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How Often Should You Change a Humidifier Filter?

Humidifiers increase indoor humidity to keep your home comfortable and healthy. Throughout the heating season, millions of Americans use portable or whole-home humidifiers every day to add moisture to dry indoor air.

Changing your humidifier filter regularly is the key to optimizing its impact and keeping your home healthy.

Here's when to change your humidifier filter and why it matters!

How Often to Change a Humidifier Filter 

A few factors impact how often you'll need to swap out your filter, but the most important is the size and system.

  • Large portable humidifiers, rated for spaces 500 square feet or larger, should get a new filter four times a year. Try to change it seasonally!
  • Small portable humidifiers, rated for less than 500 square feet, may not have a dedicated filter. If it does, replace the filter every 3 months during the heating season.
  • Furnace humidifiers should have a new filter installed at the start of every heating season.

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions to make sure you're replacing the filter correctly.

Replacing a Furnace Humidifier Pad 

Whole-home humidifiers, or furnace humidifiers, work by blowing air from the furnace through a wet pad. The moistened air is pushed through ductwork to vents throughout the home. The humidifier pad should be replaced annually, although you may need to switch twice yearly for a few reasons.

3 Reasons to Swap Filters out More Frequently 

Homeowners who rely on their humidifiers daily should consider swapping out their filters more often. If you use your portable humidifier for a few hours every day, consider replacing your filter every 6 weeks. Other factors that impact when to swap out a humidifier filter ahead of schedule include:

  1. Pets - Pet hair and dander can clog humidifier filters more quickly and accelerate the presence of bacteria, mold, and mildew. If you have multiple pets (or one prodigiously hairy one), consider swapping out your filter more often.
  2. Smokers – Cigarettes and other types of recreational smoking can deteriorate filters quickly.
  3. Hard water – Homes with hard water may experience accelerated mineral buildup on the humidifier pad. Over time, this can reduce efficiency and lower the purity of the water vapor emitted from the humidifier.

Related: Our Complete Guide to Indoor Air Quality

How Do I Know My Humidifier Filter Needs Changing? 

In addition to following the manufacturer's recommendations, there are a few signs that you need a new filter.

  • Decreased indoor humidity. A clogged humidifier won't increase your home's humidity levels as efficiently as it usually does. If your humidity is a few percentage points lower than normal or below the recommended range, it could partly be due to your humidifier filter.
  • Physical symptoms. If you notice dry skin patches or chapped lips, your humidifier isn't working efficiently. If it's a furnace humidifier, have your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning look at the filter or other potential causes.
  • Mold or mildew. Clogged filters can cause visible mildew and mold buildup on the intake or vent of some furnace humidifiers. Stop using your humidifier if you think there's an issue to avoid spreading mold spores throughout the home, and contact us right away.

Getting More out of Your Filter 

You can get more use out of your whole-home humidifier filter and maintain exceptional indoor air quality in a few ways:

  • Cut down on dust and dander by vacuuming and dusting weekly. This is also a great way to reduce allergy and asthma symptoms!
  • Always bathe and brush your pet outside or at a groomer's. Grooming your pet regularly substantially reduces pet hair and dandruff in your home—your pet will also love it!
  • Wood-burning fireplaces bring dirt, dust, mold, and allergens into the home, which can cause problems before a flame is even lit. Smoke of any kind lowers air quality and clogs humidity filters. Rely on your heating system instead; it's more efficient than a fireplace!

Get Humidifier Help from the Professionals! 

Whether you rely on a portable or a whole-home humidifier, replacing the filter regularly is an easy way to keep the vital equipment running smoothly. Count on One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning for all your HVAC needs, including optimizing humidity levels! Book online or call (800) 893-3523 today!

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