If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you’ll know how critical it is to have a humidifier in your house.
The problem is, if you don’t use distilled water for humidifiers, they leave white dust everywhere. The best solution to this problem is water softener tablets for humidifiers.
Read on, if you want to know more about water softener tablets, how they work, as well as a brief overview of the best options on the market. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
What Are Water Softeners?
Water softeners are formulas and methods that are used to soften hard water. They’re used in a wide variety of fields, such as household humidifiers, water filters, hospitals, and various industries.
Hard water is water that contains a significant concentration of minerals. These minerals are mostly composed of calcium and magnesium carbonates as well as bicarbonates and sulfates.
While water softeners come in a variety of types, they usually utilize similar mechanisms to soften the water, which is reducing what’s known as the “surface tension” of the water and binding with the trace minerals that increases the water hardness and break the tension.
Water softeners are also used in humidifiers to improve its performance, further improve the air quality around the house, and even reduce the humidifier cleanup chores. But more on that later.
What Are the Different Methods to Soften Water?
There are various methods that you can apply to soften hard water and make it more suitable for a humidifier. Let’s have a brief overview of those methods.
The simplest and oldest of methods to soften hard water is simply boiling them. However, you can easily predict the pros and cons of such a method.
For example, it’s super easy and requires no special equipment. Yet, it also means that you’ll need to actively boil water every time you need to refill the humidifier.
Not only that, but you’ll also need it to cool down and accept the fact that it won’t soften the water to the desired level.
Some people might also think that boiling water is the cheapest method. And while they’re kind of right about that, if you rely on the method consistently, it can cost you a little more than you think in gas or electricity bills depending on the method you use to boil the water.
All in all, water boiling can be used as an emergency method or when you have no other options but not a convenient long-term solution.
Technically, soap breaks the surface tension of the hard water, so they’re considered a method. However, using soapy water for a humidifier can do more harm than good.
Most water filters on the market use reverse osmosis as one of their main modes of action. By using a water filter, you’ll be able to quickly fill your humidifier with soft water and extend its life and performance.
However, you should keep in mind that reverse osmosis systems aren’t the most cost-efficient method to go for.
They cost a lot to get them initially installed and they will still require frequent maintenance that cost quite a hefty sum annually.
So, they’re a bit of an overkill if you’re only looking for a method to soften water for your humidifier.
Water softener tablets are special tablets that dissolve in hard water to reduce water tension and bind with the minerals leaving almost no traces behind.
Unlike boiling water, they provide an immediate effect and requires no waiting time to either heat up the water or waiting for it to cool down.
Moreover, it undergoes an ion-exchange method that’s quite similar to the ones used in the pricey reverse osmosis systems.
Technically speaking, they’re the go-to method for softening the water used in humidifiers efficiently and without costing a lot of money.
What Are Water Softener Tablets for Humidifiers Made of?
For anyone who’s using humidifiers to improve the air quality in their house, it’s expected to be curious about what goes into making these tablets.
Since I had my doubts too, it took it upon myself to research these tablets. Here’s what I’ve found out.
When the tablets dissolve in water, they release these sodium and potassium ions into the water, replacing the magnesium and calcium ions that are making the water hard.
Ideally, most water softener tablets on the market are made of sodium chloride. You need about 8 grains of sodium (0.5 gram) for every gallon.
One thing you should know is that sodium chloride is a safe ingredient to inhale unless you’re suffering from high blood pressure or watching your sodium intake.
In that case, you should opt for potassium chloride, which contains a much lower concentration of sodium. Similar to sodium, it’s also safe enough for daily use unless you suffer from renal issues.
Should You Use Water Softener Tablets for your Humidifier?
Water softener tablets will help your humidifier perform much better because they remove a greatly large percentage of the minerals that are making the water hard.
The minerals in hard water will easily disperse into the air which you breathe and also land on the different surfaces in your house. When the water dries up, the mineral left will leave a messy stain known as “white dust” or “water spots”.
The same air quality will also be absorbed by your lungs, causing various issues, such as breathing difficulties.
Not only that, but they also make the humidifier itself extremely hard to clean and clog the filters, interfering with the humidifier performance and reducing its lifespan in the long run.
By opting for a water softener tablet, you’ll be able to avoid all these issues while granting you:
- Better indoor air quality: due to the lack of suspended hard minerals in the air, lowering the chances of your breathing them significantly
- Less cleaning of the device and the surfaces: because it reduces the abundance of white dust after the water dries up
- Better performance and longer lifespan: because the hard minerals don’t clog the humidifier
All that while giving immediate results and staying mostly harmless and relatively inexpensive.
Top 4 Water Softener Tablets for a Humidifier Available on the Market
Kicking off the list with one of the best demineralization tablets for humidifiers on the market. Hunter 31960 prevents the formation of white dust and water spots by breaking down the tension in hard water.
The tablets provide immediate results and you can actually use them while the system is running, so you won’t have to do any kind of disassembly.
They’re also quite easy to use, as you only need to throw a tablet in water and watch it perform right away!
Ideally, the tablets are designed to work with ultrasonic humidifiers like the 31004 Humidifier. However, it can work with other types to a lesser extent.
- Super easy to use
- Lasts for a week
- Compatible with different types of humidifiers
- Some users complained about the white haze that it produces when it’s first used
BestAir HCC31 Humidifier treatment capsules are great options if you want an unrivaled level of air quality using your humidifier.
In addition to reducing water hardness, these capsules feature antimicrobials components that can prevent the growth of bacteria or mold in the house for a more hygienic environment.
The capsules work with different types of humidifiers, including ultrasonic ones, vaporizers, and well as cold and warm misters.
Moreover, they’re extremely cost-efficient. The single capsule can last for up to 45 days if your humidifier is 2 gallons or less.
- Lasts for up to 2 months
- Prevents the growth of bacteria and mold
- Affordable price
- Might not work in some extremely hard water conditions
The water softener comes in a pack of two, containing capsules with small beads that work surprisingly fast.
Ideally, you need about 1 stick for each gallon. So, you won’t need to use the two sticks unless you’re using a 2-gallon humidifier.
- Easy to use
- Fights mold and bacteria
- Can be used with misters, vaporizers, and ultrasonic humidifiers
- A bit pricey for their amount
The 3BT bacteriostatic water treatment isn’t in the form of capsules, sticks, or tablets. Instead, they’re simply liquids that you can directly add to the water.
Similar to the HCC31 sticks, this one can also be used with a wide variety of humidifiers, vaporizers, and misters.
Moreover, they also fight bacterial growth and help in eliminating unpleasant odor in the room without adding any weird scents, which comes in handy for people with sensitive lungs!
- Helps in eliminating unpleasant odor
- Ideal for people with allergies and sensitive lungs
- Works with huge humidifier tanks
- Some users find it hard to measure the liquids and prefer the easy tablet popping.
There you have it. A complete guide that walks you through everything you need to know about water softener tablets for humidifiers.
Ideally, I recommend the BestAir HCC31 PDQ4 Humidifier Demineralization Treatment Capsule as the all-around best option on the market.
It’s extremely easy to use and you will have to replace them once every two months. They also come at a decent price, so they won’t break the bank when you need to replace them.