Wednesday, January 6, 2010

More Pointless Frugality

Those of us whose home position is to be frugal need to examine our behaviour sometimes to see if it makes sense, such as when I decided that mouse traps are disposable. This time I look at humidifier pads.

I have the type of humidifier that attaches to the furnace and forces air to flow through a water-soaked pad. This pad seems to be made mostly of metal and a residue from the evaporated water builds up over time.

For many years I didn’t realize that it was normal to buy replacement pads. I thought the pad was an integral part of the humidifier and I struggled to find ways to clean it. What seemed to work best was soaking it in CLR.

Worried that maybe it wasn’t really getting cleaned properly, I decided to see if the pad could be replaced. On my first attempt at a big-box store, I learned not to call it a humidifier grill. They didn’t have those and I shouldn’t waste this very important employee’s time.

Fortunately, I persisted and found that humidifier pads are a standard replacement item and are quite cheap ($9.99 for my model). This isn’t much more than the cost of a bottle of CLR ($8.69).

This little story is as much about ignorance as thrift, but I’ll call my $1.30 plus tax savings in previous cleanings the result of pointless frugality. For such modest savings, I had to do the work to soak the pad, and then get a result that may not have been as clean as a new pad.

From now on I’ll happily buy new humidifier pads for the extra buck and a half it will cost.


  1. You've changed, man! It used to be about the cheapness, but now you have become a Spendthrift or worse! How can you squander that amount of money, that's almost the cost of a Soy, Low Foam, High Fibre, Jamoca, Dingle dingle, Hooha, Latte (with sweetner in a biodegradable cup)!

    Come on man!

  2. Big Cajun Man: Maybe if I was a coffee drinker I'd see this whole thing differently :-)

    CC: Ordinarily I don't break into your house looking for post topics, but I made an exception this time :-)

    1. The second reply above was to Canadian Capitalist's comment:

      Wow, what a timely post. Cleaning the humidifier pad is on my list of things to do and I've been procrastinating. So, I'll do what you've suggested: buy a new pad and chuck out the old one.

  3. Couldn't have been my house, you'd have to scale the Mount Olympus of clutter to get at the furnace, and I would have heard you breaking your leg down there.

  4. I recently emptied my central-vacuum bag by hand (my shop vac didn't have enough power) so I could reuse it. Home Depot has replacement bags, but they were out of stock, and I deemed the vacuum store too expensive.

    I then repaired the bag with duct tape, which wouldn't stick, so I had to add some white glue. A dirty, disgusting job to save $10. Likely a worse job than you had with your humidifier, but the savings were somewhat higher. Still, at the end of my life I don't think I'll be grateful that I saved the $10, narrowly avoiding total destitution.

  5. Gene: Maybe there's a book in a collection of stories of crazy things done to save money.