It’s just possible that I have recently stumbled upon the explanation for the age-old mystery of “spontaneous combustion.” That’s the alleged phenomenon whereby a living thing—including most notably a human being—suddenly bursts into flames for no apparent reason. I was in bed, and our small dog was lying near the bottom of the bed, atop the bedspread, as is her wont. Her precise position was less than ideal in relation to my feet and she needed to be shifted a little bit. I have become adept at sliding her over a few inches without unduly disturbing her; or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that she has become adept at ignoring the fact that she is being slid over, thus allowing me to do it. It was completely dark in the room. I placed my hands on either side of her curled up body and gently began shifting her over. It was then that I noticed distinct if small flashes of light emanating from her body. It took me a few moments to take in what I was witnessing and to arrive at a conclusion as to what was taking place. I realized that these flashes of light could only be sparks, caused by static electricity. The heat had been on steadily in our apartment for some weeks, and I had already noticed that everything seemed pretty dried out. I’d gotten some static electric shocks myself, and the dry air was affecting my nasal passages and such. Still, this was another level of seriousness, surely; that is, the possibility that my dog might burst into flames upon my bed.
I took it as a signal that perhaps it was time to get a humidifier.
Dogs: Not intended to generate electricity
I’ve owned humidifiers before, though not for a few years now. They’ve tended not to have very long useful lives. I think it’s fair to say that they are delicate and temperamental machines. Mind you, I’ve only owned the “ultrasonic” and “cool mist” variety. Maybe the “warm mist” types are more hardy; I can’t say, and I still inherently prefer the idea of cool mist, since the radiators make my apartment quite hot enough without help.
So my criteria in looking for a new cool mist humidifier were: (1) That it be cheap (just like me); (2) that it be small (like my apartment), and (3) that it be low-maintenance (again, just like me).
I settled on this E-Ware 1.4L ultrasonic cool mist humidifier, which I found on Amazon. They actually characterized it as a “Mini Office/Bedroom Ultra-sonic Humidifier.” I’d never purchased one so small before but I figured that if it only humidified the bedroom, that would be sufficient.
I’ve been using it now for several weeks, and I have found it surprisingly satisfactory. Set in the middle of the apartment, which happens to be the bedroom, it humidifies that room very well and spreads a decent amount of humidity to the adjoining living room too. The water tank is small and so refilling it is no big production. There is no filter to worry about. The instruction manual advises using distilled water if your local water has a lot of mineral content, which is all very well but could run a pretty penny over time. Fortunately the municipal water supply around here is not excessively hard, and the humidifier has been doing just fine with it. If any stains build up, you are advised to clean them with a mild bleach solution and soft toothbrush, and I’ve done that a couple of times with little trouble.
The humidifier is advertised as running for 8 – 10 hours continuously, before needing a refill. However, I’ve been running it at a low setting and find that it lasts for well over 12 hours that way, so needing no more than two refills in any 24 hour period. I noticed that despite how you set it initially, the mist level gets heavier and thicker as the hours go by (maybe because of the change in the water temperature?), so that what looks very low to begin with becomes quite robust later on. This also means that a medium setting will become quite heavy, perhaps excessive for one’s needs.
The motor has run very quietly indeed, generally inaudible. Some sloshing and gurgling sounds occur, but I guess that’s pretty unavoidable when you’re dealing with water.
So at this point I could hardly be happier with my E-Ware 1.4L Ultrasonic Humidifier. You could even say that it is another sterling product representing the kind of quality and reliability we’ve come to expect from the “E-Ware” brand. At least you could say that if you’d ever heard of this manufacturer before, which I had not.
The one real caveat is the question of durability. I know it’s working well now, but who knows if it will last the season and still be good for next winter? Perhaps I will update this review at a later time, when more can be said about the product’s lifespan. For now, then, I’ll give it a very solid nine out of ten for the record, while noting that at this point I have no complaints whatsoever, and neither does my uncombusted dog.
Addendum 01/03/2014: Well, this little fella is now well into his second season of work, and he keeps on going, day after day. You can count me as impressed.
Rating: Nine out of ten lead pipes.