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Can a Humidifier Run Without Water?

Humidifiers are a great way to humidify a room if you feel like the air in your home is too dry. But sometimes you may want to leave it on overnight, and it might run out of water. So, what actually happens if your humidifier runs out of water?

Some humidifiers may be able to run without water even if humidifiers operate by turning water into water vapor. However, it is not advisable as letting a humidifier on without water may damage the motor and cause it to burn. Some humidifiers automatically shut off once they run out of water.

The rest of this article will explain how a humidifier works and elaborate on why you shouldn’t run it without water. This will also show you some humidifiers that will relieve you of any worries you might have about the tank running out water in the middle of the night and provide you with alternatives to using a humidifier.

Can a humidifier run without water

How Does a Humidifier Work?

People resort to humidifiers for various reasons. The moisture they provide can help with dry skin, allergies, sore throats, colds, etc. The regulation of the amount of humidity in your home’s air can be important for your health.

It is important to know how a humidifier works in order to understand why it shouldn’t be on without water.

A humidifier is a device that increases the levels of humidity in a certain area by releasing water vapor. The amount of water that can be in the air depends on its temperature. If the air is warmer, that means it has the capability of holding more water vapor. That is why humidifiers are most used during the winter/early spring months. The air is drier; therefore, it contains less water vapor.

What Happens if You Run Your Humidifier Without Water?

Some people run their humidifiers without water. According to Airfuji, a humidifier should never operate without water in the tank; doing so can burn the circuit and damage the device. It can even potentially cause a fire in your home. Running a warm mist humidifier with no water can be especially dangerous as it will continue to heat with an empty tank.

Those who own a humidifier are advised to regularly check the water levels to prevent an accident from happening. This is part of the maintenance that the device requires in order to operate properly. Owners must also clean the humidifier every week because bacterial growth can become an issue, and the bacteria tend to accumulate inside the unit fairly quickly. 

Auto Shut-Off Humidifiers

Some humidifiers actually shut off automatically once they run out of water, so if you tend to forget to check the device’s water levels regularly, you may want to consider these options:

Crane Adorables Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

The Crane Adorables Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier is the perfect humidifier for your nursery. Not only is it extremely silent, letting your child sleep quietly, but it also runs for 24 hours. You won’t have to worry about it running out of water in the middle of the night. Plus, it includes the automatic shut-off feature, which turns the device off once the water tank is empty.

Crane Adorables Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, Filter Free, 1 Gallon, 24 Hour Run Time, Whisper Quite, for Home Bedroom Baby Nursery and Office, Monkey

Homasy 4.5L Cool Mist Humidifier

This elegant Homasy 4.5L Cool Mist Humidifier can run up to 30 hours in low mist. It lets you choose your preferred mist level, and it has a 360º rotatable nozzle. It has the automatic shut-off feature as well as a sleep mode that turns off the device’s lights so you can sleep peacefully.

Homasy 4.5L Cool Mist Humidifiers, Top Filling Humidifiers for Bedroom, 28dB Quiet Ultrasonic Humidifier for Baby Room, Fresh Air Humidifier, Sleep Mode & Auto Shut Off, Up to 30 Hours, All White

TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier

If you’re looking for a space-saving option, the TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier is the way to go. With its simple yet stylish design, it’s perfect for any division of your home that might be just a bit too tight on space. It shuts off automatically when it’s out of water, and it’s extremely easy to refill and clean.

Humidifiers for Bedroom, TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifiers for Babies [BPA Free], 1.8L Quiet Ultrasonic Humidifier, Space-Saving, Filterless, Auto Shut Off-(1.8L/0.48 Gallon, US 110V)

Alternatives for a Humidifier

There are other ways to increase the humidity in your home without having to turn to a humidifier. With these alternatives, you won’t have to worry about the device running out of water.

Boil Water on the Stove

Whether you’re making yourself a cup of tea or cooking dinner, heating up water on the stove is a good option if you’re trying to increase the humidity levels in your home, it’s a fast and efficient way of doing it.

Can a humidifier run without water

Let the Bathwater Cool in the Tub Before Draining

If you prefer to take baths, instead of draining the water as soon as you’re done, let it cool to room temperature. The evaporated water will add moisture to the room. You can also do this if you wash your dishes in the sink. However, if you have small children in your home, this is not recommended.

Air-Dry Your Clothes Inside

Drying your clothes inside is a good way to ensure the water that evaporates off the clothes stays inside your home. This is a costless way to add moisture to the air without worrying as you would with a humidifier.

Put Containers With Water on Windowsills

Whether it’s a plate, a glass, or a bowl, just putting a container filled with water on a windowsill allows the sun to warm it until it begins to evaporate. As the water evaporates, the air will be less dry, and the moisture levels inside your home will increase.

Air-Dry Your Dishes

If you use a dishwasher, instead of letting the machine dry the dishes, open its door and let them air-dry. Not only will this improve your home’s humidity levels, but it’ll also save energy that would otherwise be wasted in the machine’s final drying cycle.

Leave the Bathroom Door Open When You Shower

Showering with the door open, instead of allowing the steam to be absorbed by the bathroom walls and causing water damage, it lets the steam escape the bathroom and fill other rooms that might need moisture. If your bathroom has an exhaust fan, make sure to turn it off so the moisture can spread into the other rooms of your home.

Get Some Houseplants

Not only are houseplants a good way of decorating your home, but they’re also great for getting some much-needed moisture. Plants go through a transpiration process, which means water will move through the plant until it eventually reaches its leaves, stems, and flowers. The water then evaporates through the plant’s surface, and water vapor is released into the air.

However, if your home is too dry, it can be hard on the plants, so make sure to water them well.

Can a humidifier run without water

Get a Spray Bottle

Not only do spray bottles come in handy when you’re watering your indoor plants, but a spray bottle capable of spraying a fine mist is also a good tool to have around your house in case the air feels too dry.


Humidifiers are a great way to improve your home’s humidity levels during the colder months. They serve the purpose of turning water into water vapor. Although it is possible for a humidifier to run without water, it is highly advised not to run it without water. It can have serious consequences, like breaking the device and even causing a fire in your home.

It is important to check the device’s water levels regularly and, if you wish to leave it on overnight, make sure it has enough water to last until the next day.


  • Jake Alexander

    Jake is a freelance writer from Pennsylvania who enjoys writing about science and sports. When he's not writing for Temperature Master, he can be found watching the NFL or playing basketball with his friends.

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