How Long Does It Take For A Humidifier To Work?

Last Updated on: 11th December 2023, 07:43 pm

As the cold weather approaches, it brings with it extremely dry air that makes the environment uncomfortable and unpleasant. The dry winter air also worsens many health issues such as dry skin, allergies, and so on. Fortunately, a humidifier brings air humidity levels back to normal and relieves these issues. But how long does it take for a humidifier to work?

If you are wondering the same then you are in the right place. This article will thoroughly discuss different types of humidifiers, the time it takes for a humidifier to increase humidity, and various factors that determine its effectiveness.

Table of Contents

How Long Does It Take For A Humidifier To Work?

how long does it take for a humidifier to work?

Usually, most humidifiers add moisture to the air in a few minutes to several hours and it can take between 3 to 24 hours to feel a noticeable difference in the air’s humidity levels in your home. The time it takes for a humidifier to work and make your atmosphere comfortable depends on various factors such as the type of unit you’re using, the dryness of the air, the size of your room, and many other factors.

First, let’s talk about the different types of humidifiers.

Types of Humidifiers For Your House

There are several different types of humidifiers such as:

Warm Mist Humidifier

Warm mist humidifiers are one of the common types of humidifiers. These types of heaters are preferred especially in colder regions. A warm mist humidifier works by heating the water to make vapors. The vapors are cooled before they are released into the air.

The heating method kills bacteria and germs. That’s why they are useful in relieving cold and flu symptoms. One advantage of using a warm mist humidifier is that its internal fan is quiet so it doesn’t make a lot of noise.

Cool Mist Humidifier

A cool mist humidifier works best in warmer climates as they increase humidity in a room without increasing the temperature. This type of humidifier works by using a fan that passes air over a wet wick. Also, it consumes less electricity as it doesn’t involve the heating process as in the warm mist humidifier.

A cool mist humidifier is beneficial in alleviating your allergy symptoms. Also, it helps with chest congestion and cough by adding the required moisture and humidity in the air.

Ultrasonic Humidifier

Ultrasonic humidifiers are becoming increasingly popular nowadays. This type of humidifier works by breaking down water droplets with ultrasonic vibrations to create a mist that is expelled into the air.

Ultrasonic humidifiers don’t use a large amount of water which saves you from the hassle of frequently refilling your device. They are also safe to use and do not consume a lot of electricity to operate. Also, ultrasonic humidifiers work at extremely low noise levels making them ideal for your home.

Factors that Affect a Humidifier’s Performance To Humidify

A humidifier’s performance depends on many factors that decide how long a humidifier takes to work. Take the following factors into consideration if you’re concerned about the effectiveness and working of your humidifier.

how long does it take for a humidifier to work?

Room Size – Small Room Vs Large Room Area For The Humidifier

The size of your room is an important factor that you should consider before buying a humidifier. The larger the area of the rooms in your house, the longer it will take for the humidifier to add moisture to the air and maintain the desired humidity level.

However, if the space is smaller, the same unit will increase humidity in the room in a couple of hours.

Room Structure For The Humidifier

If you’ve placed your humidifier in a room that has windows and doors, it will take longer for the humidifier to increase the humidity level in that room. The reason is that air inside will have a chance to pass through the cracks of these windows and doors which will adversely affect the effectiveness of your humidifier.

The Output Rate of the Humidifier

The output rate is another important factor that determines the effectiveness of your humidifier. The more moisture a humidifier pushes into the air in a certain time, the faster it will take to reach the desired humidity level. Therefore, choose a humidifier that has a higher output rate or adjust your humidifier to work at a maximum level.

Humidifier Capacity

The capacity of the humidifier is the measurement of how much humidity a humidifier can produce in a 24 hour period.

Humidifier Placement

The right location of a humidifier also makes a big impact in evenly dispersing moisture in the room. You should put your humidifier on an elevated surface and in the middle of your room to make the most out of your device.

Placing the humidifier in one corner will take longer to distribute humidity to the opposite corner of the room.

Environmental Humidity

If the environment’s air is dry and cold, it will take longer for the humidifier to refresh the air and reach the required humidity levels. However, if the air is humid, especially during the morning, you’ll notice your humidifier works fast in bringing the desired moisture levels to your room.


If you have a lot of stuff in your room such as carpets, bedding, wooden furniture, and clothes then your humidifier will have to work harder to maintain the ideal humidity levels in the air. The reason is that the surfaces of some objects absorb more moisture, for example, carpets and wood, making it difficult to increase moisture in the air.

Air Conditioner

If you are using a window air conditioner in the room, it will also impact how long it takes to humidify and increase relative humidity.

How to Increase The Effectiveness of Your Humidifier?

how long does it take for a humidifier to work?

To speed up the humidifying process and to make your humidifier work more effectively, follow the tips described below:

  • Use distilled water: Using distilled water in your humidifier is the best option for many reasons. Compared to tap water, distilled water is free from all the mineral impurities that encourage the growth of mold and bacteria. Also, there is a risk of your humidifier being clogged because of these minerals. Moreover, the white dust you see on your furniture’s surface comes from the mineral content in unpurified water.
  • Clean your humidifier regularly: Frequent cleaning and maintenance ensure optimal performance of your device. Read the humidifier’s manual instructions to clean the unit properly. You can use white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide as a cleaning agent to disinfect your humidifier. This prevents the growth of bacteria and mold.
  • Change the water in your humidifier: The water in your humidifier’s tank can harbor harmful bacteria and germs that may spread into the surrounding atmosphere leading to serious infections. It is thus essential to replace the water in the tank regularly.
  • The right location: Place your humidifier at the right location to get the most out of your appliance. It is recommended to put your device in the center and high up the floor for even distribution of moisture.
  • The right model: You need to get the correct type of humidifier depending on the size of the room or space you want to put your humidifier in. This will ensure that your machine works effectively and increases the humidity levels in less time.
how long does it take for a humidifier to work?

How Do You Know Whether a Humidifier is Working or Not?

The best method to know if your humidifier is working is by using a hygrometer. A humidifier is a device that monitors the humidity levels of your indoor air. Some humidifiers come with an inbuilt hygrometer. However, it is advised to purchase a separate hygrometer as the inbuilt device might give inaccurate readings.

Another way to determine your humidifier’s performance is to check the water levels of your humidifier tank. A decline in the water level means that the device is pushing moisture into the air.

Congestion relief, improved breathing, reduced static electricity, and less frizzy hair also mean that your humidifier is working and regulating normal indoor humidity levels.

Final Thoughts On How Long For Humidifiers To Work

Various factors determine the time it takes for a humidifier to make the air comfortable and reach the ideal humidity level such as the room size and structure, the location of the humidifier, the environment’s humidity level, and the type of humidifier itself.

Normally, you can feel a difference in the air’s humidity level within 3 to 24 hours – not too long, within a few hours. It is advised to choose a model that suits the size of your room and has a high mist output per hour so that your humidifier takes less time to increase moisture levels leading to better air quality.