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Humidifiers are generally safe around electronics as long as you ensure that the humidity levels in your home are within the recommended levels. Continue reading to learn about the relationship between humidity and electronics.
If you are wondering if a humidifier is safe around electronics, the simple answer is yes. A humidifier is safe around electronics. Humidity is not the enemy but too much humidity can be problematic. Keeping the humidity at the recommended levels will prolong the shelf life of your electronics.
If the humidity levels in your home are too high, you risk damaging your electronics regardless of whether or not you will use a humidifier.
On the other hand, if the humidity levels in your home are relatively low, you will not have to worry about the moisture released by the humidifier.
The relative humidity in your home is a measure of the humidity levels within your home. You can buy a hygrometer to check the humidity levels in your home if you are unsure about the relative humidity in your home.
This post addresses the following concerns:
- Is a humidifier safe around electronics
- How high humidity affects electronics
- How low humidity affects electronics
- Summary of effects of high and low humidity levels on electronics
- How to use a humidifier safely around electronics
Is a Humidifier Safe around Electronics?
It is also important to note that dry air can damage your electronics. The components of electronic devices are highly sensitive to changes in humidity levels.
Dry air just like high levels of humidity can damage electronics, furniture, and even musical instruments stored in your home.
Natural changes in temperatures within the home associated with the heat generated by your furnace during winter to the air conditioners and dehumidifiers used during summer can significantly alter the humidity levels in your home.
Changes in temperatures can also contribute to excessive dryness of the air, especially if you do not monitor your indoor humidity levels.
How High Humidity Affect Electronics
Condensation from high humidity levels can cause corrosion. Corrosion-related damage on electronic devices is usually irreversible
Electric Current Leak
When condensation accumulates inside electronic devices due to high humidity levels in the room, the condensation can cause electric current leaks.
Leaking current can be described as the disruption of the electric current through an unwanted or unintended conductive path.
Conductors of electricity can be disrupted by water leading to the redirection of an electric current through the layer of condensation that might have accumulated inside your electronic.
Electric current leaks in electronic devices affect the performance of your devices or cause operational failure, especially in cases where a room is constantly dewy, which suggests that the relative humidity levels are at 100%.
Condensation-Related Mechanical Failure
If your room is constantly dewy, the condensation can accumulate inside your electronics over time leading to mechanical failure.
The accumulation of condensation in the electronic device can cause volumetric expansion of some of the components of the electronic device. This process is usually referred to as hygroscopic swelling.
Condensation can easily cause short-circuiting. A short circuit occurs when the electric current flowing through a wire comes into contact with a conductive object that is not suitable for carrying the electrical current.
The short circuit associated with condensation that might have accumulated inside an electronic device exposed to high humidity levels can be compared to the cases where a storm cuts off the electricity.
Damaged LCD Display
High humidity levels can lead to an accumulation of condensation inside the LCD screen of your electronic device.
Most electronic devices have an LCD screen. LCD screens have a digitizer that converts analogue signals to digital ones. The digitizer is a piece of glass attached to the LCD.
When the LCD digitizer comes into contact with water molecules, it can easily get damaged, especially if the water molecules are not dried within a few hours or days, depending on their location.
Continued exposure of electronics to humidity increases the risks of damage, especially if the internal parts of the electronic devices are exposed to high humidity levels.
How Low Humidity Affect Electronics
Just like high humidity levels, low humidity levels or dry air can affect the lifespan of your electronics.
Dry air can be defined as humidity levels below the recommended levels. Some of the common problems that you might have if the air in your home is too dry include:
Static electricity can affect the durability of your electronic devices through electrostatic discharge. Electrostatic discharge occurs when two objects that are electrically charged come into contact with each other. A visible spark can be seen during the process.
Low levels of humidity in a room increase the risks of the production of static electricity, which in turn increases the risks of damage to the components of electronic devices.
Accumulation of Dust
Low levels of humidity in a room also promote the accumulation of dust. In rooms with low humidity levels, electronics can accumulate dust over time.
The dust can jam some of the inner components of your electronic devices, especially if it has been accumulating in hidden internal components for a long time.
The best way to protect your electronics from dust-related damage is through proper humidity control.
You can use a humidifier to increase the humidity levels to the recommended relative humidity in your home.
Evaporation of De-soldering Paste
If you are a DIY ‘king’ or ‘queen’, working in a room with dry air can affect the effectiveness of your work. Dry air causes solder paste solvents to evaporate faster thereby affecting the efficiency of the soldering process.
As such, you risk working with pieces of electronics that are not connected to each other well, which can be risky especially if you are trying to repair or create something that will be used in your home for a long time.
Recommended Humidity Levels
The recommended relative humidity level for our home is between 30 and 50%. This recommendation aligns with the provisions of the Environment Protection Agency. Other studies suggest that humidity levels should be maintained at levels between 40 and 60%.
In general, the recommended levels within your home should not exceed 60% as that would be classified as relatively high humidity levels.
Similarly, you should not let the relative humidity levels in your home go below 30%.
You can get a hygrometer to assess the levels of humidity in your home and ensure that you are not living in a house with excessively high or low levels of humidity.
If you have a hygrometer in your home, it is also important to ensure that you place it at a central position, away from your windows or doors as that might affect the accuracy of the measure of humidity in your home.
Summary of Effects of High and Low Levels of Humidity on Electronics
|Effects of High Humidity Levels on Electronics
|Effects of Low Humidity Levels on Electronics
|1. Static electricity
|2. Electric current leak
|2. Accumulation of dust
|3. Condensation-related mechanical failure
|3. Evaporation of de-soldering paste
|5. Damaged LCD display
How to Use a Humidifier Safely Around Electronics
If you want to prevent humidity damage around your home, check out these guidelines, which will ensure you enjoy the benefits of having a humidifier around your home, while at the same time protecting your electronics against humidity damage.
Check the relative humidity levels
It is important to check the humidity levels in your home if you feel like the room is quite dewy or humid.
One way to assess the humidity levels without an additional device is using your senses. If you feel like your room is dewy or humid, then the humidity levels are probably higher than they should be.
Similarly, if a room in your home constantly smells moldy, there is a high likelihood that you have high levels of humidity in your home.
If you are unsure about the humidity levels in your home investing in a hygrometer will help you check the humidity levels in your home.
If you are looking for a hygrometer that you can buy for your home check out these recommendations on Amazon.
ThermoPro TP49 Digital Hygrometer Indoor Thermometer
The ThermoPro TP49 is a compact hygrometer that you can use in your home. This hygrometer has a pre-calibrated setting that you can use to check the recommended levels for humidity levels in your home.
You can use the comfort level setting to calibrate your air conditioner to regulate the temperature in your home.
You can also use the setting to help you determine whether you should be using a humidifier or dehumidifier in the room.
- LCD screen for displaying the current humidity levels and room temperature
- High accuracy, which makes it effective for identifying humidity and temperature fluctuations
- Compact size and design
- Multiple mounting options
- Long battery life
- Strong magnet that can be used to stick the hygrometer on your refrigerator
- Durable stand
- Humidity reading accuracy (+/-2% to +/- 3%)
- Temperature reading accuracy +/- 1 Fahrenheit
- Not rechargeable as it is battery operated: Uses 1 AAA battery
AcuRite 00613 Digital Hygrometer & Indoor Thermometer
An AcuRite hygrometer is a great option for indoor use. This AcuRite digital hygrometer and indoor thermometer updates its readings every 15 seconds, which ensures that it displays correct and reliable information. It can be a great option for checking the humidity levels and the temperature in your home.
- Light-weight (0.2 pounds)
- Digital display
- 1-year limited warranty
- Humidity reading accuracy +/- 2
- Temperature accuracy +/- 2 Fahrenheit
- Multiple mounting options
- Battery operated (1 AAA battery)
Where you place your humidifier is also crucial. For instance, if you place your humidifier near your television, laptop, or phone and direct the nozzle of the humidifier towards the electronic device, you might be increasing the likelihood of condensation accumulation in the electronic devices.
Ideally, you should place your humidifier in a central place in your home, like on a living room table to ensure that it is not directly near your electronics.
If you want to use your humidifier in a different room or position, simply check the surrounding area to ensure that the humidifier is not placed very close to electronic devices.
Recommended Read: Is it safe to leave a humidifier on when you are not home
So, is a humidifier safe around electronics? Well, based on our extensive research and experiences, humidifiers are safe around electronics. Electronics like human beings need humidity to promote their longevity.
If you eliminate all the humidity in your home, your electronics will be at risk of being damaged by the dry air in your home which would make them susceptible to static electricity.
Similarly, if you expose your electronics to high levels of humidity or if you live in a dewy environment, you also risk corrosive damage.
Understanding the right levels of humidity that you should maintain in your home, is important for preventing high or low humidity damage.