How Long Humidifier Filters Last

Steam from humidifier, close-up
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Humidifiers add moisture to the air to avert dryness which can bother the skin, nose, throat, and other parts of the body. The benefits of using a humidifier include preventing airborne viruses, snoring, and static. They may also help living areas feel warmer, reduce heating bills, relieve allergies, and 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 animal dander.

Estimated Humidifier Filter Life

Manufacturers generally recommend that wick-type portable humidifier filters be changed after one to three months, or even earlier. There are good reasons to clean or change humidifier filters according to these recommendations. 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. During this process, dust and other air particles become trapped in the filter and are not recycled to the room.

Over time, however, these air contaminants tend to clog the filter and hamper proper operation of the humidifier. This will cause the unit to work harder and less efficiently when the filter is dirty, and a unit that works harder than it should 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.

What Hinders Humidifier Filter Life

The presence of smoke, animal dander or dust can dramatically shorten humidifier filter life and can quickly clog a filter. A good dust maintenance and regular vacuuming of the room, especially the area close to the humidifier, can 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 clog a filter. Unless one installs a water filtration and softening equipment in the home, this problem is not easily rectified. Using bottled water to run a humidifier, for example, is not economical nor practical. The only remedy for this problem is cleaning or changing the humidifier filter 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. It is important to always check the product manual to be sure, but this process often takes 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.

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 the humidifier for the off-season, it is important to complete a humidifier cleaning and filter change so the unit will be ready for the next season.