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159 of 168 people found the following review helpful
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?
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103 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2009
While this humidifier is spendy, it is quite worth it.
I have two of these humidifiers.

Pros:
1. High mist output - very clearly visible. It's like a fog machine! 'WOW!'
2. Mist volume control - many mist levels
3. Large water tank (20 hours of operation)
4. Direction control
5. Comes with it's own filter - but if you use distilled water you won't need to use the filter.

It's not silent but it is NOT loud by any means. I can sleep uninterrupted with it. My older humidifier produces the same noise level but my older humidifier produces a different frequency which disturbs my sleep. The Vick's is far superior to my old one.

Cons:
Like any humidifiers - you must keep it clean.
You have to keep the sonic agitator clean and free of dust/lint. A small bit of lint will negatively impact it's ability to produce high levels of mist. You don't even have to see the lint or dust.
Keeping the agitator clean is easy, don't touch it with bare hands - I only have to use running tap water on the agitator and it's dust/link free and it works like new every time.

I have used this unit for weeks at a time when I'm ill and I have not seen any kind of 'white dust' that other people are reporting. I use tap water, I live in the NW so perhaps it the quality of water we have?

Great product.
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89 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2010
I agree with both most of the positive and negative comments about this humidifier. It is the best, but that doesn't mean it is good!

It is a total nuisance to clean, and even to fill. It is hard to turn a filled tank upside down to place on the bottom. What was anyone thinking? Did the designer of this thing ever use it? Pink slime develops in places impossible to clean, such as in the cylinder the mist flows through from the tank to the nozzle. The pink slime elsewhere can be cleaned more easily, but the base has narrow areas difficult to clean even with a Q-tip.

All complaints granted, mine and others, this is, unfortunately, still the best humidifier I have used. I've had mine for a couple of years, having given up looking for one that fills from the top or is easier to clean.

My advice: buy this one and also buy a large bottle of white vinegar, along with a supply of Q tips. It is a major PIA to clean, but worth it for the excellent mist. Dry it out completely after cleaning, at least once a week.
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78 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2007
After reading several reviews of humidifiers that all gave mixed opinions I ignored all of them and picked up this humidifier at a local drug store for $32. This humidifier is small, approximately 11"Wx6"Dx13"H, making it suitable to put on the floor or on a counter. It consists of two main parts, a white plastic base and a clear blue plastic container. The base has two sliding switches. One turns the unit on/off and the other adjusts the amount of water vapor being released in to the air. The blue container sits on top of the base and has a handle on top and a round screw-on part on the bottom to fill the container. It also comes with a filter that goes in the base. There is a round piece on top of the container that turns to adjust and direct the stream of water vapor. Pros: 1. In my opinion it is quiet, much quieter than the Bemis wicking humidifier I previously had. The sound level is comparable to a table top fan. It does make water noises though which I find soothing but could be an annoyance. 2. It runs for a long time without refilling. On the lowest setting 1 container full of water will last a couple days of continous run time. On the highest setting, it needs to be refilled once a day. 3. It has no wick, which would start to smell in the old humidifier I had. 4. No chemicals need to be added to keep scum from growing in it. 5. You can see the water vapor being released in to the air (so you know its working). 6. See through container. You don't have to open anything to see how much water is left. 7. Container fits in kitchen sink to be refilled. 8. Relatively easy to clean. Cons: 1. It has no automatic shut off when the water runs out or when the air has reached the desired humidity. 2. When the container is picked up to be refilled it drips so you need a towel with you. When the unit is running, the water empties out of the container into the base where it is turned into water vapor. So when you remove the container the base is still full of water. 3. It needs to be cleaned regularly, once a week at least unless you don't mind the scum that grows on it. The base has corners that you need a Q-tip to clean. It is recommended that it be cleaned with a damp cloth and a bleach and water solution and then rinsed well. We have extremely soft water so I don't know how long the filter that comes with the humidifier will last or how well it works in places with hard water. I would recommend this humidifier.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2014
You will be lucky to get one year out of this product before it dies. The fan will continue to work but the ultrasonic mist will quit working.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2007
I have had an older model for probably 7 years and was just looking to see if I could another one. I remember when I bought it I had a problem getting it to work. It's water sensor can be touchy. I took it back and got a new one. I have had absolutely no problem with it in seven years! It is still working to this day. I have a small crack in the Water Tank but it is not leaking yet. It runs so quiet and humidifies the air nicely. When the kids are sick I lug it from room to room because the other three humifiers I have stuck under my bathroom sink are loud and do not put out as much mist. I don't use the Demineralization Cartridge, but I do use distilled water or softened water. I don't have any white dust. Jackie
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2007
I purchased this humidifier several years ago and only use it during the winter. It works perfectly as long as it is cleaned out every week as the manual says. And each year I bought another blue filter. Unfortunately, their is some kind of buildup in the tank so I am not sure if I should use it next winter. I would highly recommend it over any of the others.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2014
I bought this a year and a half ago. Worked great for the first year, then the performance started to decline to where it does not work at all.

We used it occasionally, only when my kids had colds. I read many of the review and the instructions. I cleaned it very regularly! At least once a week when it was being used. I used filtered water and always dried it out.

It is very disappointing the with the amount of upkeep I did how quickly it failed. The membrane rusted, again, even with regular cleaning.

I also agree with others, the tank design is terrible in that it fills from the bottom and is awkward and loud to put back on.

It was quiet however, and again, very effective for the first year. But having the membrane which is designed to be submerged in water rust so quickly is disappointing.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2011
I was in the market for a solid, cool mist humidifier and I decided to purchase the Vicks Ultrasonic Cool Mist. After weeks of consecutive use, I have not experienced any problems with the machine whatsoever. In fact, I would seriously recommend this to anybody who's looking for a similar item.

The machine is easy to set up and use. There are very clear instructions provided on how you should prep the humidifier before actually turning it on. I followed the instructions to a tee and have had no problems. The machine is relatively quiet, and the cool mist is clearly visible. As someone else pointed out, you can also hear the sound of water (occasional bubbling sounds) as the water from the tank enters the basin. However, I didn't find this distracting at all. The one thing to keep in mind, the machine is advertised for use in large/medium rooms. Given the performance of the unit, my conclusion is that the machine is better suited for medium to smaller rooms. If you're thinking of buying this unit, just keep that thought in mind.

Several users mentioned the white dust effect. I have not encountered such an issue - and I'm not sure if it is because I followed the manual instructions. I do make a point of cleaning the unit every other day (by emptying out the water tank, washing it, and drying it - and I also clean out the base and the water sensor to avoid mold/bacteria buildup). But all in all I've had no issue with white dust, even though I do have hard water issues in my building. Prior to initial use, I did thoroughly soak the included filter, which I believe did help with the process.

All in all, I am satisfied with my purchase and would recommend this to anyone who is looking for an ultrasonic/cool mist humidifier.

**UPDATE**
After using this humidifier daily for more than a month now - I have to say I fully reaffirm my original review. I would like to add a few additional points.

1. I have still yet to encounter any white dust. In terms of maintaining the humidifier - please see point 2 below:

2. I clean the unit every 2 days. I fill the tank to the max, and use the unit in conjunction with the ProTec cleaning cartridge (http://www.amazon.com/ProTec-PC-1-Humidifier-Cleaning-Cartridge/dp/B000XPT0DK/ref=pd_sim_hpc_3). This little gizmo definitely helps fight any potential moldy buildup in the water tank. Everytime I clean the unit, I've never had any issues. I use the ProTec cartridge for about 20 days before I change it out and so far it's been a reliable system. I also use the Kaz DC-51 Deminieralization cartridge (http://www.amazon.com/Kaz-DC-51-6-DC-51-Demineralization-Cartridge/dp/B000056JFC/ref=pd_sim_hpc_1)for 30-days before I replace it. So far, by keeping to that schedule I've still yet to encounter any white dust related to the hard water in my apartment.

3. I'd like to point out I also clean out the nebulizer and the water level indicator every 2 days as well. When I notice any bacteria/mold buildup, I just wipe the affected areas carefully with a wet towel.

4. I also notice that when it comes to buildup, one area that gets a lot of it (and often is the cause of that moldy smell you get from humidifiers from time to time, at least for me on this unit) - is the little circle area on the bottom of the water tank (where the cool mist travels up through the spout). Often I see lots of buildup there, and the area is sometimes tricky to clean, so make sure you really get this area wiped down. It will help reduce or eliminate any moldy smells and help keep the water basin clean as well.

So far I still really like this humidifier and it has really helped me a lot. I feel I sleep better at night, my throat doesn't feel as dry and I also don't get itchy eyes nearly as much in the mornings. So far, so good!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2010
We use this humidifier primarily when our kids are ill or are suffering from allergies. It is quite effective in reducing their coughing at night. (Mine too, when I have a cough.) I'm puzzled regarding the lackluster reviews by others, ours has served us very well and I would not want to be without it. We've owned our Vicks humidifier for THREE YEARS and have not had a single problem with it. We *do* use filtered/purified water only, we *do* clean it out regularly, and we *do not* leave water sitting in it when it's not in use. Before storage we let it dry out thoroughly.

I'm curious if some of other buyer's problems with this machine aren't related to improper maintenance?
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