Humidifier filters sift dust, dirt, smoke, animal danders, and even hard minerals from mixing with the air you breathe. The filters keep the moist air free of any impurities that can further put your health at risk apart from balancing indoor humidity levels.
Because of the overwhelming performance of the humidifier filter especially on daily use, its lifespan is also highly affected. To make the humidifier filter last longer, you need to know how to clean the filters on a regular basis and understand when to replace them.
There are many factors that you must consider in order to maintain a well-performing humidifier filter and this is what made me decide on writing this post.
I have noticed that a lot of you guys are messaging on how to prolong the filter life to make it more cost-effective, and so I made a complete guide to better help you out.
What Are the Types of Humidifier Filters
It could be very tempting to switch on the humidifier all day since it makes the room feel warmer and cozy during these cold months, especially that the air is cold and dry.
However, like any usual home appliances, humidifiers also don’t last forever, particularly its filters. A usual humidifier filter usually needs to be replaced at least every 3 months depending on how often you use it and other factors.
There are actually two types of humidifier filters:
- Wick Filter
- Netted Filter
There is not much difference between the two except for the shape and humidifier brands they are being used.
Usually, a humidifier filter is made from 3 various materials namely- paper, metal, or clay-coated metal. All these materials are designed with an antimicrobial coating to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold, and viruses from developing in the filter.
Wick filters were coined from the candle wicks which can stand and have a hollow mid-part that is inserted inside the humidifier tank, usually placed in a wick holder.
The filter acts as a sponge and absorbs water from the water tank to the top where the fan is located and produces air moisture. Most portable humidifiers are powered with wick filters, whether evaporative and cool-mist type.
A netted filter, on the other hand, is flat, usually rectangular in shape and is attached to a frame inside the dehumidifier. It works the same with the wick filter by absorbing water from the tank and release air moisture.
Regardless of what kind of filter your humidifier is using, one thing is for sure, both types are prone to build-ups and bacteria growth. So, you got to clean them well in order to prolong their life and perform their given tasks.
How to Prolong Humidifier Filter While Using
There are many elements that can limit a humidifier filter’s life and performance, it all usually boils down to two things:
- How often you use the device
- And your water quality
Like the other useful household appliances you own, you should also treat filtered humidifiers with proper care and maintenance.
Studies show that dirty humidifiers impose greater health risks not just for you but for the entire household. I myself am pretty much particular with humidifier cleanliness due to the potential health hazards.
Replace the Water Frequently
So if you have been following this blog for quite some time now, perhaps you are already aware that water plays a crucial role in humidifier life and maintenance.
Most of the time, the water left inside the tank causes mold and bacteria growth. And if you don’t change it, these harmful elements will be emitted into the air, making everyone inhaling it to be sickly.
You have to change the water as often as you can. If you are using the humidifier on a daily basis then you got to replace the water every 24 hours. Never let the water sit in the tank for more than 2 days. Bacteria love to dwell in sitting water and can grow fast in as little as a day or two.
Your home water quality has a big role in maintaining and extending the humidifier filter lifespan. If you live in areas like Florida where the water is hard, then you probably know what I mean.
There are many kinds of minerals that come with our water supply. More often, some of these minerals are not easily filtered out so they come in as hard water.
Hard water is a big issue with humidifiers because the mineral deposits such as calcium and limescale can clog the filters, which hamper the device’s performance and even its lifespan.
There are many things you can do to soften the water quality such as boiling the water and letting it cool down before adding in your humidifier water tank. However, this option is super tiresome and not everyone has the patience to do this.
Fortunately, there are water softener tablets you can add to your water tank to avoid build-ups. You can also add a demineralization cartridge or consider using special humidifiers equipped and designed for hard water.
Use the Humidifier at the Right Time and at the Correct Level
Using the humidifier only when needed will also help prolong the filter lifespan. This is because the filters are not exhausted and not prone to wearing out sooner.
Only use your humidifier when the indoor air humidity is too low based on your hygrometer. In order to achieve the best possible indoor home comfort, set your humidifier at the correct level between 30 - 40% which is recommended in the winter months.
Apart from setting your humidifier at the correct level, you can also add natural alternatives such as placing some live indoor plants in certain areas with low humidity. These plants naturally add air moisture without breaking your wallet.
For the best option, set the humidifier on automatic shut-off once the desired humidity is achieved. This will save you more energy and preserve the filters.
Another thing that you can do to make your filter last longer is to use your humidifier at its lowest setting. Watch this video on how to take advantage of the fan speeds of your unit.
A little balance in between is always a good thing!
Rehydrate the Filter
Most portable humidifiers have top-filled water tanks and so the filters are also in a standing position. The longer the time that your filter stands this way, it actually causes an imbalance in the way the filter is absorbing water. Thus, decreasing your filter life.
To prolong your wick filter, turn it over every time you refill the tank to rehydrate the top portion and keep it from drying out. Doing so can help the filter age evenly.
Storage Tips on How to Make Humidifier Filter Last Longer
Even if the humidifier is not in use or in the idle phase, you also need to ensure that the filters will last longer. Remember that a typical filter can last only for about 2-3 months when used every day so if you are not using it often, it can live more than that.
When you are not using the humidifier, it’s best to practice these tips to make the filter last longer even in storage:
- 1Remove the filter out of the unit
- 2Check if the filter is clean, otherwise, you have to clean it first before storing
- 3Let the filters dry out completely
- 4Store the humidifier filter in its original box and place it in a cool and dry area. If you no longer have the original packaging then you can simply use any box that it can fit into. You may alternatively add desiccant gel to avoid moisture build-up.
- 5Detach the other parts of the unit and store it properly.
How to Know if Your Filter Needs Cleaning or Replacement
The state of your filter considerably affects the way your humidifier works so I recommend that you take a closer look at your filters and see if they need cleaning or replacement.
Cleaning does not just involve removing the dust and dirt on the surface, when I say clean the humidifier filter, I mean, to deep clean it. You see, frequent use of the humidifier can wear and tear the filters.
Once there are visible tearing of the filter, it can no longer perform its duties to sift unwanted elements that can be released into the air.
However, it all depends on how you often use the humidifier. Let’s say, If you use the humidifier 24/7, of course, the filter will work hard and will have more chances of going through more wear and tear as compared to using the humidifier at a limited amount of time.
When to Clean the Filters
There are visible signs when to clean the filters such as:
Cleaning the filters on a weekly basis is highly recommended as well as installing a water softener if you got hard water issues.
When to Replace the Humidifier Filter
If you are using the humidifier on a daily basis then you need to replace the filter every 2 months. But, humidifier filter replacement depends on how often you use it, and your water quality.
I strongly encourage that you first read the manufacturer’s manual about when to replace the filter after that, observe your usage and water quality.
If, for example, you only use the humidifier once a week, then you don’t need to replace it after 3 months. You simply need to ensure that it’s cleaned regularly.
Only replace the filters if you can see signs of:
How to Clean and Maintain Humidifier Filter
A filter can either be reusable or replaceable, depending on your device’s requirement. Although, it is more cost-effective if you own a reusable filter type, there are also some advantages that a replaceable filter can give depending on the humidifier model.
Upon cleaning the unit, you only need to follow 3 basic steps in maintaining both the wick filter and the netted ones.
Step #1: Wash
Carefully remove the filter from the humidifier based on the manufacturer’s instructions. If you see a brown color surrounding the tips of the filter, don’t fret, it’s a normal thing because your filter is doing its job. Place the filter under running water and start washing the entire surface.
Step #2: Soak
Once the filter has been washed completely under the faucet, the next thing you can do is fill a bucket with warm water and white vinegar (or bleach if you prefer). Make sure that the entire filter is submerged.
You can use one part vinegar or bleach for every two parts of warm water for exact measurements. Soak the filter for about 30 minutes or more depending on the severity of the build-ups.
Step #3: Rinse
After the given time, rinse the filter thoroughly under clean warm water. You can also brush the filter with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove dirt and build-ups completely.
Make sure that you rinse the filter thoroughly and air dry it so that there will be no traces of bleach is noticeable. Otherwise, it will be released into the air you breathe and cause more health issues plus. The remaining chemical scents also affect filter life.
Also, do not squeeze or wring out the filter, this will cause breakage and will lessen the lifespan of the filter.
To further get some tips on how to extend your humidifier filters, you may also watch this video.
Getting through the final months of the winter season should not be challenging for you, especially with how your humidifier works.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you were able to prolong your humidifier filter’s life longer than it should?
You can absolutely do this by simply practicing the tips and methods I shared in this post, I am sure that your unit’s filter will stay in good working conditions longer.
Learning the different types of filters as well as how to prolong the filter’s life while in use and in storage, understanding when to clean and replace the filters also matter big time.
In the end. you only have to consider two main things, the frequency of your usage and the water quality you have at home. These two factors play critical roles in extending your filter’s lifespan.
Of course, together with proper knowledge and maintenance, I am sure that your humidifier filter can last for more than you expected.