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Improve your air quality with furnace humidifier maintenance

An open monochromatic brown living room with black spores of various sizes in the air throughout

Furnace humidifiers (aka whole-house humidifiers) can provide relief for allergy sufferers and boost the overall value of a home—but only if they’re properly maintained. Here are a few ways you can inspect and maintain your furnace humidifier to help it last longer and work more efficiently for years to come. 


A filter screen with 2 rows of blue light behind it that is full of debris on the left side and has minimal debris on the right side


Is my furnace humidifier clean?

Cleaning your whole-house humidifier is a critical part of furnace humidifier maintenance.

  • Once a year, furnace humidifiers and their water panel evaporators should be emptied and cleaned. This can be easily done .
  • If your furnace humidifier has been neglected, or if your humidistat has been set too high, you may notice mold, bacteria, or poor air quality.
  • Note: Indoor air that is too dry or too moist can damage the wood in your home, but this can be avoided by keeping your home at a moderate temperature and humidity.


A white woman whose back is facing the camera scratches the base of her neck with her left hand over her right shoulder


Is my humidifier working?

Once you’ve ruled out the possibility of debris affecting your furnace humidifier’s function, examine a few other potential causes.

If your furnace humidifier has stopped working, dry air could be the cause of dry skin and hair, nose irritation or nosebleeds, warped wood, or dried/cracked wallpaper. Be mindful of humidifier leaks which can be caused by: Buildup on the solenoid valve, poor drainage, a leaky water panel, and/or improper pressure.

Furnace humidifiers typically last between 5 and 10 years. If you have a humidifier around this age, you should factor this into the cost of the home.


A gray furnace humidifier attached to a gray furnace


What if it’s time for a new one?

Your furnace humidifier may no longer meet your household needs, or perhaps it's simply time for a new one. Ask trusted professionals in your community for what to keep in mind when shopping for a new unit.

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