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A non-traditional humidifier

October 17, 2007

The problem with humidifiers is that they usually need expensive filters, distilled water, and they have to be cleaned to prevent mildew and nasty smells.  In my bedroom I have a Honeywell brand humidifier that is impossible to clean.  The manufacturers thought it would be a great idea to make the mechanism inaccessible by using screws that can’t be unscrewed by consumers (they are neither phillips nor standard).  I think they wanted to prevent people from tinkering with it or electrocuting themselves, but the fan blades are covered in oily dust because I can’t get to them.  Also, the filter gets sickeningly dirty in a matter of weeks even when I use distilled water.  Each filter costs $10 and since a gallon of distilled water only lasts two or three nights, that can add up too.  Apart from the fan mechanism being hard to clean, this humidifier is so noisy.  Generally, I am not happy with the humidifier in my bedroom.

In contrast, the Crane brand humidifier in my children’s room is brilliantly easy to clean.  The fan mechanism is internal so it doesn’t get dusty, and it doesn’t even use a filter!  They completely eliminated the cost and hassle of filters.  It is simple and effective.  It does not measure the humidity in the room, so you have to have some external way to gauge that, but the vapor output is adjustable with a knob on the front.  The power switch is on the back.  It is recommended to keep it out of children’s reach and away from any ceiling vents that might blow the vapor down.

It comes in various styles including sports balls and many different animals.  We chose the pig because it is pink, but not feminine.  The funny thing is, I think the same generic mold is used to make all of the animals, so our pig has paws instead of hooves.  The face cap that makes him a pig has two ears out of which the vapor comes.  It is fun to watch (just look at the photo–doesn’t that look entertaining?).

Crane Humidifier in action!

We use it at night from October until March to help combat the dry heated air.  It helps tremendously when the children are congested and keeps their skin from getting dry patches.  They are able to sleep through the night even when they are sick, in part because this humidifier keeps them comfortable.  It is silent apart from a rare gurgle sound as water transfers out of the tank into the base.  Although it is meant to humidify one room, we do leave the door to their room open so that the humidity doesn’t get too intense.

One expense to consider is distilled water that we buy in gallon jugs.  I prefer to use distilled water instead of tap water because of the convenience of pouring from a jug and because I think it cuts down on the need to clean buildup of impurities.  I realize that throwing away the empty plastic jugs week after week is not environmentally responsible.  I am thinking about what to do about that.  One gallon typically lasts 3 nights.

The face cap lifts off to reveal a handle.  Since condensation accumulates on the underside of the face, it is best to have a towel handy to place it on.  Then the tank can be lifted off the base by the handle and refilled by turning the tank over and unscrewing a cap on the bottom.  The tank holds the entire gallon of water.  Once you get used to doing it, refilling the humidifier is easy.  It needs to be cleaned with a little bleach diluted in water once a week.

If you need a humidifier this winter, I recommend this one.  It is available through for $34.99 but it is not in Target stores.  Some of the other models, like Hello Kitty for example, are available in stores.

  1. October 17, 2007 5:15 pm

    I love it! Humidifier in stylish models! Too cool. You could always recycle your plastic distilled water jugs-isthere a place around where you live where you could take the jugs? You might research and find out if anyone might be able to use the jugs for something else-arts and crafts projects-schools/daycares/boyscouts/girlscouts/4-H clubs…

    Your blog is lookin’ good-I’ve been sprucin’ mine up-I added some pics to mine too. I’m glad we are still in touch even after pt.

    Later gator!

  2. October 17, 2007 6:49 pm

    Oh that’s darling!

  3. October 18, 2007 11:11 am

    Good idea, Mercedes. We live in an apartment with a dumpster, so my husband (very anti-clutter, anti-packrat) throws everything into the dumpster. I hope I can talk to him about an unobtrusive recycling bin, but our apartment is so small it’s tempting not to save things. It’s a poor excuse, I know.

  4. October 18, 2007 6:37 pm

    Well I wasn’t the best at recycling either. I just now really became more conscientious (wow-I spelled it right the first time-yippee) about it. My boyfriend and I drink canned drinks and I just started REALLY recycling all of our cans. I receive the local newspaper and recycle it too. I recycle other items for my classroom. I am looking into the recycling pick-up program in my town. They come on the same day as trash pick-up and pick up recycling. They have a huge divided vehicle that they can pick up items and put in the sorted sections of the vehicle.

  5. Accountable permalink
    October 19, 2007 9:44 am

    We recycle EVERYTHING that we can. It started at home. While in college, my roommate and I felt weird not recycling, so we did a makeshift recycling program for our dorm floor and took it in ourselves.

    Where we live currently has free curbside recycling. I love it. My parents have curbside recycling too. The in-laws do not have free curbside, so they do not recycle and it drives me CRAZY!!!!!

  6. October 24, 2007 7:54 am

    Update: Last night my husband suggested we replace our gross Honeywell humidifier with a Crane. We may go with the cow this time. 😆 No need to save these great humidifiers for children’s rooms only, right?

  7. October 29, 2007 7:47 am

    Another update: I bought the frog one for our room. I got a 10% discount using a coupon code at which took off $3.50 from the price, but then I had to pay $8.24 in shipping. Last night was the first night that it was cold enough for the heat to kick on, so these humidifiers are a necessity. I’m excited about our little green frog!

  8. Tippy Canoe permalink
    October 29, 2007 11:48 pm

    Hi there. i ran into your blog while looking for information on cleaning these wonderful humidifiers (my 11-year-old has a penguin and the baby–just 1 this week–has a frog. Of course, I somehow lost my directions once I took the humidifiers out of the box and have only been air drying them. My neighbor casually mentioned “oh gee, you use the cool air humidifiers. Aren’t they a pain to clean so that you don’t give your kids bacterial infections…” YIKES. I am glad to see that you mentioned a diluted bleach once a week. I will try that (I am guessing about a Tablespoon of bleach to a tank of water). I like your blog and will visit again.

  9. October 30, 2007 9:19 am

    I still have the manual so I will put the cleaning instructions here:

    Do not leave water in water tank or water basin when unit is not in use as it may result in the build up of mineral deposits and bacteria that can inhibit the output efficiency of the humidifier. Please note that if water remains in the water tank for more than a day or two, bacterial growth is possible. Always use fresh cool water when using unit.

    Note: When removing water tank, water may accumulate under vapor lid and on the bottom of the water tank. It is recommended to have a dry cloth ready to dry wet surfaces.

    Disinfecting the water tank and water basin:
    1. Fill water tank with 1 teaspoon of household bleach in 1 gallon of water. Let stand twenty minutes, shaking vigorously with two hands every few minutes, drain and rinse with clean water until the bleach smell is gone. Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
    2. Wipe the water basin with a soft cloth dampened in the bleach and water solution. Rinse the water basin with cool water to remove any bleach smell. DO NOT IMMERSE WATER BASIN IN WATER.
    3. Wipe all exterior surfaces of the base with a soft, dry cloth. Do not immerse the base in water or use water to clean the base. An electric shock may result or the humidifier may be damaged.

    So, this cleaning should be done once a week. I think you can use vinegar instead of bleach. Also, did you know you can unscrew the water float that senses the water level? You can take the screw and the float and the plastic pin that secures it out and wipe them so they don’t get slimy. Let me know if you have any more questions about cleaning it. You can download the pdf manual at for the penguin model (the instructions are basically the same for all models). Thanks for coming to my blog and for commenting. 🙂 And happy birthday to your son!

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