You can’t just put a humidifier anywhere. And it’s not because of feng shui. Adequately positioning a humidifier in your home can have a major difference in how well the humidifier will be used.
In fact, if you know where to put a humidifier, you can increase its effectiveness by more than 15%. Even more importantly, placing a humidifier incorrectly in a room can reduce its function by as much as 30%. On top of that, you can inadvertently cause a breeding ground for mold.
The biggest mistake when placing a humidifier is usually putting it in a corner, on the floor, or near a wall. In these cases, we will get localized higher humidity levels (let’s say 80% near a humidifier) but the rest of the room will still feel dry (let’s say 30% relative humidity). These placement mistakes create an uneven distribution of humidity (soggy near the humidifier, dry air everywhere else).
Where should I put my humidifier?
We’re going to cover the 7 golden rules for placing a humidifier in a room. To correctly place your humidifier, you should at least be aware of the general principles for placing a humidifier in your bedroom, living room, kids room, and so on.
On top of that, we have added the bonus tip at the end (that will involve a little bit of exercise on your part).
We’ll go one-by-one through these rules, starting with the most important one:
1. Best Place To Put A Humidifier Is Where The Most Airflow Is
We’ll talk about putting a humidifier on the table, a nightstand in the bedroom, near plants, and so on, later on.
The first general principle for where to place a humidifier is this:
Always put it in a place where the air is moving the most.
Any humidifier is a singular source of higher relative humidity (or moisture). In order for the moisture to spread throughout a room or entire house most efficiently, it needs to be placed where we have the most airflow.
Airflow is nothing else than air moving. A humidifier will moisture the air in its general vicinity. If that air is not moving around, you will have a localized high humidity space, but the rest of the air in the room might still feel a bit dry.
Example: You will see high 80% humidity levels near a humidifier. If that air is not moving around effectively, chances are that even 6 feet away from the humidifier, the indoor humidity levels will still be 30% (aka. dry air).
The best practice for placing a humidifier is to put it:
- Between a window and a door.
- Between a window and another window.
Windows and doors present entrance/exit for air. Between a window and a door, there will likely be a small but significant airflow that will help disperse the moisturized air from a humidifier throughout a room.
Here is another example of how where should you place a humidifier to increase the even distribution of higher relative humidity air:
2. Keep The Humidifier 2-4 Feet Off The Ground (Place It On A Table)
There are several reasons why you shouldn’t put a humidifier directly on the floor or too close to the ceiling. You want to find that sweet spot 2-4 feet of the ground and at least 4 feet below the ceiling (especially in case of high capacity 500+ ml/h cold mist humidifiers.
Here is why putting a humidifier on the floor is a bad idea:
- You will get less airflow on the floor. Down there, the air is usually stale and moves around less than 2-4 feet of the ground. This will increase the likelihood of uneven humidity distribution.
- Spillage on the floor. Humidifiers are prone to spilling water and leaking. To prevent damaging your floor, you should keep a humidifier elevated off the floor.
- Pets or kids can easily knock the humidifier over if it’s placed on the floor. Of course, cats are known to knock down stuff from tables as well; that’s just their nature.
Now, it’s also not the smartest move to place a humidifier close to the ceiling. This is true in any case; whether you’re trying to figure out where to put a humidifier in your bedroom or where to place a humidifier in the living room.
That’s because most humidifiers expel the moisturized air at the top. If that water-rich air is to reach the ceiling unimpeded, you will have to worry about the ceiling paint breaking apart, or even worse, about mold.
It is not all that uncommon to see the black mold on the ceiling above a humidifier that’s elevated 5+ feet of the ground.
The best elevation for a humidifier is between 2 and 4 feet. That’s where it will get sufficient airflow, won’t damage the floor, is less likely to be knocked over, and is still positioned enough away from the ceiling not to cause ceiling paint damage or spur mold infestation.
That means that you should place a humidifier on a table (either low 2 feet or high 4 feet table) in the middle of the room.
Of course, due to potential leakage, it’s always advisable to put a humidifier on a towel.
3. Place A Humidifier Near Heaters (Places With The Lowest Relative Humidity Levels)
Even when you don’t use a humidifier, some spaces in your room or house have lower relative humidity levels than the rest of the room.
Example: Areas near heating sources (near heaters) usually have lower relative humidity in the winter (let’s say 30%). While the room may still have an average of 40% relative humidity levels, you should start by increasing the moisture levels where there are the lowest.
A lot of times, it makes sense to place a humidifier near a room heater. This may be a space heater, baseboard heaters, or even a mini-split heat pump air handler or heating vents. Those spaces are known for three things:
- Higher air temperature. Due to higher temperatures, the air feels especially dry.
- Lower relative humidity levels. Heated air can usually retain less moisture.
- Good airflow due to warm air rising to the ceiling.
As we can see, we need to increase the humidity levels near these heating sources. On top of that, due to warm air rising, placing a humidifier near a heating source will ensure ample airflow.
That means that the humidifier will first moisturize the air that needs moisture the most, and that humidified air will be easily propelled throughout a room due to heated-air-rising airflow. That will ensure a more even distribution of moisture generated by the humidifier.
4. Don’t Put A Humidifier In A Corner (Bedroom Humidifier Placement Mistake)
Placing a humidifier in a corner is a no-no. That’s because of two main reasons:
- Corners get a minimal amount of airflow. A humidifier in a corner will moisture your air very unevenly.
- Corners usually already have higher-than-average relative indoor humidity levels. Example: That’s why you will first see mold growth (including black mold growth) in the corners.
As a general rule, you should place a humidifier as close to the center of the room as possible. That’s easily manageable when you’re putting a humidifier in a living room.
What about bedrooms? Where should you place a humidifier in a bedroom?
In a bedroom, the ‘corners are a no-no’ rule is the most evident. We can’t put a humidifier in the middle of the bedroom; that’s where the bed is. On one size, there usually are closets, and on the other side of the bedroom, we have two corners.
That’s why many homeowners think that it would be great if you could use that bedroom corner and fill it up with a humidifier. That’s not the best humidifier placement for a bedroom.
In a bedroom, you should put smaller humidifiers on a nightstand and bigger humidifiers for large rooms on a table or even a chair. Make sure that the distance between you and the humidifier is at least 3 feet; you might need to move a nightstand a bit away from the bed.
You can check a list of the best humidifier for bedrooms here.
5. Put A Humidifier Near Plants (They Usually Need Additional Moisture)
According to Dr. Leonard Perry from University Of Vermont, “houseplants do best at a relative humidity of 70 to 80 percent, a level that is often difficult to maintain in the home.”
Pretty much any house plan will welcome the vicinity of a humidifier. Putting a humidifier close to house plants is the most obvious rule for positioning a humidifier.
That’s true especially in the winter when the humidity can fall below 40% quite often.
Now, you might be thinking, ‘Hey, I have a humidifier, what difference does it make, if I put it near the plants or not? The humidity levels should be the same throughout the room’.
Quite a big difference, actually. Humidifiers don’t provide an even distribution of moisture in most cases. For example, an air conditioner will be able to create an even distribution of temperature (let’s say from 68°F to 72°F). An average room humidifier will ensure that the moisture levels are from 50% to 80%; that’s quite a substantial range.
We want that higher 80% of indoor relative humidity levels to be where the plants are, right? The easiest way of achieving that is by placing a humidifier near the plants.
6. Don’t Put A Humidifier Near Electronic Devices (Electricity And Water Don’t Mix Well)
We all know that water can damage electronic devices. Imagine suspending an iPhone in very close vicinity of a humidifier; the moisture would sip through all the iPhone jacks and eventually damage or even completely ruin the phone.
The same is true for laptops, radios, stereos, Alexas, etc. Be careful that you don’t expose the expensive electronics to the higher-than-average moisture levels in the immediate vicinity of a humidifier.
When positioning a humidifier, also make sure that the moisture stream (either cold mist or warm mist) doesn’t blow into a laptop, desktop, phone, and so on. That moisture stream usually has 100% relative humidity levels and it will be able to damage any electronic device if you expose it to the stream long enough.
Be also aware of electric devices as well. Outlets and multi-outlet extension cords shouldn’t be near a humidifier. Standard outlets are usually elevated from the floor and flooding won’t cause an immediate problem there.
The multi-outlet extension cords are another matter; if you place a humidifier above an extension cord, the moisture (or leakage water) can drip into the outlet extension cords and damage your equipment.
7. Always Try To Put A Humidifier In The Center Of The Room
If you want for the whole room to get as even distributed of air moisture as possible, try to put it at the dead center of the room.
Putting a humidifier next to a wall is a bad idea. The column of moisture coming from the humidifier might damage your wall (wall paint and water don’t mix).
Putting a humidifier in the center of the room will ensure ample airflow and adequate distribution of relative humidity levels. This is especially true for the 360-degree moisture output humidifiers.
Bonus Tip: Move A Humidifier Around The Room
As we know, the biggest problem with positioning the humidifier is ensuring the even distribution of humidity. You can maximize this distribution if you keep the humidifier elevated, close to the center of the room, and so on.
You can maximize the efficacy of the humidifier even further if you move the humidifier around. Yes, you will have to unplug and plug the humidifier when moving it around, but you can increase the evenness of moisture levels tremendously if you reposition the humidifier every few hours or so.
If you feel there is a place in a room that still feels dry, just move the humidifier there, and let it do its magic.
Hopefully, now you can use the humidifier to its full extent by knowing how to correctly position it in your home.