Why is My Humidifier Making Noise?

Humidifiers are supposed to add moisture to the air of your room without making loud noises. If you’re hearing strange sounds coming from your device, well, that shouldn’t be happening. 

Not to worry! There are many simple explanations and easy fixes to get your machine up and running silently.

Your humidifier is most likely making noise due to a build-up of minerals, debris clogging passages, or obstructed fans. Humidifiers have several tubes and valves that, over time, get blocked and cause them to make noise. After a thorough clean, your device should return to its quiet self. If it persists, you may be dealing with an internal issue.

What causes a humidifier to make noise?

There are a handful of reasons your humidifier is making noise. It’s usually due to the build-up of gunk around a nozzle, a faulty fan, or other internal issues. Let’s go over each reason in more detail.

Mineral Build-up: Humidifiers turn water into vapor. As time passes, minerals from the water build-up around the base and prevent the machine from working properly. This can result in a machine that doesn’t create mist or steam and is noisy.

Faulty or Damaged Fan: Over time, parts of your humidifier will begin to fail, and the fan is no exception. Fans can collect a lot of dust which could be the reason why your machine is making noise. Try lubricating and cleaning it. However, if that doesn’t do the trick, it may indicate that your fan is damaged beyond repair and needs replacing.

Damaged Device: If your device tips over or falls to the floor, internal and external components get damaged, especially the fan and motor, causing it to make sounds. The only way to verify this is to check for any noticeable cracks and leaks.

The best way to keep your humidifier properly running is by cleaning it. Before you grab a bottle of soap, learn how to clean your device the right way!

What sound is a humidifier supposed to make?

A humidifier is supposed to make slight buzzing, humming, or clicking sounds. It’s also possible for your device to be silent while running. If you start to notice your humidifier is getting louder or making a new sound, it could be a cause for concern. 

Loud or new noises that fluctuate are usually caused by an internal issue. Conduct some investigation to see whether you can identify any abnormalities that could be the cause of new strange noises.

If you want a device that makes the least noise possible, consider buying an ultrasonic humidifier. Ultrasonic humidifiers are known for being quieter than other types of humidifiers and could be the perfect option for you.

Why is my humidifier making a whistling noise?

Your humidifier is likely making a whistling noise because the area where steam releases is blocked or because the fan needs lubrication. Uncovering the cause will require a bit of investigation.

Check the nozzle where steam exits the device for gunk. If it’s clogged, it will whistle just like how you can tighten your mouth to whistle. An unlubricated fan will be more difficult to detect, and you may need to apply oil or replace it.

Why is my humidifier making a buzzing noise?

An unlubricated or damaged fan, loose part, or dirty valve could be the reason why your humidifier is making a buzzing noise. To address the issue, take off the panels of your device to get access to the fan (make sure your device is unplugged). Apply a few drops of oil into the small, designated hole for lubricant application. Check all the screws and panels of your device to make sure nothing is rattling around while operating.

The video below explains how to lubricate the fan on a humidifier. You may have a different model, but the steps will likely be similar.

Why is my humidifier making popping noises?

A defective fan motor, clogged part, or an unlevel surface could be why your humidifier is making popping noises. Motor issues can make all kinds of sounds, and popping is one of them. Make sure your device is regularly cleaned to ensure none of the parts are clogged. 

An uneven surface can create air spaces and result in popping noises. If you detect a faulty motor, the device will likely need to be exchanged or replaced.

Why is my humidifier making a bubbling noise?

Your humidifier is making a bubbling noise because it is overboiling water or because air is replacing the mist coming out (a normal process). 

For steam humidifiers, it’s normal to hear a low gurgling sound from the boiling process; however, this should be faint. If the sound increases, it could be due to water overboiling. To avoid this, reduce the amount of salt added to the water, or don’t use any at all.

Note: If you live in an area with soft water (water that doesn’t contain harsh minerals) you may notice your humidifier only emits a weak flow of steam. To increase the level of steam, try adding a pinch of salt to the water.

How do I stop my humidifier from making noise?

Humidifiers can make whistling, buzzing, popping, and bubbling noises that are unusual and often annoying. Luckily, there are easy ways to fix or reduce these sounds that only require cleaning, lubricating, tightening, and loosening. Let’s look at the exact steps to solve these problems.

Whistling: Turn off your device and examine the nozzle or tube where your humidifier emits steam. Check for a build-up of calcium or other debris. Use a rag and vinegar to clean the area. 

Now, unscrew the back or bottom panel (there may be more than one) to access the fan. Insert a few drops of oil into the designated hole. Reattach any panels or screws you removed.

Buzzing: Remove any panels to get access to the fan. Check for any damage or blemishes. If you notice dust and debris, clean the fan with a microfiber cloth or rag. Consider using a can of compressed air to remove any debris that’s lodged in hard-to-reach places. 

If the fan looks fine, add a few drops of oils to the designated hole. When you are ready to reassemble your device, ensure that each screw is securely put into place. Check for other parts that aren’t closing or attaching properly and secure them.

Popping: Make sure your humidifier is set on a leveled surface. Any tilting can create air spaces and cause popping. Fill up the humidifier with water and add about two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar. Let the humidifier soak to remove any gunk or debris. 

If you believe the device has a detective fan motor, the humidifier will have to be replaced. Always choose a reputable brand when deciding on a replacement device.

Bubbling: If you usually add salt to the water in your humidifier, empty the water tank and refill it without salt or a reduced amount. Avoid adding any other minerals or ingredients that can lead to overboiling. Now try loosening the water tank connection to allow for a more even flow. 

Unfortunately, some models gurgle intermittently louder than others, and you may need to try a humidifier made by a different company.

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Humidifiers are great machines to have in your home as long as they don’t make annoying sounds. Most devices make noise because of simple calcium and mineral build-up from hard water, loose parts, and unlubricated fans. 

Regularly cleaning your device will prevent frustrating problems in the future. If you suspect an internal issue like damaged motors or fans, it might be a good time to look for a new humidifier. 

Remember, a little bit of noise is normal, and some humidifiers are louder than others. So, make sure to read product reviews before making a purchase!

Eustace is a technology enthusiast and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Telecommunication and Information Engineering. His passion and knowledge of computers, and technology in general, is channeled towards helping others understand complex concepts, solve problems, and make informed decisions.