Dry, winter heat can cause different kinds of skin diseases, respiratory problems, and allergies. This is why using a humidifier at home became an essential component during the cold season.
Humidifiers are responsible for adding moisture to the air to counteract the effects of low humidity. But, this device too, requires proper maintenance to prolong its life.
Filters are responsible for keeping the air moisture clean and healthy. But, the price of all disposable filters comes more than the cost of the humidifier itself over its entire lifespan.
Humidifier filter replacement depends on how frequent you use it at home. If you use it on a daily basis, you need to change the filter every 2 months.
Evaporative humidifiers need filter replacement at least once in every 3 months. If your humidifier has mineral absorption filters, you need to change it every 2 to 3 weeks, to avoid mineral deposits from contaminating and destroying your humidifier.
Or, you can check the manufacturer’s recommended filter replacement. Today, let me guide you through the different situations where you needed to replace your filters and when to do it.
Types of Humidifiers
You can either have a central humidifier or a portable room humidifier depending on your needs. A humidifier has several types too but they all contain coils comparable to those in the air conditioning system.
Like your air conditioner at home, a humidifier includes a filter that prevents dirt, mildew and mineral sediments from being released into the air.
Humidifiers are classified into warm-mist and cool-mist type, yet the technology used in each class depends on many things.
A cool mist humidifier uses a filter to block minerals and bacteria from getting into the air. It then releases cool vapors to add air moisture. These are more popular in places with warm weather.
Warm-mist, on the other hand, heat or boil water in order to create vapors, which is then cooled down before releasing into the air.
There are other types of humidifier operation such as ultrasonic and evaporative. And the most common humidifier used at home is the evaporative type.
Mainly because it uses basic evaporation principle to increase air moisture, safe for pets, and children, plus of course it’s affordable than the others.
Evaporative and Ultrasonic
An evaporative humidifier doesn't require modern technology to balance the humidity levels. It actually uses a fan and a wick filter to operate accordingly.
The fan inside the humidifier does not use heat to operate and is in charge of the circulation and humidity balance.
Ultrasonic humidifiers use sound vibrations to produce fine mist and add moisture into the air. Both humidifiers come in cool-mist and warm-mist and may or may not need filters to operate, depending on the manufacturer.
In terms of energy efficiency, noise, and anti-allergy features, ultrasonic humidifiers are quite ahead.
To sum up, these humidifiers may or may not come with filters but, it still varies on the brand and design. Portable humidifiers typically use filters to trap mineral build-ups. Over the course of time, the filter gets dirty, clogged and damaged.
The dirt and mineral buildups accumulated by your humidifier can, later on, injure the device especially when there is poor maintenance.
How to Extend Humidifier Filter Life
Like what I always say, proper cleaning and maintenance make any device last long. It does not just mean that the body is clean and so the rest would follow.
A humidifier can be made of several parts, and each plays an important role. And in my passion towards achieving the right amount of moisture in every home by guiding my avid readers like you; I would like to discuss more on humidifier filters.
As we know, these filters keep all potential harmful elements away from getting into the air and to protect us from inhaling microbes and remove calcium buildups.
The most cost-effective way to extend your humidifier life is to clean it properly and ensure that all parts are free from clogs. If you are using a humidifier with filter, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s guide on how to wash and extend the filter life.
Tips on How to Effectively Clean your Humidifier
If this is your first time cleaning your humidifier filter, I got you covered. Cleaning or changing the humidifier filter is similar to replacing old batteries from your remote control.
- 1It all depends on how often you use the device. Now, if you are considering cleaning your humidifier filters, consider these tips on how to effectively clean your humidifier filters.
- 2Check the manufacturer’s directions included with your humidifier and read how fully to clean it.
- 3Make a habit of draining the humidifier tank when not in use and deep-cleaning it at least once a week.
- 4Switch to reusable filters if you are using disposable ones. By doing this, you can save a lot on buying filters every month.
How to Clean and Change Humidifier Filter
Frequent use of a humidifier will accumulate mineral buildups, specks of dirt, and molds. These sediments will stick on the filters and overtime clog your device.
Essentially, there are different cleaning solutions you can use to clean the reusable humidifier filters. Here are some of the remarkable cleaners:
Some filter manufacturers recommend using cold water and dish soap for light decalcification, vinegar for moderate, and muriatic acid for heavy mineral buildups.
Perhaps you are already aware of these cleaning agents, and if you are confused about what and how to clean the filters, let me help you out.
Regardless of the humidifier brand, you are using, the steps are pretty much similar.
- 1Unplug the humidifier and remove parts out especially the filter section. Apply gentle pressure on the button or filter compartment to release it.
- 2Replace the old filter with a new one. If you are using a reusable filter, soak and clean it using the above-mentioned cleaning agents. Don’t forget to airdry the filter before putting back. Air drying is the safest option instead of using hair dryer which can damage the filters.
- 3Return the filter inside its enclosure and assemble everything back.
Buying Replacement Filters
Humidifier filter replacements can cost you big-time when you use it regularly. You need to replace the filters every 2 to 3 weeks the least or 3 months the most.
If we are to calculate the cost, the price can be expensive in the long run. In my experience, I recommend using reusable filters instead of using disposable ones.
Reusable filters are easy to clean and can last longer when properly maintained. To save more on buying humidifier replacement filters, you can opt to use other humidifier brands as long as they are highly compatible.
What to Expect
Upon purchasing, the humidifier box comes with an owner’s manual that explains filter replacement. You can also visit the manufacturer’s website for more, but of course, I am here to give you the most practical advice.
There are universal filter replacements which are cheaper than an OEM yet highly competitive quality. Just like these universal filters which can fit most humidifier brands:
Universal Humidifier Filter HM850 WWHM300 SFU003 Replacement Cool Mist Reusable Filter
This is a universal cut-to-size humidifier filter that is made from durable synthetic polymer plastic. Unlike other filter replacements which are made of papers, this cool-mist reusable filter lasts longer.
The total lifespan of this filter depends on the minerals present in the water or the water hardness. However, the manufacturer advised that this filter can last for five to twelve times longer than the regular disposable ones.
SKROS Compatible HCM-350, HCM-300T, HCM-600, HCM-710, HCM-315T Humidifier Wicking Filters Replacement for Honeywell HAC-504 and HAC-504AW, Filter A(3 Pack)
SKROS filters provide an anti-microbial feature kill bacteria and harmful elements present in the water.
Although quite thinner than the regular filters, it works excellently at a cheaper price. Each pack contains 3 replacement filters that are compatible with most Honeywell and Enviracaire humidifiers.
A pack can last a whole season depending on the water type you have at home. However, I find this a little small than the regular filter but it actually fits.
When to Buy Humidifier Filters
The question “When to Buy” a filter replacement depends on your personal assessment. If you want to get the long term and maximum health benefits of humidifiers, then you need to replace it frequently.
Except of course, when the device is still under warranty and it suddenly stopped working. I advise, if you are experiencing some faulty humidifiers, don’t repair it yourself if you are still covered.
Unless if the device is out of warranty and you think you can fix the problem, then you can troubleshoot the humidifier.
Overall, humidifiers can last a few good years when maintained properly. One of the best ways to prolong its life is to replace the filter as recommended.
There are different factors you should consider when planning to buy a replacement. In my evaluation, I have come up with the following:
We have pretty much covered a lot about water hardness and how to soften it. If you notice by now, water is a critical component in making sure your device is properly functioning.
Filters play an excellent role in keeping all impediments away and at the same time, giving us enough air moisture.
How to Buy Filter Replacement
To get a replacement filter, all you need to do is get the humidifier’s make and model number. Normally, you can get replacements at the local housewares stores, home centers, and even online.
What I normally do is get the make-and-model then search it online to check availability then find the nearest store that offers this brand or close to it.
Universal filters are perfectly fine to use as long as it fits your humidifier and you get extra features than the original brand.
Most universal filters come in 2's and 3’s per pack and listed all the compatible humidifier models.
Can I Use DIY Filter Replacement?
I got an unexpected message from one reader asking me if using a DIY humidifier filter is okay. She sent me a screenshot of her same concern regarding DIYs.
My thoughts are divided on this matter, especially when the humidifier we are talking about is used in nurseries and bedrooms. Filter replacements only cost around $5-$30 depending on the brand and quality.
If you come to think of it, the reusable filter is cheaper than using some homemade stuff as filters. Plus of course, you are assured of the quality.
Regardless of the material, I believe that we cannot put the health of our loved ones at stake by using DIY filters. Remember, the air that comes out of the humidifier mixes with the air we breathe. So, whatever contaminants there are, we are also inhaling it.
However, if you are considering using a DIY. Coffee filters would be the nearest option you can use.
Never use some sponge foam, cloth or carpet because these materials are prone to molds, which can be an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. Molds easily grow in moist areas and sponges are great victims.
What to Consider When Buying
I know that there have been lots of concerns pertaining to humidifier filters. Some say that their filters discolor after using a few times. However, to set the records straight, the discoloration is not caused by the filter itself.
It is normally due to your water hardness. The yellow-orange discoloration comes from too much iron contents in your water.
Unless of course, you see the discoloration upon opening the filter replacement box upon purchase.
So there you have it, I hope you got a clear picture of how often to change your humidifier filter. I know that situations and factors vary especially the water types, use, and other considerations.
However, once you get to learn more about how the humidifier filter works, you will become aware of the potential harms you can get if not cleaned and replaced.
I don’t see any wrong with using universal filter brands if they fit your budget. Simply choose what is compatible with your device and what works well.