Can I Use a Humidifier in the Same Room as an Oil Heater?

Humidifiers are suitable for use in rooms with oil heaters such as a kerosene heater or an oil-filled radiator if you use both appliances according to the instruction manuals.

Uses for Humidifiers

Humidifiers help relieve cold symptoms.Humidifiers help relieve cold symptoms.
The manual typically states how close an oil heater can be to other appliances, such as a humidifier, to be safe. Short-term or occasional use is appropriate for humidifiers. The appliance adds moisture to the air, which provides several benefits.

A humidifier is an appliance that emits a cool or warm mist into the air. This can help relieve cold and upper respiratory problems. Dry air resulting from indoor heat often is the cause of dried out nasal passageways and skin. Running a humidifier adds moisture to the air in a room and thins the mucus in a stuffy nose. Another use for the humidifier is to reduce the problems associated with dry skin, nosebleeds or chapped lips due to the use of indoor heat.

Correct Use of Humidifiers

If small children are in the home, it is safer to use a cool mist humidifier to prevent burns that could occur from touching the unit. Place it across the room, at least 5 or 6 feet away from the bed of a sick individual, for the most effective use. To ensure the safety of family members, it is important to drain the humidifier reservoir daily and to clean it according to the instructions. Humidifiers are suitable for short-term use -- two or three hours at a time. Operating it longer than that may worsen breathing problems in sick individuals. If the appliance has an output control, turning it down may also prevent air from becoming is too damp. Remember that cool mist humidifiers sometimes make the room feel cooler, whereas a warm mist humidifier may make the space feel warmer. Adjust the temperature on your oil heater to accommodate the difference and feel comfortable.

Improper Use of Humidifiers

Water allowed to stand in a humidifier for many hours may grow bacteria. If you run the humidifier too long, mold and mildew growth results from the humid conditions in the room. This situation can cause problems for those who are sensitive to mold and mildew. Dampness and condensation on the walls and other surfaces are an indication that the humidifier should be turned off for several hours. Ventilate the room by opening the window or operating a fan to help the room dry out to prevent mold.

Oil Heater Safety

Use only the type of oil that is specified in the owner's manual of your oil heater. Press the manual or emergency "Off" button if an oil heater catches on fire; don't try to transport it out of the room. Routinely check the wires and cords of the oil heater to ensure they are not worn or defective in any way. Pollutants may develop in the air if the room is not properly ventilated. Many oil heaters require that you leave the door to the room open or that you raise a window an inch or two to allow fresh air into the room. This is particularly important when using a humidifier to prevent pollutants, especially when someone is ill. Follow the owner's manual regarding cleaning, operating and maintaining the oil heater. This ensures the safety of the occupants in the home at all times, not just when a humidifier is in use.

About the Author

Chelsea Fitzgerald covers topics related to family, health, green living and travel. Before her writing career, she worked in the medical field for 21 years. Fitzgerald studied education at the University of Arkansas and University of Memphis.