Maintaining your wood floors also means knowing a little about humidifier maintenance.
Wine, cigars and wood: three very expensive items in your home that require very specific environments to stay in tip-top shape. A grand piano, essentially a fine piece of wood work, will go out or tune or have a damaged exterior with the wrong humidity levels.
If you want perfect performance of your wood floors, you need to have a perfect environment. The more imperfect the environment, the more degraded the performance of the wood.
Getting that performance for the wood in your home means installing and maintaining your humidifier for tip-top performance.
Let’s discuss some common pitfalls and how to troubleshoot potential problems to establish good humidifier maintenance habits.
Don’t have a humidifier? See our guide to humidifiers to learn more about why every wood floor owner should have one and what you need to look for when buying one.
Common Humidifier Maintenance Problems:
Unit turned off –
Your unit might be turned off! Have you checked?
Panel or water line is clogged.
The way the units work is for water to enter the unit and be converted to vapor through evaporation or heat. The water lines or injectors can clog. In evaporative units, the water panel will accumulate residue that prevents water from moving over the cells, reducing or eliminating the evaporation process. Be sure to change your water panels and have your steam units looked at every year. Steam units tend to clog very often.
Many units have a damper that can be closed during the summer months to avoid pressure loss. The unit can be started up in the winter, but if that damper is still closed, you’re not doing any good. I’ve even seen this in multi million dollar homes.
Water line turned off
Same here. If I had a dollar for every time the water line was turned off…
Powered unit unplugged
Some units use the power from the HVAC unit fans while others have separate fans to move air over the water panel. If your unit has an internal fan, you need to plug it in. The plug isn’t an extra decorative accessory.
RH set to 35%
On a large interstate, you might see a speed limit and a minimum speed. The minimum speed is to prevent slow moving cars from going so slow that they become dangerous to other faster moving vehicles. What if you only drove everywhere at the minimum posted speed? That would be silly, right?
Why do so many people set their humidifiers to the minimum required humidity?
As soon as your RH hits 35%, the unit will shut down. The setting you put your humidifier at is the highest RH the home will reach, so set your unit as high as possible without creating condensation on windows. 35% is a minimum threshold for wood floors.
Download our winter RH guide to learn more about humidifier maintenance and how to keep your floors looking great in the winter.
Your Winter RH Guide
Good things for your humidifier to have:
Hot water input
We discussed this previously. Having your hot water connected to your humidifier will greatly increase its efficiency because hot water evaporates faster. It’s not a deal breaker if cold water is already connected. At the very worst you’ll use a lot more water, so don’t lose sleep on this as long as you have a blower controlled unit.
Blower controlled unit
You should be able to humidify the home when the home is dry, not just when the home gets cold.
Your unit will want to humidify more when the temperatures rise outside. This allows the unit to safely add humidity at differing amounts based on exterior temperatures. This is an important, but not expensive, addition to your humidifier.
And always have a hygrometer too
Digital units on newer hvac thermostats have an RH number displayed. Sometimes this is a reading, but more often it’s a setting and people will think it’s a reading.
Know the difference. Getting a separate hygrometer to know the RH of your home will ensure that your humidifier is working well and accurately.
Bryan is the regional manager for our Northern store locations and has been with The Master’s Craft for 10 years.