Constantly hearing the trickle of water from your furnace’s humidifier can be an annoying issue. Not only is it bothersome, but it can also result in water and electricity waste. If you’re wondering how to fix this problem, we’ve gathered up-to-date research to provide you with comprehensive solutions.
When your furnace’s humidifier water continuously runs, there are a few steps you can take to diagnose and resolve the problem. These steps include:
- Check The Solenoid Wiring
- Replace/Clean your Solenoid Valve
- Check the Reservoir Integrity
- Check the Humidistat Setting
- Call an HVAC Professional
Let’s delve into each of these solutions to help you effectively troubleshoot your constantly running furnace humidifier.
Diagnosing Constantly Running Furnace Humidifier Water
Most humidifiers operate by wetting an air-permeable membrane, which is typically cloth-like. The furnace fan then blows air through this membrane, causing water to evaporate and increase indoor humidity.
Different systems utilize various mechanisms, such as a valve that drips water onto the membrane or a holding tank that immerses the membrane in water. Troubleshooting these two system types slightly differs.
In both systems, a solenoid valve plays a crucial role, and it may be the source of the issue. However, only the second system type involves a reservoir that can fail.
Now, let’s explore the troubleshooting steps for diagnosing why your furnace’s humidifier water is continuously running. We’ll consider scenarios where the water runs even when the furnace fan is off and situations where the water flows excessively but only when the fan is on.
1. Check The Solenoid Wiring
If your furnace’s humidifier water runs continuously even when the fan is off, it’s likely an issue with the solenoid valve. To understand the problem better, you should begin by checking the solenoid’s wiring. First, ensure that the furnace breaker is turned off for safety.
It’s crucial to comprehend how the solenoid operates. This device is typically a valve that remains closed when not powered but opens to let water flow when powered. Therefore, the power for a furnace humidifier’s solenoid valve should be disconnected from the fan’s power source.
A common mistake is to route the solenoid’s power from the line that supplies the entire furnace. This misconfiguration leads to a solenoid valve that is perpetually powered, causing constant water flow. To resolve this issue, reconfigure the wiring according to the recommended setup.
It’s advisable to perform electrical work that you’re comfortable with or hire a certified professional for this task.
2. Replace or clean your Solenoid Valve
If you’ve confirmed that the solenoid valve is correctly wired and the water still runs continuously, it’s time to inspect the valve itself. These valves can become stuck open due to debris or mineral buildup.
To address this, you can attempt to flush the valve and clean it with directed water pressure. You should also gently clean the solenoid valve if possible, following any accessible hose, line clamp, or fastener.
During this process, exercise caution to prevent excessive water from reaching the furnace’s sensitive inner components. If cleaning or flushing doesn’t resolve the issue, consider replacing the valve, taking care to turn off the breaker first, or hire an electrician or HVAC technician for assistance.
3. Check the Reservoir Integrity
For furnace humidifiers relying on a reservoir to moisten the membrane, a reservoir integrity issue could be the cause. Although this problem is relatively easy to identify, it’s essential to turn off the furnace breaker before proceeding.
To diagnose the issue, inspect the reservoir for cracks or failures. You may see where the water is dripping or feel moisture at the bottom of the reservoir. While you can attempt to repair this problem with strong glue or tape, the most effective solution is to replace the reservoir or the entire humidifier.
4. Check the Humidistat Setting
If your humidifier runs only when the fan is on but still results in excessive indoor humidity, you might have a problem with the humidistat. The humidistat measures your home’s humidity and typically triggers the humidifier when humidity falls below the set threshold.
If your humidistat is set to a threshold higher than your desired humidity level, it can lead to excessive moisture. Try adjusting the humidistat to a lower humidity threshold to see if that resolves the issue. If adjusting the setting doesn’t work, check the wiring connections for the humidistat and consider replacing it if it continues to malfunction.
5. Call an HVAC Professional
If any of these steps seem too complex or hazardous for you, it’s advisable to seek assistance from an HVAC professional. This ensures the problem is addressed correctly while minimizing the risk of electrical accidents.
How Much Water Should Drain From The Furnace Humidifier?
According to Filters-Now, a reputable online retailer of furnace humidifiers, it should take 2.5 to 5 minutes to fill a quart jar from the furnace humidifier drain. This guideline is applicable when the furnace is running and the indoor humidity is low. In ideal conditions, an off-furnace should not produce any drainage.
How Do I Turn Off the Water To My Furnace Humidifier?
The water supply to your furnace humidifier is typically connected to the main house water supply. The location for shutting off the humidifier water depends on how the unit was plumbed. Normally, a shut-off valve is installed where the humidifier water splits from the main house water line. Locate this point by tracing the humidifier’s water line until it joins another house line.
If there is no shut-off valve at this junction, you may need to turn off the water to the entire house, usually achieved through whole-house shut-off valves near the water meter or the water inflow to your home. Installing an easily accessible shut-off valve near your humidifier is a smart move, facilitating future repairs and allowing you to turn off the humidifier when it’s not in use.
When Should The Humidifier Be Turned On?
The ideal time to operate your humidifier depends on the level of indoor humidity. In many parts of the United States, dry air is prevalent during the cold winter months. However, it’s essential to note that some regions, like the desert southwest, experience dry air during the summer as well.
Therefore, the key is to monitor your indoor humidity levels. If humidity is lower than your comfort or health preference, keep the humidifier on. On the other hand, if natural humidity is sufficient, or if you’re away for an extended period, it’s best to turn the humidifier off.
A word of caution: If you notice significant indoor condensation, your humidifier may be contributing to excess moisture, potentially leading to mold, mildew, and rot. In such cases, reduce the humidifier’s settings or turn it off.
What Should My Furnace Humidifier Be Set At In The Summer? In Winter?
In general, maintaining your home’s humidity between 30% and 50% is considered comfortable for most people. However, during the winter, very high humidity can cause excessive condensation on your windows’ exteriors. In such cases, consider lowering your humidity levels to around 20% to 25%.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ve addressed the issue of a furnace humidifier with constantly running water. We’ve provided you with detailed solutions for troubleshooting the problem, including checking solenoid wiring, replacing or cleaning the solenoid valve, assessing reservoir integrity, examining the humidistat setting, and when to call an HVAC professional for help.
Remember that your home’s humidity should be adjusted according to the season and the specific conditions you’re experiencing. Proper maintenance and timely repairs will ensure that your furnace humidifier functions efficiently and doesn’t waste water or electricity. By following these steps and guidelines, you can enjoy a comfortable and healthy indoor environment.