Sunday, March 31, 2013

Keeping Humidifiers Fresh Smelling

 Our $5 garage sale purchase.

Winter is almost over and I forgot to write about one of the most important helpful hints of Winter.  It is a humidifier for those of us who heat our homes from October until April.  We have pellet and wood stoves which I blogged about earlier (Pellets or Wood - Another Source of Heat) posted on 1-11-13.    By using this type of heat or any furnace for that matter, the household air becomes very dry.  The dry air causes a lot of static electricity so everything you touch gives a person a small shock.  It also dries out the nasal passages and causes nosebleeds and coughs.  People in our climate should run humidifiers to maintain some moisture in the air.  The strange part about that is when Spring and Summer arrive, then we need dehumidifiers to remove the excess moisture.  If we don't the carpets, bedding and even our pets tend to smell a bit musty.  It is a constant struggle to maintain the proper humidity in Wisconsin.

The biggest problem with humidifiers is to keep the water fresh so the humidified air smells fresh and doesn't distribute spores which can cause allergies and even more problems than dry air.  A couple years ago we bought a larger sized humidifier at a garage sale.  We only paid $5 but it didn't have a filter.  Luckily the filters were still available and we pick up a few when our local Menards home improvement center has their 11% rebate sale.  That reminds me, I have to send that rebate in today.  Anyway, we learned the hard way that if you don't clean the reservoir completely and add something to the water, your air smells as if you have many cats even if you have none.  There are bottles of freshener that you can buy but that gets costly and there is no reason to buy it.  I have found that if you put two Tablespoons of baking soda into every gallon of water, the air smells fresh.  I also put in 1/4 cup of lemon juice which adds a lemony smell.  The lemon juice and baking soda serve another purpose.  It keeps the lime deposits under control and not as much cleaning is required.  Another little helpful hint is that I place the humidifier on one of those plastic or rubber trays for putting wet boots on.  In case of overfilling or leakage, the water doesn't get on the floor.

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