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No device or appliance can last forever.

Whole house humidifiers are no exception to this rule with some experiencing issues early on while others last for years without problems. When you can’t seem to get decent work from your humidifier, what can you do?

  • There are some simple fixes that many DIY-ers will be able to do on their own. If you don’t have much experience working in electrical wiring, water pipes or the HVAC system in general than you may not want to trust in your abilities to properly fix your system. It’s wisest to call an expert repairman instead.

Some issues you might face with your whole house humidifiers do not need the help of a professional and can easily be solved at home. Here are a few of the most common problems people experience with their furnace-based whole house humidifiers and the potential solutions for these problems.


  1. Humidifier won’t turn on with the furnace

Check the electrical connections and wiring for your humidifier. If any wiring is loose or not properly connected this can be the cause of your unit failing to turn on when it is supposed to.

  1. Fan won’t turn on

Most often, if your fan is not working it will be due to the control board and internal controls for the fan. You can sometimes replace these pieces although it might be a little tricky. You may have to spend a bit of money getting the proper parts for the fix.

Another suggestion is that the fan’s motor has burned out. This is unlikely for most people and might only be a real issue if you’ve had your unit for a long time or if it is overworked in some way.

  1. There is no water reaching the humidifier

Problems with the water reaching the humidifier basin can have a few separate origins. Firstly, the solenoid valve (a piece which allows or prevents water from filling the basin) may not be getting any power. If this is the case, you might have an issue with the control board. To know if this is the problem, listen for a clicking sound when the unit turns on. Lack of the signature clicking indicates this could be the problem.

Secondly, if you hear a click and there is no issue with your solenoid valve than you might want to check that the drain pipe leading to your unit is not clogged and is functioning properly. This may turn into a bigger fix for you if you have to inspect and clean out the piping leading to your unit.

Lastly, check the saddle valve (a piece that connects the drain pipe for the unit to the household water supply) and see if it is clogged or if it is working as it ought to. You should only check this if the other two suggestions do not fix the problem.

  1. Unit is on, but no humidity is coming out

When your humidifier turns on and operates fine but you cannot feel the change in humidity or see it reflected by your humidistat, you might need to perform some routine maintenance. If you are using a drum system, empty the drum completely and clean it out. Those with evaporative humidifiers should take out the filters and wash or replace them before reinstalling them into the unit again. The water basin should also be cleaned. The rare person with a steam humidifying system should make sure the steam mechanism is working properly and that there is a sufficient amount of water reaching the basin to be heated. Also check the heating coils to make sure they are operating properly.


It may be time to call your most trusted professional to come and fix your system if these quick DIY fixes don’t work for you. This can be costly but at least you’ll be sure that someone who understands these systems is working on your unit and will discover the root cause of the problem.


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