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Tired of a dry room? A cheap, simple humidifier hack


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This is an easy, inexpensive hack to get some extra humidity into a room. It’s not elegant but it works well as a humidifier. 

With the recent cold snap in the Northeast, my forced air gas house heater has been running like crazy. I have had all kinds of issues with humidifiers in the system. Here is a simple hack to add some humidity to a room

When you run a forced air heater, it sucks humidity out of the house. For a temperature of about 68 degrees, something like 30 to 40 percent relative humidity would make things comfortable. Some sources suggest keeping the relative humidity between 45 and 55 percent. However, since the in-furnace humidifier no longer works, the house is drying out rapidly. You don’t just need to put moisture into the air, you need to replace it in furniture, bedding, wood etc. (Update Feb 2020 – I replaced the in furnace humidifier which is keeping the humidity at a comfortable level)

I have a couple of ultrasonic humidifiers that are putting about 4 gallons/day into the 1500 square foot house. That is keeping the relative humidity between 25 and 30 percent.   That simply isn’t enough when the temperature drops and the furnace is constantly running. .

I also found that the ultrasonic humidifiers collect algae and bacteria in spite of thorough cleanings.


I found a relatively simple hack  that requires the following

  • A small fan
  • Something to hold a bath towel such as a valet or a clothes drying rack.
  • Two Towels
  • Something to put the contraption on.

The fan was no problem, I had the small fan you see in the photo.  I also had an old cheap valet that I really am not worried about damaging. Bath towels were no problem. A storage bin raises the contraption a bit.

I set it up in the corner of my bedroom. I wet the towel down with the shower extension to the point where it is saturated but not dripping too much. The green towel at the bottom absorbs any drips. Then I drape it over the valet and put the fan on low.


  • The results have been consistent.
  • The towel lasts about 4 hours.
  • If the humidity in the bedroom (about 150 sq feet or so) is about 26 percent, it will be about 32 when the towel is finally dried out.
  • The increase in relative humidity is enough to make things a bit more comfortable.


  • Don’t wreck your floor or carpet if it drips carrying it over.
  • The bedroom is a good location because of it’s proximity to the shower.
  • A fan is important to the process. You don’t need a large fan, just something to put a consistent flow of air over the towel.
  • Make sure the fan isn’t blowing on your bed as the moist air might seem a bit cooler.
  • Use a temperature/humidity gauge to get accurate readings.  I believe in working from data.
  • Fix the dang in-system humidifier when I get a chance.

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A cheap, simple humidifier hack
A cheap, simple humidifier hack

Other things you can try in order to increase humidity.

Another thing that will help increase humidity is to increase the efficiency of your heating system. The main duct in my basement was not insulated. This led to to heat being wasted in the basement. I added insulation to the ducts which reduced the run time necessary for the heater. 

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