How to Clean & Descale a Furnace Humidifier

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No matter where you live, your water contains trace amounts of minerals. After a long winter of evaporating water in a humidifier, a furnace acquires a hard, scaly residue of mineral buildup. If the buildup is not removed, it will eventually clog the flow duct and render the humidifier useless.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench
  • Vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Dishtowels
  • Unplug the furnace. Remove the furnace's humidifier flow duct. Most ducts are removable by unscrewing the bolts around the sides with a wrench.

  • Inspect the inside of the flow duct for mineral buildup. Scrub off any buildup with a sponge soaked with hot vinegar.

  • Inspect the humidifier pump for any buildup. There will typically be the most buildup at the point where the pump intersects the furnace. Soak enough dishtowels in the hot vinegar to pack them against the buildup. Leave the dishtowels in place for at least 1 hour. The vinegar softens and partially dissolves the minerals.

  • Remove the dishtowels and scrub off any remaining buildup with the sponge.

  • Re-assemble the humidifier and plug it in.

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References

  • "Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean"; Linda Cobb; 2004
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