how long does it take for a humidifier to work

Once you set up your humidifier in the desired space, it takes a bit for your air to feel clear and refreshing. But how long does it take for a humidifier to work to get the air you want?

The short answer: It depends.

The long answer: How quickly your humidifier will fix your air depends on the size of the space, dryness of the air and what kind of unit you’re using.

In this guide, we’ll explain how humidifiers add moisture to your space. It’s important to understand the factors that can make your humidifier take longer to work so you can know what to expect out of yours.

How Long Does it Take for a Humidifier to Work?

Most humidifiers take about 10-15 minutes to warm up and start pushing out moisture.

Once that begins, it takes between three and 24 hours to refresh the air in the room and maintain a comfortable atmosphere. It also depends on the capacity of your unit and the size of the space, along with some other factors (discussed more below) that determines when it will recycle all of the air in the area.

How Do Humidifiers Work?

Humidifiers work to push moisture into the air in a few different ways. There are three main kinds of humidifiers:

Evaporative humidifier

An evaporative humidifier uses a fan to push water through a filter soaked in clean water. The dry air going through the filter evaporates some of the water, releasing it into the air, making it more humid.

Steam humidifier

Steam humidifiers boil water to release steam that will add moisture to the air in the room. These can also add heat to a room, making them less than ideal for summer.

Ultrasonic humidifier

An ultrasonic humidifier has a mechanism that vibrates at ultrasonic frequencies, which changes liquid water into tiny droplets that disperse into the air in mist.

Factors that Affect This

Consider all of these factors when you are waiting for your humidifier to kick in. Before you decide the unit is broken and worthless, ask yourself if you took all of these factors into account.

Capacity of Unit

The larger capacity unit you buy, the more moisture it can push out in a certain amount of time. Therefore, smaller capacity humidifiers will take longer to add water to a space than a high-capacity unit.

Room Size

The larger the room, the longer it will take for the air in the room to absorb the moisture dispersed by the humidifier. If you are using one humidifier for an entire home, it will take at least 24 hours for the house to be refreshed.

Room Structure

Room structure is a factor many don’t consider. For instance, if the room you put the humidifier in has many doors and windows, it can take longer. The more doors and windows there are in a room, the more cracks there are for the air to slip through and disperse outside of the room.

Tightly sealed doors and windows in newer homes are less likely to let this happen, while older homes will probably take longer to recycle the air.

Environmental Humidity

If you live in a dry climate, it will take your humidifier longer to affect the air than if you lived in a moderately moist location. Most people using a humidifier live in a dry area, so you should not expect the humidifier to immediately make a difference.

Location of Humidifier

how long does it take for a humidifier to work

A humidifier placed in a hallway or on the edge of a room will take longer to disperse moisture throughout the air. It is best to place a humidifier in the center of a room or space you want to refresh. Placing them up high also helps them to work better. 

Can I Speed Up My Humidifier?

Unfortunately, there isn’t really a way to do this. Other things can contribute moisture to the air, like healthy houseplants. But for a humidifier to work, you’ll need to be patient.

Closing doors and windows in a room can help trap the moisture to make the room comfortable more quickly. If your humidifier has a cap on it make sure it is properly sealed to maximize its effectiveness.

Other than that, you just need to wait for the moisture to thoroughly disperse. You’ll have a cool, comfortable room in no time.

Conclusion On How Long Does it Take for a Humidifier to Work

It can be a test of patience for your humidifier to adjust the air in your space — but we promise the payoff of clean, refreshing air is worth the wait.

FAQs Around How Long Does it Take for a Humidifier to Work 

Can you over humidify a room?

Yes, you can certainly add too much moisture to the air resulting in a damp feeling in the room. An over-humidified room can also lead to musty odors, and sometimes, the over-humidity can cause mold and mildew to begin to grow.

If you notice surfaces have condensation on them, or the air feels heavy when you enter the room, you can turn off your humidifier for periods to help balance this out.

Is my humidifier broken?

Probably not. Many people will turn on a new humidifier and be frustrated when the room is comfortable within the hour. Just be patient and give your new unit at least 48 hours before deeming it ineffective.