Hands-on Review – humidifier for the ham shack
Humidifier 101: Since I live in the desert southwest on a mountain plateau at an elevation of 5,400 feet, low humidity is a huge problem. Single digit humidity is not good for me or my gear.
After doing a lot of research on humidifiers and water filter systems, I came to these conclusions:
- Distilled water is best for humidifiers, however it is expensive. Since my kitchen already had an APEC under-the-counter 5-stage R/O water filter system, I use this highly purified water in my humidifier. The APEC produces filtered water which tests to ‘zero’ Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). This level of purified water is cost effective. I caution you not to buy/use typical bottled water — it can be no better than your unfiltered tap water. Unfiltered water and humidifiers do not play well and can lead to blowing white dust all over your shack and/or provide a breeding ground for pink or black mold.
- My next step was to choose a humidifier that would meet my needs. I wanted a large reservoir unit so I didn’t have to add water multiple times per day. I also wanted a unit that was quiet. I ended up trying six different humidifiers before I discovered a winner, the two-gallon PureGuardian H4810 humidifier.
- I also use two PureGuardian accessories — Antimicrobial Aquasticks and a demineralization filter for added levels of protection. You simply drop the sticks into the reservoir and the filter screws into the water filler cap. These accessories wouldn’t be necessary if you use distilled water. But distilled water is not economical or practical for me.
A humidifier needs care and attention. Tips for keeping your humidifier in top shape:
- Never use tap water.
- A two-gallon tank will give you multiple days of runtime, but I drain and dry my unit every three days.
- Be on the lookout for any pink or black spots on the surfaces where the reservoir seats with the bottom unit. Use a mild Clorox Regular bleach solution if any mold is present. If you drain, clean and dry your unit periodically, mold will never have a chance to grow.
- Going to be away from your shack for a few days? Never leave water in the unit.
Yes, there is some labor involved to get a humidifier operating properly and safely. But its a godsend to have in my low humidity environment.