What is an Ultrasonic Humidifier?

B. Turner

Humidifiers add moisture to dry winter air within a home. Some users rely on traditional steam humidifiers or vaporizers, while others prefer modern ultrasonic models. An ultrasonic humidifier uses high-frequency vibrations to add particles of water to the air. These units are available in both whole-house and room-sized varieties to suit the needs of different users.

An ultrasonic humidifier produces cool mist yet makes little noise.
An ultrasonic humidifier produces cool mist yet makes little noise.

Rather than heating the water to produce steam, an ultrasonic humidifier contains a piezo-electric transducer. When electricity passes through this transducer, it creates a series of fast-moving sound waves that cannot be heard by the human ear. These waves cause water inside the humidifier tank to break into minute droplets. These drops of water are then distributed through vents in the tank due to pressure created by the sound waves. Some models may also contain a fan to distribute moisture throughout the room more effectively.

Human ears cannot detect ultrasonic waves.
Human ears cannot detect ultrasonic waves.

By adding moisture to the air, an ultrasonic humidifier improves occupant comfort within a home or business. Added moisture helps to relieve dry sinuses, and may help those with colds or respiratory ailments feel better. Humidifiers also prevent wallpaper or flooring from peeling when air is very dry.

Compared to other types of humidifiers, an ultrasonic humidifier produces very little noise, and creates a cool mist rather than hot steam. This makes these units safer for homes with children, as there is less risk of scalding. Ultrasonic humidifiers also provide a high level of control over moisture and temperature levels, unlike steam vaporizers.

Buyers must take steps to clean and maintain an ultrasonic humidifier to reduce the risk of health concerns. To avoid bacterial growth, only distilled water should be poured into the tank. The unit should be cleaned regularly, and water should not be left in the take when the unit is not in use. A demineralization cartridge can minimize scaling and prevent calcium and other minerals from entering the room.

Unlike other models, and ultrasonic humidifier contains no filter. This means that all impurities within the water are delivered straight into the air along with the drops of water. This may contribute to poor air quality and dust or scaling on furniture around the unit. Units that are poorly maintained may experience mold or bacterial growth, which are then spread into air in the room. Many of these potential problems can be minimized as long as proper care and maintenance are performed on the unit.

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