Informational Guide

Does a Humidifier Help With Smoke?

Smoke inside the home can cause multiple health issues. We explore if humidifiers help with smoke & if buying one will remove or clean the air.

by Josh M

Smoke is an inevitable side effect of smoking, log fires, or barbeques. We do our best to clear it away and make sure it’s not in our homes, but it slips in without us noticing. Smoke can irritate our lungs and skin and can lead to longer-lasting health problems.

How exactly can we keep it away? Humidifiers are well known for clearing our allergies, and they can purify the air as they work. So, with that thought, do humidifiers help with smoke? Can we clear the air with the help of a humidifier?

Tobacco & Marijuana

People who smoke indoors will release the toxins and poisons from their cigarettes and joints into the air. Passive smoking has the same effects as regular smoking and attributes to premature deaths in the United States every year.

The most surefire way to stop cigarette and marijuana smoke is to move the smokers outdoors, but even then, some can find its way back in through drafts.

Indoor Woodfires

An indoor woodfire is cozy and perfect for a cold winter night, but open plan fires contain a matter of harmful substances.

If the smoke is not correctly ventilated, this can leak into your home, which we then inhale. This is particularly dangerous for those with existing lung conditions, such as asthma, as they can trigger an asthma attack.

Cooking

If you have a gas stove, then you will inevitably be exposed to the gasses released from cooking. Our cookers come with chimneys, flues, or other vents to expel the harmful smoke released. But if they’re not properly serviced, they can become ineffective.

Smoke that’s produced from cooking can also be breathed in and lower the indoor air quality.

Wildfires

Even if you don’t live in a high-risk area, the smoke can travel for thousands of miles and enter your homes. The smoke seeps in through various ways; through open windows and doors, through existing HVAC systems without proper filters, and through cracks or joints in your home.

The smoke from wildfires is incredibly harmful to your health; if you’re in a high-risk area, you should always follow the advice given and evacuate where necessary.

Smoke from Wildfire

Health Risk Caused By Smoke

Irritations

Short term exposure to smoke causes damage to our bodies. People experience throat, eye, and nose irritations, such as an itchy sensation or coughing and difficulty breathing. If continued exposure occurs, this leads to damage to these areas, and skin can become dry and irritated.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Smoke will flare up symptoms of existing conditions. For example, people with asthma can experience an asthma attack if exposed to smoke.

People with heart conditions can experience a heart attack or cardiac arrest if exposed regularly. Any exposure to smoke will increase the chances of you developing heart problems and cardiovascular disease.

Respiratory Diseases

It’s no secret that smoking will increase your chances of developing lung cancer. Even when we inhale woodfire smoke, our chances of developing still increase. The best defense against this is to avoid smoke altogether.

Higher Mortality

Smoke will shorten our lives. The damage caused by smoke in our bodies is irreversible and can lead to premature deaths. Keeping yourself smoke-free is the best way to avoid smoke damage. Stand well away from fires, use an enclosed fireplace, and don’t take up smoking.

Blue, Red, Black Smoke

Will A Humidifier Help With Smoke?

Humidifiers are not designed to clear smoke, and they will not completely remove any smoke present in your home. They can help you in removing the smoke, though. It’s a handy little tool in clearing the air in your home. Different settings and humidifiers will have different effects:

You may find more success removing smoke with an evaporative humidifier. The filter cleans the water before it’s evaporated by the fan, which will better catch the particulate matter (or PM), and absorb the smells.

For an evaporative humidifier, it’s best to place it near the source of smoke, as it will better eliminate the odors. By a door or window, for example, if someone is smoking by the open door.

Ultrasonic humidifiers will emit white dust around the area if you are using hard or unfiltered water, so it’s best to use soft/filtered water in your humidifier. They are best for removing the stench of the smoke, but usually only after the source is removed.

If you experience wildfire smoke, it’s better to run your humidifier after the smoke has cleared. The same goes for someone smoking indoors. You may find that an ultrasonic humidifier is better for relieving the effects of smoke, such as coughing or nose irritations.

A whole-house humidifier will help in relieving irritants caused by smoke and clearing parts of the PM from your home. Whole-house humidifiers will help with smoke dispersion, as the existing system will also be working at cooling or heating your home.

A whole-house humidifier can help lower the concentration of smoke in your home’s air but won’t eradicate it. However, in terms of odor elimination, the humidification will absorb the odors and create a fresher smell from the smoky conditions.

Warm or Cool Mist

In terms of the function of a humidifier, whether to use a cool or warm mist to help with smoke is important. A warm mist is better for wintry conditions as it will retain the humidity better in your home.

A cool mist would be better at absorbing the particles and odors of the smoke. The cool mist will also relieve the dry throat and skin as a result of the exposure to smoke.

Air Purifier/Humidifier Combo

A combination of a humidifier and air purifier, or a two-in-one machine, will greatly help with the removal of smoke. Be sure to get the right air purifier; you’ll want something known as a HEPA purifier (which stands for High Efficient Particle Arrestor).

This will easily clear out the smoke from the room while the humidifier works to alleviate the effects of smoke on the body. For the best results, ensure the source of the smoke has cleared before running.

Dehumidifier with Aroma

Using Humidifiers To Remove Smoke

It’s important to remember that a humidifier will not altogether remove the smoke from your home. It would be best if you took additional measures; avoid smoking indoors and follow guidance on wildfires. Using a humidifier to remove smoke can be done as such:

  • For tobacco and marijuana smoke, clear the room of smokers and lit cigarettes/joints. Run a humidifier with plenty of ventilation until the smoke is gone.
  • For cooking, make sure that you have finished and the stove is off. Run the humidifier in the kitchen after cooking until the mist or smoke has cleared, with a window or door open.
  • With an open fireplace, make sure the fire is completely out, including any embers still burning in the ashes. Keep the humidifier close to the fireplace and run until the smoke has dissipated.
  • In a wildfire situation, you should keep all windows and doors closed to stop smoke from entering your home. Run your humidifier with everything closed to alleviate any irritations or reactions to the smoke.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Do humidifiers help with smokers’ cough?

A humidifier will help ease the irritation or inflammation arising from a smokers’ cough. The best treatment for a smokers’ cough is to quit altogether.

What absorbs the smell of smoke?

Standard soaps and detergents will remove the smoke smells from your home. For additional smoke smell protection, you can use baking soda or activated charcoal, as they are natural odor eaters.

Does water help get rid of smoke?

Water can flush out the nicotine from your body, so remember to hydrate regularly. Outside your body, warm water and vinegar mix can help remove residue from smoke on the surfaces of your home.

How long does the smell of smoke last?

Depending on the situation, the smoke smell will eventually go on its own, through fresh air and air cycles. You may find that you get used to the smell rather than disappearing, so make sure to ventilate your home.

How do I stop the fireplace from smoking in my house?

Make sure your chimney is serviced and cleaned regularly, and keep your fires towards the back of the fireplace. You should open the damper fuller before the fire and preheat the chimney before use.

Conclusion

Smoke in any capacity is dangerous, and there are ways for us to protect ourselves. A humidifier will help us clear the effects of smoke and give us fresher air in the process. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe and get a good boost from the help of a humidifier.

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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