humidifier on fire burning

Can a Humidifier Start Fire?

As you may be aware already, water is required for humidifiers to function the way they do and add moisture to the room to remove dry air.

It is important to remember that humidifiers require electricity as well and when the water within the device evaporates away, the chances of the humidifier starting a fire increases. Why so? Let us explain.

What Happens When the Humidifier Runs Dry?

Since these devices run on electricity, as soon as the water inside the humidifier evaporates, it will become dry and prone to explosion. When the humidifier overheats, it can give rise to a fire. However, it will not explode immediately. How does this happen?

Well, let us try to visualize what happens in such situations. As the humidifier starts to run dry, the motor inside the device still keeps running. This motor will lead to the device overheating.

When the humidifier overheats, the plastic within the device will melt. This in turn will give rise to the fire. There are different kinds of humidifiers of course and some are more likely to start a fire than the other.

For instance, when you talk about steam humidifiers, you should expect them to be riskier towards fire safety, in comparison to the evaporative models of humidifiers.

Related reading: Can You Run A Humidifier Without Water?

Why Do Humidifiers Overheat?

When we talk about evaporative humidifiers it is important to remember that they do not use heat to disperse and cool the air around. However, when the water runs out, the humidifier will start to smell and dry out.

When the empty water tank state prolongs too long inside the humidifier the motor is at the risk of starting a fire. However, this is not much likely in evaporative humidifiers.

On the contrary, when talking about steam humidifiers, this is slightly more likely. When the steam humidifier runs out of water, the high amount of heat required to boil the water can lead to the device starting a fire.

However, it is good to know that most steam humidifiers come with an automatic shutdown mechanism that can turn off the machine when the water runs out.

Related reading: Can Humidifier Ruin Electronics?

Is It Safe to Leave the Humidifier on All Night?

If you consult experts, they will tell you that it is indeed safe to leave the humidifier on all night. It is not a risk as long as you are well informed about how your home or surrounding around the device reacts to humidity.

When the air becomes dry and the temperature decreases, it is okay to consider running the device. However, if you know that the device might not survive the long hours of dryness, it is wise to avoid leaving it unattended and switched on all night.

When you buy a humidifier, you should look at the properties it comes with. Most will say how long they can function with a full tank. If you prefer to use one for the whole night, you should choose one accordingly.

Can Adding Alcohol to Humidifiers Lead to Fire?

Yes. In short, you can risk causing a fire emergency or an explosion if you add vodka to the humidifier. How does this happen? Vodka is an alcohol and a flammable liquid.

As you might already be aware, the humidifier is made up of components that consist of heating elements that can boil the water you add to the device and convert it to steam that is then dispersed throughout your space.

Hence, when you add vodka as the liquid to the humidifier, instead of water, you are leading the flammable liquid towards the heating element. When you do so, the possibility of giving rise to a fire does not seem that impossible, does it? Of course, the model and built of your humidifier will define where such a fire occurs or not. But, why should you take that risk anyway?

However, the recent models of humidifiers come with a system of cold steam. This means these devices use cold steam to convert water to vapor by sonicating. This will highly reduce the possibility to cause fire, which is indeed more common in the devices that come with the heating element instead.

How to Avoid Humidifiers Starting Fires?

There are some tips on how to use a humidifier safely. Some of them are given below:

Use Filtered Water or Distilled Water

This can help prevent the buildup of minerals, which can minimize it overheating as well.

Clean the device regularly: When you maintain the device well, you will know how you can keep the water tank from drying out too fast or all at once. You can also rinse the filter.

Related reading: Best Water For Humidifier

Keeping It Away from the Heating Sources Nearby

You should remember to keep the device away from heating areas like space heaters or heat vents.

This will help decrease the probability of fire, even in the months of winter when you are likely to have operating heat sources around.

Related reading: Can You Put Fabuloso in a Humidifier?

Final Words

Now that you are aware of the fact that humidifiers can lead to a fire, it is important that you have enough precautions to prevent that from happening.

It is important to understand the principles behind the operation of such devices to understand how to avoid the possibilities of overheating and hence, avoiding fire hazards.



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