How Long Does It Take For A Humidifier To Work?

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After setting up your humidifier, it is normal for the humidifier to take a few minutes to start working properly. But, we all know that time is precious and no one wants to wait for long for machines to start working. So, a common question arises,” how long does it take for a humidifier to work?”.

To answer that question in short: it entirely depends on the model of the humidifier you’re using. But, on average, the humidifier might take 10 to 15 minutes to properly start working.

But, that’s not all. As the humidifier is an electric machine, there’s a lot of complex operation going on inside it. And, depending on its internal mechanisms, its time duration to reach peak performance can vary massively.

So, to get a detailed idea of how long a humidifier takes to work, you’ll have to go through the discussion below. For your convenience, here we have discussed this particular topic in a detailed manner.

What’s The Working Mechanism Of A Humidifier?

The duration of a humidifier starting to work with its full efficiency depends on which type of humidifier it is. Depending on the working mechanism, humidifiers can be classified into many groups.

What's The Working Mechanism Of A Humidifier

And, depending on the class of humidifier you’re using, it can take more or less time to start fully having its effect on the atmosphere. So, let’s get to know 3 of the major types of humidifiers and that estimated required time:

Evaporative Type

This type of humidifier uses a dedicated fan to blow air through a filter (soaked with freshwater). Then, the air molecules traveling through the filter take the water molecules along with them.

As a result, water evaporates into the atmosphere. This type of humidifier starts immediately working within 2 to 3 minutes.

Steam Type

In order to add more moisture to the atmosphere, a steam type of humidifier uses heat to boil the water. As the water gets boiled, an additional application of heat turns the water into vapor. Then, the vapor gets mixed in the atmosphere.

Since this type of humidifier depends on the boiling of the water, it will take at least 15 minutes to fully start working.

Ultrasonic Type

Ultrasonic humidifiers use ultrasonic sound waves to convert the water molecules into small droplets. These droplets are then dispersed into the atmosphere with the help of sound waves.

Now, since ultrasonic sounds can instantly turn water into vapor, this type of humidifier only takes 7 to 8 minutes to fully start having its effect on your home atmosphere.

How Long Does It Take For A Humidifier To Work? (Explained)

In an ideal situation, almost any type of humidifier will reach its peak performance in about 15 minutes. In this time period, the humidifier does a series of activities:

How Long Does It Take For A Humidifier To Work

Electrifying All The Machine Parts:

As the first step, the humidifier draws in power. As a result, all of its electrical components become active. Moreover, in this time frame, its capacitors and internal batteries get charged as well.

For all modern types of humidifiers, this step only takes 1 or 2 seconds.

Activating The Vaporizing Action:

Depending on the type of humidifier you’re using, as a second step, it will start its vaporizing unit.

In the case of ultrasonic humidifiers, the ultrasonic membrane will start dispersing water molecules in the atmosphere as aerosol particles.

On the other hand, steam vaporizing humidifiers will heat up the water and turn it into vapor.

Or, if you are using an evaporative humidifier that uses a fan’s mechanical action to create an airflow (which, in turn, creates water vapor), the fan will get activated and start rotating at this stage.

This particular step takes the longest time. In general, a humidifier will take 12-14 minutes to complete this stage.

Dispersing The Moisture:

At the third step, the humidifier will finally disperse the generated water vapor into the atmosphere.

As the final stage of action, this step is completed in 4 to 5 minutes.

So, it’s safe to say that a humidifier in an ideal condition will take about 15 minutes to fully reach its peak performance.

Now, it’s important to remember that, no matter which type of humidifier you are using, it will still need 2 to 3 hours to elevate the humidity level of your full home atmosphere. Moreover, if you turn OFF the humidifier, you still have it after effect for about 1 hour.

Factors Impacting The Performance Of A Humidifier

Although, in an ideal condition, humidifiers will reach their 100% efficiency in performance in the least amount of time. But, the performance of a humidifier is heavily dependent on a series of factors that impact its abilities. Let’s take a look and learn how these factors impact its duration of reaching full capacity in performance:

Factors Impacting The Performance Of A Humidifier

Size (Capacity) Of The Humidifier

This criterion of performance is really simple. If you buy a humidifier with a larger capacity, you’ll have faster performance. On the other hand, if you opt for a small humidifier with less capacity, it will relatively deliver its performance slower.

For example, if you use a 1,000-W humidifier which takes 10 minutes to have its effect on your home atmosphere, an 800-watt humidifier will take about 15 minutes.

Size Of Your Home:

Another factor that impacts the performance of your humidifier is your home size. Naturally, if you have a larger-sized home, the atmosphere size is also very large. As a result, it will take your humidifier quite a few minutes and hopefully have an effect on your home atmosphere.

For instance, if your home is a 1000 square meter apartment, the humidifier will take half as long to have its effect if you install it on a 500 square meter apartment.

Ambient Humidity Level:

The ambient level of humidity can actually boost the performance of your humidifier or slacken it a bit as well. If you live in an area where humidity levels are very low (somewhere below 15%), compared to a scenario when the humidifier is installed in an environment with humidity levels above 25%, it’ll take the humidifier much longer to fully reach its peak performance level.

Installation Location:

If you install a humidifier in the middle of your house, it’ll have the best and fastest effect on your environment. On the other hand, installing the humidifier at a corner will drastically reduce its performance efficiency.

For instance, if your humidifier takes 10 minutes to fully reach its peak performance while being installed in the center of your home, installing it in the corner will take at least 25 minutes to have its full effect on the environment.

Structure Of Your Living Space:

Finally, the rooms and walls also play vital parts in either assisting or decreasing the performance efficiency of a humidifier. For example, if you live in an apartment that has tiny rooms and has a lot of walls, your humidifier will take much longer to have its effect.

On the other hand, if you have a living space with fewer walls and large rooms, the humidifier will take less time to fully reach its peak performance.

Which Time Of The Day Should I Use The Humidifier?

Simply put, there is no magic hour for a humidifier in which it’ll deliver relatively more performance. That’s why we recommend using the humidifier whenever you feel the need to have a moist environment. And, it’s also best to keep the humidifier running at night (when the whole family is sleeping).

Which Time Of The Day Should I Use The Humidifier

Other than these tips, there is no “special time” for a humidifier, when it can deliver more performance. Since the humidifier is an electric device, it’ll work at the same rate as long as you provide electric power to it.

Other than that, The humidifier will provide about the same performance regardless of which part of the day you’re using it in.

Now, you might ask, why doesn’t a humidifier have a convenient window of performance (in a 24-hour clock cycle)? Well, it’s simply because you can’t really predict when the dry air will hit your home. Furthermore, you can’t also tell how much the temperature is going to be on a particular day or night.

So, that’s why it is pretty accurate to say that there’s no specific time frame when the humidifier will work the best. The only appropriate time frame for the humidifier to work is when you actually need it.

Can I Keep The Human Affair Running 24/7?

Well, that depends. In most cases, you won’t need to keep the humidifier running 24/7. It’s because constantly keeping the humidifier on will deposit excess moisture into your atmosphere. As a consequence, you can have excess humidity in your home. That, in turn, can create a safe haven for the bacteria to grow in your home.

So, we recommend that you keep a humidity checker (hygrometer) at your home. As a result, you’ll be able to constantly monitor the humidity level of your home. Once the desired humidity level is reached, you can immediately turn off the humidifier.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Type Of Hygrometers Are Best?

For a user-friendly experience, we recommend going for hygrometers that also have temperature meters embedded in them. Furthermore, smart hygrometers are also recommended (which can directly send the monitored data into smart devices such as phones, tablets, etc.).

You can try out the Temp Stick Wireless Remote WiFi Temperature & Humidity Sensor. It’s a smart temperature and humidity sensor that facilitates you to monitor the atmosphere right from your smart device.

Can I Sleep When The Humidifier Is Turned On?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to have a good night’s sleep with your humidifier turned ON. It’s because keeping the humidifier running while sleeping will render you an undisturbed sleeping experience. Furthermore, thanks to your humidifier, you won’t have a dry throat during your sleep.

So, if you feel that the air is a bit dry, go ahead and turn on the humidifier before you go to sleep.

Can My Humidifier Still Work If I Keep The Window Open?

No, keeping the window open will only lessen the efficiency of your humidifier’s performance in humidifying your atmosphere. It’s important to keep in mind that a humidifier can only increase the humidity level if the air of your atmosphere is stationary.

Since opening the window will create an airflow in your home atmosphere, all the moisture will quickly be swept away by the wind. As a result, the humidifier will not be able to provide good performance, and it’ll just be a waste of energy to keep it turned ON.


We understand that it can be quite a trial of patience to wait for your humidifier to start fully working (especially in the case when you bought a new humidifier and turned it ON for the first time).

But, it’s also important to know that humidifiers are no magic tools to increase the humidity level of your home. So, they’ll take their due time before having a full effect on your home atmosphere.

So, I recommend that you patiently wait for at least 15 minutes for the humidifier to have its effect on your home’s atmosphere. And, I bid you the best of luck with your humidifier.

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