How Often Should Furnace Humidifier Filters Be Changed?

A furnace humidifier works to release water vapor or steam in the air to increase moisture levels. Your humidifier can prevent problems caused due to dry air. Typical examples include cracked lips, dry sinuses, and nosebleeds.

One study noted that furnace humidifiers might reduce the flu risk. A furnace humidifier can help prevent the wallpaper from cracking by increasing the moisture in indoor air. Another study found that humidifiers can make coughs productive by getting more water into the airways. A productive cough releases trapped phlegm.

Some types of humidifiers include drum humidifiers, reservoir humidifiers, flow-through humidifiers, and steam humidifiers.

What Does a Humidifier Filter do?

Your humidifier filter/water pad/evaporator pad/water panel is essential to your furnace humidifier. It is responsible for retaining and dispensing moisture directly to the air as it passes through the furnace. When your indoor humidity levels drop, additional water is added to the filter and distributed to the air in your home.

Some common humidifier filter materials include paper, clay-coated metal, foam, and metal. Over time, contaminants such as smut, mildew, and fungus start growing on humidifier filters. Before these contaminants build up on your humidifier filter and affect the system’s efficiency, replace it.

What Happens if You Do Not Replace Your Humidifier Filters Regularly?

Some common consequences of not changing humidifier filters regularly include insufficient humidity levels and leaking/choked drains which can lead to overflow and premature wear and tear. A dirty filter can make your humidifier work harder and longer. As a result, your electricity bill may go up. The moisture trapped in your old evaporator pad can create the perfect conditions for bacteria and mold growth.

Your unit may release mold spores and germs into your home’s air. Exposure to mold and germs can cause a whole host of health problems. In addition to affecting your humidifier filters, mold and dirt buildup can cause damage to other parts of your humidifier.

How Often Should Humidifier Filters be Changed?

Replace your humidifier filter once every year. If you or someone in your household has an allergy or a pet at home, consider changing your humidifier filter more often-every six months. You will also want to change the humidifier filter more frequently if you have hard water, as it can cause filters to wear out quickly.

Tips to Make Your Humidifier Filters Last Longer

You can extend the useful life of your humidifier filter by keeping the exterior of your humidifier clean. This will reduce the dust that makes its way to your filter. Regularly vacuum your rooms to prevent dust from building up on your humidifier’s body.

Consider installing a water filtration or softening system if you have hard water. If this is not feasible, boil the water before adding it to your humidifier. Refer to the product manual to find out if you can clean your filter. Clean dirty filters with vinegar or bleach. Replace the water inside your unit at regular intervals.

Most humidifier filters have top-filled water tanks. Their filters are in a standing position and soak water unevenly. This results in them wearing out faster. To prevent premature degradation, turn your wick filter over every time you refill the tank. This will rehydrate the top portion and keep it from drying out.

When your humidifier is not in use, remove the filter from the unit. Ensure the filter is clean before storing it in a cool and dry area.

When to Clean and When to Replace Humidifier Filters?

Clean your humidifier filter if:

  • Its color has changed to yellow or brown, but there are no visible tears. The discoloration is a sign that dirt has built up on your filter.
  • It produces an unpleasant smell. This could be due to mineral scaling and accumulated dirt.

Replace your humidifier filter if

  • There are holes in it.
  • Dirt and minerals are so deeply ingrained that a deep clean can no longer remove the contaminants.
  • The anti-microbial coating falls off the filter

How to Change a Whole House Humidifier Filter?

Follow these steps to change your whole house humidifier filter.

  • Switch off your humidifier and furnace
  • Remove the cover. Removing it may be as easy as sliding it out, depending on the type of cover. If fasteners or clips are holding the cover in its place, gently remove them.
  • If a tube blocks access to the cover, use a wrench to remove it. Once you have removed the tube, swing it out of the way.
  • Remove the filter and inspect it. Soak it in a water and vinegar solution if it is dirty but not damaged. After the calcification dissolves, rinse the pad with clean water.
  • If your humidifier filter is too damaged or old, you will want to replace it. To replace your filter, first, unwrap the new filter and gently slide it in. There are tracks to guide you when placing the new humidifier filter, so you slide it into the correct spot. Make sure the new filter is the same size as the old filter.
  • Slide the cover back in place or secure it with the clips or fasteners and reconnect the water distributor tub
  •  Set your desired humidity level. Check the connections to make sure they are secure. Turn your humidifier on. Observe your humidifier for a few minutes to see if the water is draining properly

Whether your furnace is not working properly or not working at all, South Placer Heating and Air can help. Our team consists of experienced technicians with the know-how that allows them to develop cost-effective solutions to heating and cooling problems. To schedule furnace repair in Sacramento, call (916) 246-2089.