Here’s Why You’re Wrong When You Ask: “Can A Humidifier Damage Electronics? “

Electronic devices are what this modern world is now made of. A lot of our household things are considered electronics even at workplaces. It could be your laptop, Smartphones, tablets, and other modern devices powered by electronics.


In fact, 88% of the U.S. respondents utilize laptops or computers frequently, with Smartphones tailing behind at 77% according to the recent statistics report.


Since it is already the cold season, most of us got our humidifiers running on a daily basis, to keep our homes warm and cozy. With this device frequently on, you might probably wonder if a humidifier can damage your electronics?


A humidifier does not harm your electronics but having extremely low or high humidity can. This is because electronic devices especially those powered with circuit boards are sensitive to environmental conditions especially humidity and sudden change in temperature.


Almost all types of electronic devices are highly sensitive to extreme temperature and humidity. However, you may not see the effects sooner, but low or high humidity is already destroying your electrical components and you might end up with a damaged device, thinking it was just a mere software or hardware failure.


But how extreme is extreme when it comes to damaging electronics? Allow me to further explain to you how humidity causes an adverse effect not just on your health but also to your gadgets.


How Can a Humidifier Damage Electronics?

effects of humidity on electronics

A humidifier helps a lot in balancing indoor relative humidity to make our homes comfortable and cozy during the winter. This device is also powered with electrical parts that some people confuse to have an adverse impact on other gadgets, particularly with a computer, laptops, cellphones, and more.


This device does not do any damages to electronics but rather helps your electronics prolong their lifespan by balancing the humidity indoors and avoid any types of electrical discharges.


The most recommended indoor humidity is between the range of 40-60% and with temperatures no higher than 75℉. If you go low or beyond this average, it could lead to many issues such as alteration in the electronic conductivity, corrosion, and even malfunction.


What are the Effects of Humidity on Electronics?

effects of low humidity on electronics

Are you also like me, who loves to make use of modern technology into making lives easier? If yes, then you probably own a lot of electronics at home.


Let’s admit it, electronics have simplified complex and challenging situations before. One major example is the mode of communication. Kids nowadays will never understand how difficult it was for our grandparents to live with the scarcity of communications during their time.


We are fortunate for the development of Smartphones wherein we enjoy spending a lot of time chatting, calling and sending multimedia to our friends and loved ones.


These touchscreen devices are made with electrical circuits and components that are susceptible to varying conditions. Now that it’s the humidifier season once again, you might actually wonder if your humidifier can harm another electronic device.


A humidifier helps a lot in balancing indoor relative humidity to make our homes comfortable and cozy during the winter. This device is also powered with electrical parts that some people confuse to have an adverse impact on other gadgets, particularly with a computer, laptops, cellphones, and more.


The most recommended indoor humidity is between the range of 30-60% and with temperatures no higher than 70 °F. If you go low or beyond this average, it could lead to many issues such as alteration in the electronic conductivity, corrosion, and even malfunction.


How Moisture Affects your Electronics


The usual problem with humidity on electronics is the formation of water droplets which will potentially corrode the copper traces. Another thing to note is the condensation on a powered which can cause short circuits and can damage other components.


Effects of Low Humidity on Electronics


Low humidity makes us feel uncomfortable and sickly especially during the wintertime. Like our health, dry air also has a negative effect on your electronic devices.


When the indoor air is dry, it makes the electric current receptive to receiving unintended courses within your electronics and lead to short circuits and harm electrical components.


Static electricity is the most common effect of low-humidity at home, and our electronic devices are not free from it.


In fact, electronic engineers say that static electricity is a big no-no for your gadgets. Static electricity happens when there is an imbalance of electrical charges.


Usually, the semiconductor components of any electronic devices are mainly affected by static electricity. This includes the transistors, diodes, and microchips.


While other types of equipment such as your washing machines, TVs, and oven are not easily affected by static electricity because their components are not hypersensitive.


High Humidity Impact on Electronics


On the other hand, it would take around 70 to 85% of humidity to cause havoc on your electronic devices. Often, high humidity can cause data loss on your devices, short circuit, corrosion, increased resistance, and even physical damage.


Devices that are Sensitive to Humidity

List of Devices sensitive to low humidity

Ok, so know that you understand that having high and low humidity levels actually cause static electricity and this greatly affects almost all electronic devices, you might ask, what are the gadgets or devices that are prone to static electricity?


Electrostatic-sensitive devices are normally the components of electronic devices like your computer CPU, blue LED, computer cards, transistors, and more.


On the other hand, here is the list of electronic devices which are highly affected by humidity:


  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Cameras
  • Game consoles
  • Printers
  • Radios
  • TVs


Notice that these devices have electronic components or circuit boards that are highly sensitive to humidity and air moisture. When they come into contact with dust, dirt, and humidity, they tend to cause sensitivity and failure.


Especially now that we have low humidity, it may cause static electricity inside the device’s components and may result in a power failure or short circuits, which can lead to more serious matters.


How To Protect Electronics From Humidity

How Can a Humidifier Alleviate Low Humidity Effects on Electronics

You can protect your beloved electronics against humidity with proper humidification.


Just like you and your home fixtures, electronics are also prone to destruction once exposed to humidity over time.


Although it would take a long time before your electronic devices suffer the consequences of having low or high atmospheric conditions, cliche as may seem but it is better to be safe than sorry.


Installing a humidifier in home areas with low humidity and with the presence of your electronics would be the safest choice to have right now.


Experts recommend that you control the indoor air humidity between the range of 40-60% to ensure that you feel comfortable, your furniture and fixture will not suffer, and it won’t endanger your electronic devices.


Overall, a humidifier can help prolong electronic life and produce the following:

  • Increase electronic performance
  • Reduce the risk of ESD (Electrostatic Discharges)
  • Decrease static electricity in the entire room and electronics



Other Ways to Protect Home Electronics from Humidity


Apart from installing a humidifier at home to prevent humidity from eating up your electronics, you can also do any of the following:

Place a Silica Gel

A pack of silica gel is useful as a moisture absorbent in an environment below 60°C. You can place a pack of it inside the circuit board of any of your electronic devices.

However, it may be inconvenient for you to open and place these packs inside and it’s more threatening when you don’t have any technical background.

Install a Suction Fan

Another idea to reduce damages on electronics is to add a custom suction fan. This fan will suck the air out from the casing. This particular method is best practiced in high humidity conditions.

Early Detection of Low Humidity is Essential

early detection of low humidity

Understanding your indoor home humidity needs is highly crucial. You can’t just say that placing a humidifier is already enough without checking the humidity levels in each area. Every room can be different and each has its own needs.


This is also so true when it comes to maintaining a harmonious environment at home and protecting not just your health but as well as all the electronics you own.


Which is why installing a hygrometer is essential. The hygrometer will be the device that monitors temperature and humidity levels so you will know which parts of the house needed humidification.


You can get a hygrometer anytime from the hardware or at any home stores.

Where to Place a Humidifier to Protect Electronics

where to place the humidifier to protect electronics

Instead of blindly heating up the air in the hope to protect your home electronic devices, it is better to understand where to place the unit.


NEVER put the humidifier beside your laptops, computers, and other devices with PCB or printed circuit boards. This is because the mist emitted into the air may come in contact with electrical components and cause corrosion and electric failure.


Computer, laptop, iPad, and Smartphones are the most sensitive electronics that needed extra care. These devices are more prone to static discharges when there are low-humidity and overly dry conditions.


While TVs, radios, DVD players, washing machines, and these sorts of appliances have high resistance to humidity and temperature. Plus, they got thick coating and enclosures that can protect their internal components from various environmental conditions.


Here is a checklist of what to consider and where to place your humidifier:


  1. 1
    First,you have to monitor the room humidity level by installing a hygrometer
  2. 2
    Review the Power Supply Unit nameplate or the computer manual for its operating conditions (This is applicable for computers or those devices with PCB
  3. 3
    If humidification is needed, look for a humidifier that could cover the entire room size
  4. 4
    Place the humidifier far from the electronics. According to experts, placing the humidifier at least 10ft away from your electronics and other devices with PCB)
  5. 5
    Elevate the humidifier at least 2ft from the ground to ensure better humidification.
  6. 6
    Do not place the unit near the window curtains or walls. Give at least 10 inches gap for proper humidification.


Maintain a Constant Room Temperature


Apart from properly humidifying your room for home electronic protection, having a fitting temperature is also important.


You must maintain the constant room temperature and avoid switching the temperatures often as it may trigger condensation (like turning the air condition on and off).


Remember that changing temperatures trigger positive and negative impacts on your home electronics. Different electronic devices can withstand different temperatures too.


The most ideal room temperatures, particularly for electronics during the winter, is 68°F during daytime and 62°F during night time. These temperatures are perfect for your comfort, your electronics, and your electricity bill.


Conclusion


A humidifier does not cause any form of damages to your electronic devices but moisture can. Having low or high air moisture indoors can trigger electrical reactions inside the device’s components like static discharges and short circuits.


There are both positive and negative effects of a humidifier to your electronics and you need to be sensitive enough to learn how to deal with humidity while protecting your gadgets at home.


You have to consider a lot of factors in fact, you have to understand the conductivity levels of your devices and how sensitive they are to electrostatic discharges.


Low humidity levels cause dry air and produce static electricity. If your electronics are exposed to dry air in a long time, it will cause electrostatic discharges and later on damage your device such as power failure.


On the other hand, electronic devices exposed to high humidity levels more than 70-85% are more dangerous. Prolonged exposure can cause component failure and worst, even corrosion.


Overall, we are talking about humidity here which is the main culprit why your gadgets tend to fail over time.


It all boils down to maintaining a well-balanced indoor humidity at all times. I suggest that you keep your indoor humidity levels between 40-60% throughout the winter season to balance everything, your health, comfort, and of course your electronics.

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