibrations that create tiny water droplets. These droplets are then circulated into the air by a fan to increase the overall moisture levels. Because of this delivery method, any impurities in the water become airborne.

Even after the water droplets have evaporated, this fine particulate matter (PM2.5) remains in the air. As a result, the humidifier is increasing the PM2.5 concentrations to hundreds of μg m-3 in the area, which can then circulate into the entire household.

The type of water used in humidifiers has also been a research topic. Various sources claim that tap water has little to no effect on people's health, given that few microorganisms present in the water could pose a threat to human health.

However, according to the article, particulate matter emitted from ultrasonic humidifiers can enter deep into our respiratory system. And that can cause short-term and long-term respiratory health risks.

So, what can you do about it? Well, we have a few solutions.

How to Reduce Effects of Humidifiers on Air Quality

Experts recommend using distilled water to minimize the risk of increased PM2.5 levels while using an ultrasonic humidifier. That way, less particulate can become airborne and inhaled by your body.

Suppose you live in a dry area and require a humidifier. In that case, the EPA says "evaporative" or "steam vaporizer" humidifiers may spit out fewer microorganisms than "ultrasonic" or "cool-mist" machines. So consider this when purchasing your next device.

An indoor air quality monitor could also help you monitor the air quality inside your home. The glowing LED light indicates the air quality. If your sensor is showing high concentrations of PM2.5 and you don't know what to do, consider following these useful tips.

Worried About Air Quality?

Monitor the Particulate Matter levels around the world with our free, real-time PurpleAir Map or join PurpleAir's mission to make air quality data accessible to everyone by investing in an air quality monitor for your home. 

Together, we can be informed and make changes in our daily habits and the community to improve air quality.