Dehumidifiers

Can Humidifier Cause Mold Problem on Wall?

Mold On Wall

With mold generally growing on surfaces or areas with high humidity, it’s normal to think that humidifiers, devices used to increase moisture content in the air, can increase their growth. So, can a humidifier cause mold on walls?

If you run a humidifier properly, it cannot cause mold on walls. However, if you run it with the wrong humidistat settings (above 55% humidity level, when dirty, with the humidistat faulty, using mineral-rich water, or place it too close to the wall, it’s possible to cause the molds on the walls.

It’s crucial you make sure you run the unit properly to avoid mold growth, leading to health and breathing problems. In this post, I will take you through each of the above issues, elaborate on them, and offer the best solution.

How Can a Humidifier Cause Mold on Walls?

A humidifier is a handy appliance that ensures indoor air remains humid to prevent health conditions and respiratory problems, skin conditions, and snoring from occurring by preventing the air from being so dry. It can ensure the air humidity in your home is at a comfortable level between 30 and 50 percent. It does this by using a water source and blowing cool air across it. The cool mist evaporates and raises the room’s humidity level. However, the same humidifier can cause mold to form on the wall. This can happen;

1) When the humidistat settings are too high

When operating the humidifier, you want to make sure the humidistat or the controller is set at the recommended humidity levels, between 30% and 50%. Setting the control at this range ensures condensation does not form on the walls, which can cause mold. If the level is above 50%, especially when it is wintertime, moisture will seep through cracks and gaps into walls, leading to mold formation.

2) When the humidistat is faulty

Humidifiers, especially portable ones, come with an on-board humidistat designed to help the unit know when the humidity is too low or too high. That allows the appliances to start or stop. If your unit’s thermostat is faulty and doesn’t sense when the ideal moisture level is achieved, the humidity level might rise high enough to be a problem. You can know when the humidistat is faulty by monitoring how long the unit takes to go to standby mode or if you start noticing water freezing on the window glasses.

3) When the humidifier is dirty

Humidifiers require frequent cleaning to get rid of dirt and contaminants held on the surfaces and filter. If left uncleansed, mold will take the opportunity and start growing. When you run a dirty humidifier, it might spray mold spores into the air, and the walls would be the next stop. When the interior air gets warmer and humid, these spores will grow to mold and multiply.

4) When you use mineral-rich water in the humidifier

Mineral-rich or hard water isn’t ideal for use in a humidifier. The reason behind this is when the water inside the humidifier is misted out; the minerals tend to spray out with the water particles and settle on surfaces, including walls, as mineral dust. And since they are wet, they create a perfect breeding spot for the mold. So, with time, mold spores will start to grow, and before you know it, you have a mold problem to deal with.

5) When you place the humidifier too close to the wall

Humidifiers increase the room air humidity by misting warm moisture into it. When the appliance is placed too close to the wall, the mist of warm moisture will hit the surface and settle there. As the unit humidifies the room, more and more condensation will form water, and the wall will become wet. The wetness can distribute, creating the ideal breeding spot for the mold.

How to Prevent Humidifier from Causing Mold on Walls?

Ways to Prevent Humidifier from Causing Mold on Walls

Even though a humidifier is capable of causing mold on your home walls, you can make sure it doesn’t by using the appliance appropriately. Here are some things you can do to ensure your humidifier doesn’t cause mold in your home.

1) Set the unit controller correctly

The humidity level in your home should be between 30% and 50%. This will prevent the wall from getting wet or damp. It is recommended that you use a hygrometer to measure the humidity level in your home. The device will also ensure you know when the humidity levels are at an alarming range if the on-board humidistat becomes faulty.

If you want to make sure the relative humidity doesn’t exceed 60%, these levels can result in condensation, leading to mold growth. Worse, you might need to get a dehumidifier to rectify a problem you could have avoided by inputting the correct values on the controller.

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2) Clean and maintain the humidifier

Drain and clean the humidifier every day, at least once a day – standing water can be a breeding area for bacteria and mold. It is best to unplug the unit before cleaning to avoid electric shock hazards.

Use a disinfecting cleaner or vinegar and water solution to clean your humidifier tank thoroughly. If you use a chemical disinfectant like chlorine bleach, remember to rinse the humidifier tank to avoid breathing the harmful chemicals in it.

If the tank is stained, you will need a brush or a dishwasher scrubber to clean it. However, be careful not to scratch the inner surfaces. Be careful not to bend or break the internal tubes. If your tank is badly stained, use baking soda to clean it up and then rinse thoroughly with plain water.

Consider cleaning and changing the filters regularly (follow manufacturer’s instructions) and replacing them when necessary. Dirty filters reduce airflow power and cause humidity buildup, leading to mold growth.

3) Use distilled or demineralized water

Reduce scale buildup inside the humidifier and avoid white dust in your home by using demineralized or distilled water. Avoid tap water as it contains lots of minerals. It can also help to use demineralization filters or cartridges if supplied or recommended for your humidifier. When the unit is turned off, wipe any water on the exterior with a clean cloth so that your home does not develop mold growth.

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4) Place the humidifier properly

The best place to locate the humidifier is away from walls. This will prevent the mist of moist air from settling on walls and causing wall mold growth. Keep it at least three feet from your wall. Make sure there is a free flow of fresh air around the unit so that you can get rid of the stale air that collects inside the room. Monitor the carpeted areas around the dehumidifier to ensure they are not wet. You can use a moisture meter to be sure.

Bonus tip: Take an Indoor Air Quality Test (IAQT): you may want to take an indoor air quality test to determine whether or not you have a mold problem in your home and what the source of the problem is.

How can I get rid of mold on walls caused by a humidifier?

Scrape off the mold growth using a scraper or stiff brush if the wall is dry. Discard all soft materials that are not salvageable, repair, and restore. You can also use clean water to moisten it before scraping off the material. If the walls are wet, you can dry them up with an air conditioner or a dehumidifier.

But be careful; too much humidity in the room may cause mold growth again. You should clean and disinfect the surface with water and liquid dish soap mix before applying primer to create a flat wall surface again. Apply a mold-killing chemical to make sure nothing is left behind.

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Related Questions:

Can a humidifier spread mold?

Humidifiers increase the room air humidity by misting warm moisture into it. When the appliance is placed too close to the wall, the mist of warm moisture will hit the surface and settle there. As the unit humidifies the room, more and more condensation will form water, and the wall will become wet. The wetness can distribute, creating the ideal breeding spot for the mold.

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Sharif Hasan

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