People either don't know or aren't proactive about it but whole-house humidifiers are not install-and-forget units!
These appliances rank among the most unmaintained items found during home inspections.
You will see ads that tout them as "install-and-forget" appliances. THEY ARE FAR, FAR FROM INSTALL AND FORGET!
Basically there are two kinds of whole-house humidifiers - those that spray a mist into the furnace air flow and those that have a tray of water and a turning drum that absorbs the water. As furnace air blows over and around that wet drum it adds humidity to the house.
There are people who swear by them. I am not sold.
Why am I not sold? Because people are people.
What do I mean by that?
Simply that people are busy or think that some things are install and forget.
Homeowners can be an ignorant bunch!
That is not a slam.
There is a lot to know and to think about and to maintain when you own a home.
But doing things regularly are not on most people's radar. That's just the way it is.
And if there is a service to maintain something in the home, like the HVAC system, the contract may, OR MAY NOT, include the humidifier.
This is a photo of a drum humidifier. I see such caked stuff all the time.
What's happened? It had not been maintained for years. Water is full of minerals that accumulate if not removed. How often should they be removed? ANNUALLY. And minerals accumulate where they can! I see this build up on more units than I don't see it on!
But there is another issue. The technical term is goopy crud. In addition to mineral build up there is very often a build up of goopy crud.
All this can get blown around the house. Yummie.
In addition to cleaning a whole-house humidfier EVERY YEAR for mineral deposits by soaking things in one of the mineral removers or white vinegar. At the same time the appliance parts should be treated with some sort of bacteria stat to kill any goopy crud build up. There can be so much build up that the unit clogs and leaks also.
My recommendation: if you have a whole-house humifier learn how to maintain it! Or when your system is serviced make sure the humifier is on the contract. If it isn't maintained it will break quickly anyway. But you don't want anything untoward to get blown around the house in any event. Goopy crud.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560