What does a humidifier have to do with plumbing? Aren’t they to be serviced by heating and air conditioning contractors? Well, the lines can be blurred a bit. There was a time when heating and cooling was considered plumbing. But do to technological advancement, the trades got more complicated. And the heating and air conditioning trade was spawned. And for good reason. You want a specialist when hiring a craftsman. Much like water heaters. But in this case, they blend a bit.
What is a humidifier
A humidifier is a device that adds moisture to the air. In this case, I’m discussing the whole house humidifiers mounted to the heating and air conditioning system housing. They have a water connection that’s usually attached to the water line above your water heater. A quarter inch copper tube runs from the water connection to the solenoid valve of the humidifier. And on the simple humidifiers, a stream of water flows over a paper pad. A separate duct bypasses the air conditioning coils and allows air to blow across the wet pad. This humidifies the air in your home.
Advantages of a Humidifier
One of the obvious benefits of the humidifier are that it helps dry skin from dry winters. This is especially true when you have a gas furnace. They tend to make things even dryer. But dry air affects your home as well. The wood work will crack less. The carpets won’t build static as much. And you can keep the temperature down on the furnace more if the humidity level in your home is higher.
Disadvantages of a humidifier
There is an upfront expense of installing a whole house humidifier. And the added moisture can sometimes encourage mold. They tend to waste water. They lower the efficiency of the blower in your hvac system. They need maintenance. If you forget to turn them off in the summer it will increase your air conditioning costs.
What kind of maintenance
A standard whole house humidifier needs to be manually turned on and off each year. That means turning the humidistat down, turning the duct bypass to “summer” mode. This closes the duct bypass. And replacing the humidifier pad in spring. If you don’t, it’ll grow mold. And you don’t want that in your homes air.
Common humidifier repairs
The repairs are where the plumbers will often come into play. Though they are simple machines, you always want a professional to both install and repair them. Have a trained hvac technician install the unit. But the plumbing you might leave to the plumbers.
Humidifier water shutoffs
The water shutoffs are the part of the system that I often deal with. Air
conditioning techs will install the self-piercing saddle valves to create a quick and easy water connection. They’re often used as refrigerator water shutoffs, too.These have problems with calcifying shut. As a plumber, I can tell you that a standard quarter turn shutoff valve, like you’d see under a faucet, is what you want. They have a full port opening and will last a very long time.
The humidifier solenoid valve sounds very technical. But it isn’t. It’s just a water shutoff valve that’s controlled by the appliance. They tend to calcify, too. This is especially true when the system is attached to the hot water side of the water heater piping. They have two little wires, two little compression water connections and two little screws. The average diy homeowner can handle this.
Humidifier evaporator pad replacement
The evaporator pad replacement is more maintenance than repair. But it’s worth mentioning. Get
the model of your unit off the front. Go to your local home store and get the new pad. They usually run less than twenty bucks. Pull the cover off the front of your humidifier. Remove the old pad from the plastic framing and slide the new one in.
Don’t let your whole house humidifier intimidate you. They are an important component in many home heating systems. Basic maintenance can be taken care of by your average diy homeowner. But when you need some basic repairs done call a professional. If you find that there’s no water flowing to your humidifier call your local Lees Summit plumber near you. In this case it’s Advocate Master Plumbing. We are also Lee’s Summit sump pump installation and repair specialists!