Sure. But if your homemade gasket leaks try a little 100% silicone caulking. It smells bad for an hour or so but it will help. If you use the silicon make sure you allow it to thoroughly dry before you get it wet or it "will" leak.
a 6ya Repairman can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
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The challenge 3.5 ultrasonic humidifer is very similar to the Vicks one on the inside (same nubuliser etc.). It's manual is here
http://www.kaz-europe.com/wp-content/uploads/VH5000E_OM_01JUN11.pdf and its made by www.kaz.com - they manufacture humidifiers under a few different brand names. The vicks cleaning instructions are more stringent, I think because they are marketing this as a children's humidifier - they recommend bleaching the unit.
did you check the socket? it could be something wrong with it....also move it around...like see if it works in other locations......or it could be that something in the Humidifer that either shorted out or got plugged up and wont start....
I would say that the beauty of steam is that it has to get through the 100 degree temperature to leave the aqueous state - i.e. to move from a liquid to a gas.
The benefit of that is that any organizums in the water should be killed as a result of that process. Its possible that it smelt musty or old stagnant water smells but to be honest there is little change of harm to the little ones.
The Problem is minerals in the water. Impeller and ultrasonic designs send these minerals into the air. If the water in your area contains a lot of minerals, you will notice them as dust. The EPA does not issue health warnings about minerals in the air, but does recommend using low-mineral water (such as distilled water) in your humidifier. Many ultrasonic models feature a demineralization cartridge that filters minerals out of the water to prevent the dust.