Proper cleaning and maintenance are necessary in order to protect a steam humidifier from corrosion. Regular replacement of worn-out steam cylinder or reservoir tank, drain valves and fill valves are also important to ensure that the other parts of the device are not affected by corrosion prematurely.
Step 1 - Detach the Device
Disconnect the device from the power supply. Allow the device to cool off before doing anything else. If it is connected to a water supply, detach the water supply lines. Remove any mounting hardware securing the device to a wall if it is mounted.
Step 2 - Drain the Water
Open the water reservoir and drain away any water in the holding tank or cylinder. Some models have a drain button that allows the water to drain. If the device drains the water in a different way, make sure to drain all water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Remove the steam cylinder or reservoir tank. Disconnect any wires connected to it. Remove the drain screen on the cylinder and prepare it for cleaning.
Step 3 - Cleaning the Steam Cylinder
Clean the drain screen or cover with a cleaning solution. It can be a commercial cleaner designed to remove lime and hard water buildup, or a homemade solution made out of vinegar and baking soda.
A baking soda and vinegar solution is probably the best and the cheapest. Spread the solution onto all internal and external surfaces of the cylinder. Apply the cleaning solution to the drain screen as well. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush or a sponge to rub away any lime build-up. Rinse thoroughly with water to remove the residue.
Step 4 - Cleaning the Valves
Use a service manual for proper instructions on how to remove the fill valve and the drain valve. Once the fill valve is detached from the device, apply the cleaning solution onto a sponge or cloth and rub the surfaces clean. Make sure not to get the solenoid wet.
Clean up the residue with a damp cloth, and finish up with a clean dry cloth. Ensure that the flow regulator is not poked during cleaning. Be very careful about this to ensure longer use of the device.
Remove the drain valve as well, following the instructions on the service manual. Clean the drain valve in the same manner as the fill valve. Make sure that the valves are dry and clean before reinstalling them back to the humidifier. Restart the device to check if it works properly.
Step 5 - Replacing Worn Out Cylinders and Valves
Worn out cylinders and valves must be replaced, to avoid having the corrosion spread to the other parts of the device. Remove the parts according to the service manual instructions, purchase exact replacements from a store or directly from the manufacturer. Install the parts accordingly. Turn on the device to test if it works.
After the humidifying season, make sure to drain the water from the cylinder, clean the cylinder and the valves and store them in a cool dry place.
Whenever possible, use distilled water in your humidifier. This will limit the mineral deposits that lead to corrosion.