A humidifier is a significant part of your home’s HVAC system, although most homeowners do not give it much thought. After all, it isn’t the furnace or air conditioner, which is the main component of the system.
The purpose of a humidifier is to keep the air from becoming too dry. Forced-air units are the ones that are part of the HVAC system; they are installed right into the furnace so that they work together as one cohesive unit. Smaller units can be helpful too, but every homeowner should have a forced air unit because of how dry the air can get in some parts of the country. Here are basic tips to help you troubleshoot your home humidifier and maintain it:
- Clean the unit once per year. During a year, a humidifier can collect hard water stains and rust. Once a year you should take the unit apart to clean it. Consult the owner’s manual for specific details on how to clean your brand. You will probably have to replace the filter or pad when you clean the unit because it will never come clean again. Consult a specialist for assistance with this part of the process and the overall cleaning of the unit.
- Clean the float assembly at the end of the season. For reservoir humidifiers, it is necessary to take the float assembly out and clean it at the end of the heating season. This will prevent it from getting stuck over the summer while it isn’t being used. Vinegar works wonders when trying to clean this part of the humidifier.
- Clean the water reservoir at least two times per year. Anything that holds water for a long period will likely harbor bacteria, so you should be cleaning the reservoir once at the beginning of the season and once at the end of it. An antibacterial solution will help eliminate any bacteria that have built up inside the reservoir. If at all possible, clean the reservoir a couple of times during the season as well to protect your family from the bacteria that builds up while the unit is in use.
- Read the manual to learn more about the specific type of unit that is installed in your home. There are many different kinds of forced air units, and some of them require even more maintenance than what is listed above. Whenever you are in doubt about how to care for the unit, call an expert who can help keep it in good running order.
The type of tap water you have in your home also plays a major role in how often maintenance will need to be done on your humidifier. It can also affect the operation of the unit. For example, water that has high levels of some minerals can cause some types of units to produce a white dust, which simply blankets everything throughout the home. If you experience problems with a white dust, look for ways to use distilled water and a humidifier cartridge that is made to remove minerals from the water.
All homeowners should also be careful not to over humidify the house. If the humidity level is too high, mold and dust mites may become a serious problem inside the home. It can also cause a condition known as humidifier lung, which means that part of the lung becomes inflamed due to excessive inhalation of organic dust. The recommended level of humidity for most homes is between 30 and 50 percent.