vicks warm mist humidifier not working

Vicks warm mist humidifier not working usually happens because you need to check your humidifier’s configuration and water system.

Although the causes for it are usually quickly fixed, nonetheless, it has to be permanently addressed to prevent damage to your humidifier.

To fix your Vicks warm mist humidifier not working, ensure the water level is correct and the water tank is securely attached. Next, check the filter and clean the water sensors.

Now that you know the general fixes to this issue, let’s check out the most frequent causes so you are better prepared to resolve them.

Why Is My Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier Not Working?

vicks warm mist humidifier malfunctions

As Vicks has a great range of different humidifier models, the issue of not working can be due to multiple causes.

Universally, however, this issue indicates that your water tank needs refilling or that the ambient room humidity is too high.

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Here is a list of the top most common causes of Vicks warm mist humidifier not working:

  • Low/Incorrect Water Levels
  • Dirty or Obstructed Water Sensor or Float
  • Filter is Congested or Depleted
  • Water Path is Obstructed
  • Electrical Malfunction
  • Too High Humidity Setting

Whether your Vicks warm mist humidifier doesn’t start up or powers down quickly after use, don’t worry; follow the solutions below in order to troubleshoot it:

How to Fix Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier Not Working

Tip: Using hard or mineral-rich water can cause white mist to come from the humidifier.

Step #1: Check Water Reservoir Levels

step 1: check water reservoir levels

Vicks cool mist humidifier not working after cleaning typically indicates that you should check if the water level is appropriate.

Vicks turning off is a safety feature to prevent the humidifier from running on an empty tank, which can cause permanent hardware damage due to heat.

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Here is how to ensure your Vicks humidifier has the proper water amount filled:

  1. Turn off, then unplug your Vicks device in this order.
  2. Open your water lid and then remove the water reservoir.
  3. Empty any remaining water from inside.
  4. Refill the water tank using clean or distilled water without exceeding or going above the maximum water level indicator.
  5. Ensure the Vicks lid is closed, and reattach the reservoir to avoid spilling.
  6. Plug your Vicks back in and check if the warm mist humidifier works now

If, after refilling your water reservoir, the device still won’t function correctly, turn off your device from the power button, let it cool for 30 seconds, and power it back on.

This can help reset the indicators.

Note: Don't position the Vicks humidifier under direct sunlight, as it might overheat.

Step #2: Ensure the Water Tank is Properly Set

ensure the water tank is properly set

A Vicks device not starting at all is typically related to the water level; an incorrectly seated water tank can also prevent the device from working.

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Your humidifier might not recognize that a water tank has been plugged in and thus stop running to prevent overheating-related damage.

Here is how to properly attach your Vicks water tank if the device isn’t working:

  1. Ensure your Vicks humidifier is fully turned off and detached from power.
  2. Remove any covers or panels so you can access the water reservoir compartment.
  3. Detach the water tank carefully from the Vicks humidifier base.
  4. Reattach the water tank whilst ensuring it’s facing the correct way and that it snaps snugly into the Vicks base.
  5. If you notice that the water reservoir is bent, cracked, or deformed, don’t try to force it and instead order a replacement.
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After these steps, ensure the water reservoir is filled and power on your Vicks to see if the issue clears up now.

Note: Water reservoirs are not meant to be used to dilute medicine or essential oil fragrances. 

Step #3: Clean the Water Sensor

step 3: clean the water sensor

If your Vicks warm mist humidifier doesn’t work, even when your water tank is full, it could be due to faulty sensors.

Water level sensors check if the correct amount of water is present, so you must ensure they are clean to get accurate measurements. 

Here is how to ensure your Vicks humidifier water sensors are not obstructed: 

  1. Check if your Vicks model uses a float valve or an electronic sensor to check the water levels.
  2. Power off your Vicks humidifier completely and disconnect it from the outlet.
  3. Remove the water tank and locate either the float valve or a small electronic sensor.
  4. If you can’t find the sensor, reference the Vicks instruction manual for hints.
  5. Get a soft cloth and gently wipe the surface of the water sensor without scratching it.
  6. If your model has a float valve, mix distilled white vinegar with water and fill the float valve compartment. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then scrub and rinse it with clean water.
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After you have cleaned either the float valve or electronic sensor, depending on your exact Vicks model, assemble the humidifier, refill it with water, and check if the warm mist humidifier works now.

Note: Don't use your Vicks device if its power cord is coiled in a circle or has visible damage.

Step #4: Replace or Clean the Filter

step 4: replace or clean the filter

Some Vicks humidifiers come with a special filter called a wicking filter that is designed to remove impurities from the water to extend the lifespan of your device and water pump.

If the filter has become congested, your device might think its water level is low, even though it’s not.

If your Vicks humidifier has a filter-free design, skip this step and proceed with the others below.

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Here is how to replace or clean the filter on your Vicks humidifier:

  1. Unplug your Vicks and access the filter compartment by removing any necessary plastic covers and or the water reservoir.
  2. Take out the wicking filter by gently pulling it upward and inspect its condition.
  3. If the filter is too depleted, cleaning it won’t restore its filter capacity and should be replaced.
  4. A moderately dirty wicking filter can be cleaned under warm water and then reinstalled.
  5. After checking your filter, assemble your Vicks device in the same way you took it apart and check if the power issue is gone now.
Note: Have your Vicks humidifier positioned about four feet away from any beds and 15 inches from any wall.

Step #5: Clean Humidifier Parts

step 5: clean humidifier parts

Since Vicks humidifiers have water flowing through multiple pipes and reservoirs through the water tank, any mineralization deposits can cause the device not to work properly.

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To prevent such obstructions, you must thoroughly clean the water tank and internal components.

Here is how to thoroughly clean your Vicks humidifier water tank and components:

  1. Ensure your humidifier is first turned off and detached from electrical power.
  2. Empty your water tank of the Vicks device, then mix vinegar with water in a ratio of 1:1.
  3. Use the solution to fill your water tank, then let the solution stay for half an hour.
  4. If you spot more persistent plaque buildup, especially around the water valve on the bottom, use a cleaning brush to remove the buildup.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with water and let the water tank dry.
  6. While the tank is drying, perform the same cleaning steps for the water intake valve on the Vicks humidifier base, where the water tank connects to it.
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You can go further and disassemble the humidifier to clean the internal reservoirs, but this is not advised unless you have full knowledge of how to disassemble it safely.

After all parts are washed with water and dry, reassemble and refill the Vicks, then check if it’s working correctly and check if you see any warning light indicators

Note: Your Vicks humidifier should be serviced weekly to prevent bacteria and mold from developing.

Step #6: Adjust Humidity Setting

step 6: adjust humidity setting

Having overly high humidity levels inside your home is detrimental to health, as these conditions facilitate the growth of bacteria and mold.

If you have a humidistat, check if the ambient moisture levels are above 50-55%.

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Some humidifiers will blink red and stop working if the humidity is too high.

Here is how to ensure your ambient humidity is properly set for your Vicks humidifier:

  • Look for the accumulation of moisture or droplets on the inside of your windows; this indicates a high humidity level.
  • Locate the control knob on your Vicks humidifier and rotate it to lower the humidity levels.
  • Alternatively, access the main panel or use the arrow keys to adjust the strength.

Once your humidity levels have been adjusted, restart your Vicks device, then turn it on and wait for a couple of minutes so it gets a new reading. 

Note: High humidity settings can result in the formation of mold in your home; keep humidity around 50%.

Quick Recap

To fix Vicks warm mist humidifier not working, first check that the reservoir is sufficiently full and clean of any plaque.

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Next, check for the proper humidity settings and replace the filter.

Nicole B