Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Humidity

Friday, November 17th, 2006

It’s time for a good, pointless, stupid rant. This is not unlike, but not the same, as the “Disposable?” rant on Squublog or this awesome rant on usability on this furialog I found yesterday.
It’s been uber dry in our apartment lately. Every morning, we wake up with scratchy throats, crusty eyes, dry skin, and lips so chapped they’re about to peel off our faces. So, last night, Sarah and I went and bought a humidifier at Target. As with most things we buy, we didn’t get the cheapest one, and we didn’t get the most expensive one (though this was more on the expensive end by Target’s standards at $50). The main attractions of this unit were:

  • It’s for large rooms. We wanted it for the bedroom, but we intend to leave the door open, and hopefully it can cover the whole upstairs.
  • Digital humidistat built in. You can set it to a certain humidity and it’ll maintain that level.
  • “Ultra-quiet operation”
  • 3 fan speed settings

All of that stuff looked great, so we bought it. The thing definitely works, but there are some really stupid problems with it:

  • To set the relative humidity you desire, you push these up/down arrow buttons, which increment/decrement the percent humidity. It sounds great, except that it goes in 5% increments. This is completely stupid, as the range they suggest using is 40-50%. This means that the numeric humidity setting really amounts to just three settings, as if it had a low/medium/high setting for relative humidity. According to the Wikipedia “Humidifier” entry, you shouldn’t set it above 55%, and the humidity in our room without the humidifier was at 39%, so that range seems about right.
  • Even worse, when the humidity reaches the level you set (actually, once it passes the level you set, but I’m just splitting hairs), the display starts fluctuating between, say, 45% and 46%. I understand that there’s no decimal point, but I’m not really sure that rapidly switching back and forth between two numbers is terribly helpful. Not only that, when this happens, the fan starts turning itself on and off repeatedly. After a while, it’ll stop, but before long, it’ll start turning itself on and off again. That’s pretty damn annoying.

Now, I may have dropped out of engineering school, but I can think of simple solutions to both of these problems. The first one is so boneheaded it’s astounding — I can’t think of any reason they wouldn’t just program it to increment/decrement the number by 1 instead of 5. It’s that simple. For the second problem, you could implement a delay so that the fan won’t turn itself on or off more than once every couple of minutes or so.

So, I need to figure out if there’s a way I can keep the damn humidifier from turning on and off all the time. If not, I’ll return it. I might just return it anyway on principle, but I feel like I’m going to have this kind of problem with any humidifier.

5 Responses to “Humidity”

  1. i, squub Says:

    My humidifier doesn’t have any of that fancy. It does have the feature that the water in it sloshes around because of the way the hole between the tank and the thing itself is on the bottom of the tank so the thing occasionally bubbles and then the water splashes outside of the… thing, there’s this, it’s a. thing. So anyway you have to set the whole thing on a towel somewhere and change the towel occasionally because it’s all getting wet.

    Things are always designed great.

  2. Van Says:

    I say you get a dehumidifier and just let the two of them battle it out.

  3. Sarah Says:

    Well, our is sitting on a rubber shoe mat. Said mat is designed just in case the reservoir decided to leak. It’s the constant oning and offing that kills me. It will take thirty seconds for the air to get dry again, thikrty more seconds of moisture, thirty seconds of dry.

    We did buy this one because it didn’t have a fancy “light up tank!” Weird blue water lights emanating through the bedroom is not cool. Michael already uses a book to cover up the glow from the CD player. I’ve been meaning to get a different book to use for that since right now my copy of “Toxic Parents” is staring at us from the bedside table. Anyway, I don’t have a gook big enough to cover up a humidifer.

  4. Sarah Says:

    Holies. I just realied I said gook when I meant book. Yeah …

  5. i, squub Says:

    I almost said my weblog is called squubclog. That would rock.

    Anyway, I always cover up every lights in my room with books and things, too. My humidifier has a green light that needs to be covered with a book, and my alarm clock has a face that’s too bright even on the dimmest setting and so i have to cover that with an empty DVD case.

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