Thursday, June 11, 2015

Using a Humidifier or a Vaporizer on Shabbat

Using a Humidifier or a Vaporizer on Shabbat
Day: Thursday
Date: June 11, 2015
Parshat: Shilah
Yalkut Yosef: 328

It is permissible to leave a humidifier or a vaporizer on over Shabbat in order to help a person who is having trouble breathing. The water in a humidifier is not heated and typically utilizes a fan to add moisture to the air. A vaporizer heats up its water and adds steam to the air. Very often, eucalyptus oil or some other plant extract is added to the vaporizer for its health benefits. If the water in the humidifier got used up it is permissible to add more water on Shabbat. In the case of the vaporizer, it is best to make sure there is enough water for Shabbat before Shabbat starts. However if the water ran out, more water can be added. Ideally the water should have been boiled previously so that at least according to the Rambam and other Poskim it will not be considered cooking. Of course, if there is a life threatening situation anything necessary must be done. A working humidifier is not muktzeh and may be moved on Shabbat. A vaporizer may only be moved if necessary to help the sick person.

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