Why Did My Ultrasonic Humidifier Clog The Furnace Filter?

How can an ultrasonic humidifier clog your furnace filter? If this question is baffling you now, you've come to the right page. We've researched the question for you and we're happy to share the results with you.

When you use hard water on your ultrasonic humidifier, it will produce white dust particles due to the water's mineral content. The mineral residue gets mixed up with the water droplets produced by your humidifier and contaminates your indoor air. It'll eventually find its way to your ductwork and accumulate on your furnace filter, clogging it and causing major operational issues. Avoid using hard water on your ultrasonic humidifier to prevent this problem. 

Continue reading to understand how this happens and what you can do to prevent this situation. This article will also answer what are the possible issues that you'll encounter when the filter is clogged and how you can tell if your furnace filter is already due for cleaning or replacement. Let's get to work!

Why is my furnace filter covered in white powder? 

Cold weather makes the air dry. The lack of humidity makes our body dry as well causing itchy eyes, nose bleeding, chapped lips, and dry skin. And to relieve this uneasiness, we use humidifiers to add moisture to the air that we breathe and they're actually good at taking away the discomfort that we feel.

Male hands are installing a furnace air filter

Many homeowners prefer to use ultrasonic humidifiers because they are safe to use, energy efficient, and quieter to operate. They are also available in different sizes so you can choose one that can sufficiently humidify your room depending on its size.

Check out this ultrasonic humidifier on Amazon.

And oh yeah, it goes without saying that cold weather is also the time of the year when furnaces see the most action. We're kept warm and cozy inside our homes as we snuggle in our blankets as long as the heater works fine.

However, your furnace won't work correctly if its filter is clogged. This is such a hassle just when you need your heater the most. When you go check what's wrong with it, you find that the filter is obstructed with too much white powder. Sure, you can understand when it's dirt you see but you might be wondering where all the white powder is coming from.

People who don't know how ultrasonic humidifiers work will really get lost and won't be able to put two and two together.

Ultrasonic humidifiers have a water reservoir and a metal diaphragm that vibrates at a very high speed to produce water droplets to add moisture to the surrounding air. However, as it does this, it also disperses white dust which is a residue of the water's mineral deposits. These dust particles can settle in different parts of the room and even your HVAC ducts. When this happens, they get sucked up by your furnace filter. As they accumulate over time, they cause clogging in the filter and your heater won't work efficiently.

There you go, that's the relationship between your ultrasonic humidifier and furnace filter.

How do you prevent your ultrasonic humidifier from clogging your furnace filter?

Filling the reservoir with water in the room

What you have to realize is that this isn't a system problem. Nothing is wrong with your ultrasonic humidifier. The issue here is the water that you use.

The white dust can be prevented if you'll be using a different kind of water in your humidifier. Hard water contains lots of minerals like calcium. If you're using this water type, chances are you'll be encountering this problem often.

Experts recommend the use of distilled water since it doesn't contain any impurities. Thus, your ultrasonic humidifier won't produce white dust while it is in operation. It is also expected that you clean or replace your filter frequently to avoid the accumulation of unwanted particles.

If your water supply is hard water, you can buy soft water instead to use on your ultrasonic humidifier. 

Find this distilled water on Amazon.

There's not much choice here. It's either you change the water type you're using or don't use your ultrasonic humidifier anymore so that your furnace filter won't be clogged with white dust. 

What happens if a furnace filter is clogged?

A clogged furnace filter is a problem indeed. These are the things that are expected to happen when you have one.

Higher Energy Consumption

Electrometer is measuring power consumption

Your heater has to work harder so that it can pump warm air through the filter. This is the only way that it can provide you with your desired indoor temperature for you to be comfortable amid the chilly weather. It needs more power to get the job done. Thus, you can expect higher utility charges at the end of the month.

Inadequate Heating

When the filter is blocked, some of the warm air can't pass through it. This is why you'll notice that there are some cold spots in the house or it takes longer before the furnace warms your home to a comfortable level.

Poor Air Quality

The dirt on your furnace filter will get mixed up with the air that you breathe. It will contaminate your indoor air which can make you sick quite often. This is especially true for those prone to asthma, allergy attacks, and respiratory issues.

Furnace Malfunction

Since your furnace is overworking itself to heat your home, there will come a time when the load will be too much for its system. Internal components will be worn out. There can be short cycling issues until the unit won't work anymore.

These are the consequences of having a clogged furnace filter. The solution is very simple - clean the filter or have it replaced according to the recommended schedule so you won't have to deal with these issues. 

How do I know if my furnace filter is clogged?

How do I know if my furnace filter is clogged

Many signs tell you that your furnace filter is clogged. Here they are.

Dirty Filter

Home owner changing their dirty air filter

Let's start with the most obvious one. A simple visual inspection will let you know that your furnace filter is clogged. Locate your furnace filter and check its color and appearance. If it is no longer white and lots of dirt has been stuck on its surface, it's time to give it a good cleaning or replace it altogether.

White Sheet Test

This is a simple test that'll let you know that you have a dirty filter. No need to locate the filter. Just put a white bed sheet (or any light-colored sheet) below one of your HVAC vents. Leave it there for an hour or two. If the bed sheet turns dark or dirty, it's confirmed that you have a filthy filter.

Dust Particles

When you observe dust on different parts of your house despite vacuuming the dirt regularly, it means that the filter can no longer contain the dirt. It gets mixed up with the pumped air and will eventually settle on your carpet, furniture, and other home surfaces. You'll end up cleaning more frequently and getting frustrated because you can't seem to get rid of all the dirt once and for all!

Burnt Smell

This is one of the symptoms of a clogged air filter. It means that your furnace is working really hard to pump warm air throughout your house and it could lead to overheating.

Depending on the type of furnace filter that you have, you need to clean it if it's washable or have it replaced altogether. Check the recommended cleaning or maintenance schedule. Adjust your schedule accordingly if you have kids or pets in the house or live along a busy street to maintain a clean filter. Remember, a clean filter makes your home healthier and more comfortable.

Click this link to find this furnace air filter replacement on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

If you use hard water in your ultrasonic humidifier, chances are you'll experience white dust issues around your house and soon enough it will reach your furnace filter. Use distilled water so that you can prevent this from happening.

If you want to learn more about humidifiers, feel free to click the following posts:

Can I Use Tap Water In A Dyson Humidifier?

No Mist Coming From Dyson Humidifier – What Could Be Wrong?

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