How Does an Ultrasonic Humidifier Work?

Unlike in a standard humidifier, which uses a wick/fan system to distribute moisture into a space, an ultrasonic humidifier uses an ultrasonic sensor to form water droplets which are then dispersed into the air in a cool (or sometimes warm) haze.

Ultrasonic Sensor

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Unlike in a standard humidifier, which uses a wick/fan system to distribute moisture into a space, an ultrasonic humidifier uses an ultrasonic sensor to form water droplets which are then dispersed into the air in a cool (or sometimes warm) haze.

Transducer

The ultrasonic humidifier makes use of a transducer, which is a system that transfers an energy signal between one form and another. In the case of the humidifier, it uses its power source (electrical energy) to form ultrasonic energy, sound waves (above 20,000 Hz) that are not perceptible to the human ear.

Metal Diaphragm

The action of a vibrating metal diaphragm (again, above 20,000 Hz, so the process is silent) causes the formation of water droplets, which are expelled by the system.

Health concerns

Ultrasonic humidifiers may disperse, along with water droplets, any bacteria present in the water out into the air. To overcome this, many humidifiers make use of antibacterial methods, such as, for instance, ultraviolet light sources. The water in an ultrasonic humidifier should nevertheless be changed frequently to help prevent potentially irritating or dangerous contamination.

About the Author

Erik Steel is a graduate of the University of Michigan, earning his bachelor's degree in Russian. Steel has worked as writer for more than four years and has contributed content to eHow and Pluck on Demand. His work recently appeared in the literary journal "Arsenic Lobster."