You are not alone if you are looking for why your humidifier has suddenly started sputtering. A lot of people search, “why is my humidifier sputtering?” on a daily basis.
It can be alarming when your normally quiet device starts making strange noises. Here, we will share common reasons that cause a humidifier starts sputtering.
Why Is My Humidifier Sputtering? 12 Common Reasons
The definition of sputtering is “to emit or cause to emit (tiny drops or particles) by ejecting them into the air.”
When it comes to humidifiers, sputtering occurs when water droplets are forcefully ejected from the device. Also, a sputtering humidifier starts making strange noises and even stops working altogether.
There are a few reasons why your humidifier might start sputtering:
1. The Water Tank Is Empty:
Water is essential for all humidifiers. It is the key ingredient that produces moisture. Without water, your humidifier will not function.
If your humidifier doesn’t have enough water, it will start to sputter.
The reason is that the humidifier is trying to get water, but there’s not enough water. While, the motor keeps running even though there’s no water to humidify the air.
Due to this, the humidifier will start making noises and, later, it will shut off.
So, if your humidifier is sputtering, check the water level. If this is the case, add water to the tank. Further, always keep the water tank full and never let it run dry.
2. Overfilled Water Tank:
An overfilled water tank will also cause your unit to sputter like an underfilled water tank.
Water will start spilling out from the unit when you overfill the tank. This spillage can cause the motor to become wet, which in turn will cause the humidifier to sputter.
Also, this can damage the humidifier and void the warranty.
If your humidifier is sputtering, check the water tank to see the water level. If the water level is too high, empty some of the water.
Moreover, keep in mind to add water to the “max line” 3/4 of the water tank.
And, be careful next time not to overfill the tank, as this can cause serious damage to your humidifier.
3. The Filter Is Dirty:
A filter in a unit keeps the water clean by trapping minerals and other contaminants. Over time, the filter will become clogged with these contaminants.
When the filter is old or dirty, it can cause the humidifier to sputter. This is because it cannot get enough water through the filter due to blockage.
As a result, the humidifier will not be able to produce enough mist and will start to sputter.
To avoid sputtering, it is important to change the filter regularly. You should replace the filter every 3-6 months or more often if you live in an area with hard water.
You can also clean the filter (if it is washable) to extend its life.
For that purpose, soak it in a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water for about 30 minutes. Then, rinse it well and let it dry completely before putting it back in the humidifier.
4. Damaged Humidifier’s Pads:
A humidifier pad is a piece of moistened material that helps in emitting water vapor into the air. A damaged humidifier pad can cause your humidifier to sputter.
When the pads become old, they can get hard and cracked. As a result, they won’t be able to absorb water as well, so they start working abnormally.
The pads are usually located at the bottom of the humidifier’s chamber.
Remove the chamber and look at the pads to check if it needs a replacement. In case it is crumbling or discolored, you should fix the problem.
Either clean it or replace it, but don’t let it work anymore if it is the reason behind the sputtering. If you keep ignoring the problem, your humidifier will eventually stop working.
5. Poorly Placed Humidifier:
Sputtering can also take place if you have not placed your humidifier properly.
The machine needs to be on an even surface to function without issues. If it is not placed properly, the water inside will start making noise, leading to spillage.
This happens because of the wrong placement of a humidifier. So you will need to either move it or place something under it to make it level.
A tilted unit cannot pass the water through the filter and causes the sputtering.
Water passes smoothly through the filter when you put a humidifier on a balanced surface. As a result, a unit produces a fine water mist without sputtering.
6. Hard Water Is The Reason:
Hard water is water that contains high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
These minerals leave behind when the water evaporates and can clog the humidifier. The mineral buildup prevents the smooth working process of a humidifier.
Water cannot pass freely when a unit is full of mineral deposits, causing a sputtering sound. The good news is that there are ways to prevent this from happening.
You should use distilled water that is free of minerals. This helps prevent deposit buildup and keeps your humidifier working properly.
You should also descale the unit to remove mineral deposits and prevent sputtering.
7. The Humidifier Is Too Old:
Things can last longer than their intended life, but, everything will start to show its age. Especially electronics are only meant to last for a finite number of hours.
In the same way, it is not possible to use a humidifier forever.
A humidifier over a few years old may start to sputter because it isn’t working as efficiently as it used to.
Due to wear and tear, the moving parts inside the unit will start to degrade and cause the humidifier to sputter. So, if your humidifier is starting to sputter, it may be time to replace it with a new one.
9. Dry Wick:
A wick in a humidifier is a piece of absorbent material that helps to draw water up from the humidifier’s base.
When a fan inside the humidifier blows over the wet wick, it helps to create a moist environment. If the wick becomes dry, the fan will not be able to produce enough moisture.
Conversely, a humidifier will start sputtering and creating a strange water mist.
Moreover, minerals in the water can accumulate on the wick, making it harder to absorb the water.
To fix this problem, you’ll need to clean the wick. Furthermore, ensure that the wick is always saturated so it can continue doing its job.
After a while, wicks will naturally become worn out, so you take care of this too.
10. Blocked Air Intake:
Air intake is the part of the humidifier where the air is taken. If this area becomes blocked, the humidifier will start sputtering.
This happens because humidifiers rely on fans to push air through the unit and into the room.
If the air intake is blocked, there isn’t enough airflow, and the unit can start sputtering. An air intake becomes blocked because dust or other small particles block the screen.
Simply clean the air intake with a brush or cloth to fix this. You can also clean the air intake by using a cotton swab or a toothpick to remove the debris.
Once the air intake is clear, the humidifier will start working properly again.
11. The Motor Is Failing:
A motor is one of the most important parts of a humidifier. Without a motor, the humidifier can’t generate airflow.
It’s responsible for powering the fan that blows air through the unit. When a motor starts to fail, the humidifier will start to sputter.
In some cases, the motor will make a loud noise when it starts to fail. This is a sign that the motor is having difficulty turning the fan. When fan blades don’t run smoothly, they cause sputtering.
So, if you notice that your humidifier is making a loud noise, it’s a good idea to check the motor. Thus, if the motor is failing, you’ll need to replace it.
12. Something Is Blocking The Nozzle Or Fan:
There is a small metal mesh screen located over the nozzle. This screen can become blocked by mineral deposits. When this happens, it can cause the humidifier to sputter.
You should clean the nozzle and metal screen on a regular basis to prevent this from happening.
Moreover, a fan blade can also become bent or damaged. When this happens, it will start to make a lot of noise and may cause the humidifier to sputter.
You should check the fan blades on a regular basis and replace them if necessary.
The most important thing you can do to prevent your humidifier from sputtering is to keep it clean. A clean unit will run more smoothly and quietly.
One of the common questions of humidifier users is, “why is my humidifier sputtering?”
The main reasons that cause sputtering are wrong water level, blockage inside the unit, dry wick, dirty filter, hard water and damaged parts.
Also, an old unit, an empty tank and poor airflow cause sputtering.
To prevent this problem, you have to clean your unit regularly. Further, keep an active eye on the device so you can repair or replace the damaged part immediately.
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