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I looked at my humidifier last night, it looks like it hasn't worked in a long time. the filter cage had thick build up where it had been sitting in the water. How is it suppose to work?

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A couple questions so I can be sure we are talking about the same machine:

Is your humidifier, located near your furnace, and in one of the sheet metal ducts?-- These kind circulate humidity through-put all the open registers in the connected heating system...

Or is this a portable humidifier that you place in one room, and that room is the first to get the increase in humidity-- These are portable, plug-in-the wall powered units.

The first ones (Mounted in the duct..)
Usually has a rotating 'cage' that has an absorbent pad -- maybe 10 inches in diamter-- and a little motor and gearbox, that slowly rotates this pad thru the trap of water in the bottom. As this bad rotates like this, and the house system's air fan is drawing air past this wet pad, you can see how moisture would be added to your house and it heated air.
This pad needs to be replaced at least annually-- So -- can you replace that pad?-- The local hardware store can sell you replacement pads, and you just stable, or sew them on the large wheel-- Make sense?

If your's is the portable kind-- There may not be a rotating drum-- but maybe stationary pads?
-- Can you remove them?-- and take them to the local Hardware store (after they dry!!) - carry in a sealed plastic bag, for thre may be some nasty mold spores in those pads!

Tell us more-- we want to help!

Mack B

Posted on Dec 28, 2010

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  • Anonymous Dec 28, 2010

    it is a Kenmore unit on the furnace. I just replaced the pad and the water tray. It looks like it hadn't rotated for awhile, there was a lot of lime buidup. I put it on its lowest setting and I'll see if that makes a difference. Thanks for the help..


  • Mack Baxter Dec 29, 2010

    Hi Tom,


    You will be able to tell if the wheel is rotating, when yo check it later, and see that the pad is well soaked, all over-- (Note-- Likely the wheel only rotates when the fan is running.)

    Note: The little motor and gearbox is replaceable, too, if need be later.

    Mack B

  • Anonymous Jan 02, 2011

    Well its cold and dry outside and the humidifier pad is still dry, I have the humidastat on its lowest setting. Could the humidastat be bad?

  • Mack Baxter Jan 02, 2011

    Remember, this is a HUMIDIFIER-- That means you want to INCREASE the humidity with this device-- Therefor, INCREASE the humidistat-- and the wheel should rotate, get wet, and then be able to ADD humidity to your house.
    Make sense?
    A few more things to check:
    Is the water valve maintaining a supply of water in the little pan?
    and does the pad sit in the water-- so it is soaked, where it sits?
    All of these things have to be true-
    THEN-- the wheel needs to rotate,
    (So it rotates with an INCREASED setting on the humidistat-)

    Let me now what you find now.
    Mack B



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Can you give us some clues?--
Like-- How is the pad look inside?
Are the fan(s) running?
are there any indicator lights lit?
Did it work for awhile, and stop?
What stopped first?-- the fans, or the little rotating wheel?
any clues that happened at the time it quite?
When was the last time the unit was opened up and cleaned out?
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Please give us some clues to work with--

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Do you feel like looking at the humidifier yourself?
You can open the door on the unit, while the furnace is running--
The humidifier is usually installed in the return air duct, so there will be a sucking of air into the open door, when you open it.

There is usually a large wheel, with a wet pad wrapped around the circumference.
This wheel rotates slowly, and picks up water from the sump-- does everything look and sound quiet as it runs? -- The float valve has to open and close, to c ontrol the leve of water in the sump-- (The pool of water the wheel runs the mat thru--
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It might be that the humidistat wheel scrapes against the side of the sheet metal duct work? -- Sounds travel a long ways in metal duct work!

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