Most helpful positive review
159 of 168 people found the following review helpful
Excellent ultrasonic humidifier!
on March 25, 2010
I've read all of the reviews for this model, V-5100-NS and most of the reviews of its sister model, V-5100-N.
I think it's clear that without at least once weekly maintenance -- IE, a full cleaning, probably with diluted white vinegar to help remove buildup this unit will eventually fail.
Is that the manufacturer's error?? No way!
A basic understanding of an atomizer, otherwise known as a nebulizer, actually functions will explain this.
The little metal plate at the bottom of this humidifier agitates the molecules of the water, along with... ALL OF THE DISSOLVED AND SUSPENDED SOLIDS IN THE WATER!
By contrast, a hot humidifier uses a heating element to raise the water's temperature high enough to cause the water to switch phases and become steam.
Since steam is really bad at carrying dissolved or suspended particles of anything it, all the minerals in your water are left behind on the heating element.
That is the white or colored gunk you will see on a typical hot steam generating humidifier.
This does not occur with ultrasonic humidifiers like the V-5100-NS because everything in the water is atomized. Everything it is agitated so much that it rips away from its adjacent molecules and becomes an ultra-fine mist.
Any and all contaminates in your tap water will be atomized and sprayed all over the place -- this is how the humidifier works. It is not a design flaw.
It's important to note that in some cities, the PPM or parts-per-million of dissolved solids can be has high as 500 PPM or more -- this might not seem like much, but at those levels you will be atomizing a lot of interesting minerals, with unknown effects.
So, if you want to use this product you are pretty much stuck using very filtered water (NOT just a Brita, I would recommend a decent reverse-osmosis system to really help lower the PPM) or just buying distilled water, which is actually very inexpensive if you buy in bulk. Do not buy distilled water at the grocery story -- it'll likely be marked up a lot.
No humidifier is perfect, and all methods of creating a mist for use in raising the relative humidity of a space will have problems with water contaminants, unless you are using absolutely pure distilled water. This is a matter of physics and solubility, not some problem with the technology being used to generate the water mist.
Lastly, I've been using the model V-5100-NS for a while now and I have been very satisfied with it. It generates a very consistent stream of cool mist, and the fan is indeed very quiet. I've owned many other models of humidifiers, and this is absolutely the quietest by far. Could I sleep in the same room with it?