All winter long it feels like an uphill battle to keep your house clean, you mop and dust and the next day is that pesky white dust/powder again. “Do I need a new furnace filter, do I need to upgrade my filter?” you ask yourself.
You aren’t imagining things, this is a common issue that has just started a few years ago. This pesky white powder is a common problem and comes from a very overlooked source. Do you have a small humidifier in your home? Not the kind that is part of your duct system, but an appliance style humidifier similar to the ones pictured? If so that is the root cause of this white powder. We learned about these appliances and their powdery by-product a few years ago the hard way. We had a number of furnaces that were overheating and we could not figure out why. Typically a furnace will overheat if the air filter is plugged and the furnace can’t pull enough air through it to cool the heat exchanger down. However, our techs would pull the furnace filter and they would be white as a pure snow. Looking clean, we would put the filter back in and struggle through the diagnosis more. Turns out these ultrasonic humidifiers vaporiz
e water molecules using sound waves and the byproduct of this process is a fine white mineral powder. This powder then accumulates on surfaces in the home and get sucked up into the duct system and finally onto the filter. The filter quickly fills up and can no longer allow air through.
We recommend getting rid of these ultrasonic humidifiers and installing a whole home humidifier. Baumann & DeGroot typically installs them for $375. If they are not feasible then we recommend the old style evaporative humidifiers that use a heat element to boil and steam the water. If you choose to continue using the ultra sonic humidifiers we strongly recommend changing your furnace filter every 2 weeks while it is in use.