Whole House Humidifier Maintenance
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Whole House Humidifier Maintenance

How to perform whole house humidifier maintenance including inspecting drain lines, water pad replacement, and sprayers.

If you have a humidifier installed in your heating and air conditioning ductwork or on the return air side of your blower you should inspect it now that we are in the middle of winter to make sure that it is functioning properly. Humidifier water panels can become blocked with lime, mold, bacteria and fungus that are not only unhealthy but will also cause foul odors through out your home. Not only is there a health risk, but the drain pan can overflow and allow water to sit inside the ductwork or overflow onto the floor. Replacing this filter is a fairly simple process that will improve the air quality in your home.

Most humidifiers will have a removable cover that will allow access to the humidifier water panel. Simply remove and discard the old pad. Before installing the new replacement pad clean the inside of the humidifier with a cleaner that can kill germs and also remove lime or scale. Check the drain pan and hose for any blockage and you may want to pour a few ounces of bleach through it to kill any bacteria growing with in. Install the new replacement pad; some may have a indicator such as a paint spot on them to indicate the top. Turn up your thermostat and humidistat set points so it is calling for the humidifier. After a few minutes you should see a small amount of over flow water running out the humidifier drain. If this is not happening you may want to check the humidifier water orifice located near the solenoid valve for restriction. A restricted water orifice is one the most common reasons why humidifiers so not function. This problem is related to the water quality in your home as hard water will create scale to form on the nozzle and not allow the spray to cover the entire pad.

Humidifier Pad

Some humidifiers have fans, but most are a bypass type that use the heating system fan to blow air across the evaporator pad. If you have a bypass humidifier you will want to make sure the bypass damper is in the open position. When the air conditioning season comes around make sure that the bypass damper is put back in the closed position. Some humidifiers do not have dampers, but you will need to make sure that the unit is set to the minimum setting in the cooling season or shut off the water supply to it.

If after checking these items your system still does not maintain a minimum 30% humidity level you may need to contact an HVAC contractor inspect the system.

Bypass Type Whole House Humidifier – Honeywell

If you have a misting humidifier, which are installed in newer units, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and recommendations. Typically there is a filter installed before the solenoid and sprayer control assembly. If you have hard water you should replace it about every 2 years, but it may require more frequent replacement depending on the humidifier load and water quality. In extreme cases you may notice a fine white powder near the supply diffusers on furniture. This is from dried minerals that have become suspended in the airstream and settle out in the home while the unit is on.

If you are considering installing a whole house humidifier yourself there are a few conditions you should look for. First, if you have fiberboard ductwork you cannot install a humidifier in the ductwork. The fiberglass will become waterlogged and allow mold to grow. Most humidifiers are installed in the unit on the return air side of the cooling coil. Second, if you have metal ductwork you should not install a sprayer or mist type humidifier. Overtime the water can cause rust to develop inside the duct. An third, if you have a newer furnace or blower, you should review the manufacturer’s recommendations on humidifier placement and type. They may also manufacture a humidifier that is designed for the unit. Review the warranty if your furnace is less than 5 years old as you may void the warranty if the humidifier is not installed professionally or is not an approved model.

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Comments (2)

good article

Oh I so desperately need this in my home. Great information