University study sites humidifier safety points

MADISON, WI — During the heating season, more than 25 million Americans use humidifiers to make dry household air more comfortable.

They can be sure of getting safe, clean humidity if they follow a few simple guidelines, according to Sean McCarthy, product manager for Research Products Corp.

1. Choose an evaporative-type humidifier, not one that creates tiny water droplets, says McCarthy.

Tests conducted at Penn State University have shown that furnace-mounted, evaporative humidifiers do not emit bacteria or mold, and do not contribute to airborne particulate levels in homes.

2. With a portable humidifier, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends cleaning the reservoir regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions, to prevent possible mold or bacterial growth.

For a furnace-mounted humidifier, a flow-through drain is recommended that eliminates the reservoir altogether.

3. Make sure the humidifier has an accurate control system.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends maintaining indoor relative humidity between 30% and 50%.

Too much humidity can create condensation on cold windows and encourage the growth of dust mites; too little humidity is not only uncomfortable, it also causes damage to the home and furnishings.

“People today expect safety, precision, and convenience in their home comfort systems,” McCarthy said. “Scientific evidence shows that when humidity is in the form of a water vapor rather than suspended droplets, homeowners can safely enjoy the wintertime comfort a humidifier provides.”

Want more information on the Penn State University study on evaporative humidifiers? Contact the manufacturer at 800-545-2219; www.aprilaire.com (Web site).

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