How Often Should I Change My Furnace Humidifier Filter?

Open whole house humidifier with trickling filter pad and damper exposed

Humidity is key to indoor air quality. Many modern homeowners opt to install furnaces with built-in humidifiers (whole-home humidifiers) to ensure the air moving through their home is optimal, comfortable, and less likely to distribute winter viruses. Like all other components of your HVAC system, they require maintenance—chiefly, replacing the filter (sometimes referred to as a humidifier pad).

To keep the air filtering throughout your home clean and free of dirt and impurities, you should replace your humidifier filter once every three months while in use.

What Is a Furnace Humidifier?

Furnace heating systems create a dry heat that will keep your home warm during the winter months but can cause havoc on the skin, make the air dry and difficult to breathe, and have a negative impact on wooden furniture.

To add moisture to the air, many homeowners install a furnace humidifier. A furnace humidifier is connected to a forced-air heating and cooling system that delivers an equal amount of moistened air throughout the house. Furnace humidifiers increase the moisture content and humidity of the air in your home. This is key to comfort—and making the indoor air less hospitable to cold-weather viruses—during the dry winter months.

There are three main types of whole house humidifiers—drum humidifiers, flow-through humidifiers, and steam humidifiers.

  • Drum humidifiers: use a rotating pad to create moisture that the furnace pushes through the house.
  • Flow-through humidifiers: use an evaporator pad and warm air to create humidified air that the furnace pushed through the house.
  • Steam humidifiers: heat water in a reservoir, and the water is converted to steam pushed through the house.

Related Topic: Can You Use Tap Water in a Humidifier?

How to Change the Filter on a Furnace Humidifier

Just like a standard furnace filter, it’s important to change your furnace humidifier filter regularly to mitigate wear and tear on the unit and ensure the air you breathe is as clean as possible. Because a humidifier is moist by design, without regular replacement, your unit may be susceptible to mold growth. A dirty filter may cause excessive dust and debris to be expelled into the air, resulting in sickness or allergies.

How you change your filter depends on the type of furnace in your home. To change the filter, your HVAC professional will follow the below steps:

  • Confirm the power to the unit is turned off.
  • Find, locate, and open the filter housing.
  • Remove the filter from within the housing.
  • Clean the tray the filter was sitting in.
  • Replace the filter and the cover.
  • Power the unit back up.

Is Changing a Humidifier Filter a DIY Project?

Changing a humidifier filter in a furnace may seem like a simple task, but they can be difficult to access. An HVAC professional, like your local Aire Serv® technician, can quickly replace the filter and inspect the unit, identifying any concerns or potential problems with the system.

Related Topic: When to Use a Dehumidifier

Why Whole-House Humidifier Maintenance Important

Adding your whole-house humidifier maintenance to your schedule is essential to care for one of your home's most significant investments: your HVAC unit. Taking care of this machinery and maintaining proper humidity levels in your home by using a whole-house humidifier is essential for the health of the inhabitants.

Regulating humidity levels in your home relies on many components. Have you ever noticed a buildup of condensation on the interior of your windows? This may indicate that your windows aren’t as insulated as they could be. Work with Glass Doctor®, a fellow member of the Neighborly® family of home service brands, and learn about the benefits of insulated double-pane windows, also known as insulated glass units (IGUs).

Maintaining Good Indoor Air Quality

Maintaining good, healthy indoor air quality is important throughout the year, but it is especially important during the winter when doors and windows are kept closed for months. One of the best ways to keep your home’s air healthy and comfortable is to schedule routine filter replacement and HVAC maintenance. Your local HVAC pros at Aire Serv can set you up with a furnace maintenance schedule to ensure your system receives the care and attention needed to keep it running smoothly all year. Contact us or request an estimate online today!