How to Extend Your Humidifier's Filter Life

Steam from humidifier, close-up
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Humidifiers add needed moisture to the air, averting dryness which can bother the skin, nose, throat, and other parts of the body. The benefits of using a humidifier include preventing airborne viruses, reducing snoring, and cutting down on static electricity. They also help your home's living areas feel warmer, reduce heating bills, relieve allergies, and they even make houseplants healthier. Extending a humidifier's filter life or attaining the estimated lifecycle of a humidifier often depends on environmental and product factors such as wick-type and whether or not you have any animal dander in your home.

Estimated Humidifier Filter Life

Manufacturers generally recommend wick-type portable humidifier filters be changed after one to three months, or even earlier. There are very good reasons to clean or change humidifier filters: For example, as a humidifier operates, it pulls in air and returns it to that room as either a cool or warm mist, depending on the type of humidifier you are using. During this process, dust and other particles become permanently trapped in the filter and are not recycled to the room.

Over time, however, these contaminants clog the filter and hamper proper operation. This will cause the unit to work much harder and a whole lot less efficiently, and this taxed unit is likely to burn out more quickly and use more energy. It could also be returning dirty air and mold spores to the room since proper filtration is not possible.

Filter Life Hindrances

The presence of smoke, animal dander, or dust can dramatically shorten your humidifier's filter life and quickly create a clog. Good dust maintenance and regular vacuuming of the room, especially the area closest to the humidifier, may extend filter life.

Improvements will also be made when cleaning the intake area of the humidifier. A home's water quality can also hamper humidifier operation as hard water mineral deposits can quickly clog a filter. Unless one installs a water filtration and softening system, this problem is not easily rectified. Plus, using bottled water to run a humidifier is neither economical nor practical. The only remedy for this problem is cleaning or changing the humidifier filter much more often.

Routine Maintenance for Humidifier Filters

With good dust control, the average humidifier filter will only require a changing about every three months. Some wick filters can be cleaned simply by submerging them in water. Check the product manual to be sure, but this process may take a while to ensure all dirt is removed. Overall, humidifier filters are an economical purchase and a time-saver. Purchasing several filters along with a humidifier is also recommended, so you always have extras on hand.

Cleaning a humidifier or changing a wick-type humidifier filter is easy and only takes a few steps. Plus, changing and cleaning a humidifier filter regularly will keep the unit operating at maximum efficiency. When storing away the humidifier, it is important to complete a humidifier cleaning and filter change so the unit will be ready to go for the next season.