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Aprilaire 600 humidifier - Doesn't seem to be working

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  • Dec 8th, 2018 2:44 pm
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 13, 2008
707 posts
116 upvotes
Toronto

Aprilaire 600 humidifier - Doesn't seem to be working

I've got an Aprilaire 600 installed from the previous home owner. However, it doesn't seem to be getting the humidity to the desired level...I'm not sure if it's even working. Currently at 26% according to Ecobee thermostat...does anyone know if the Ecobee thermostat is accurate?

I've checked several troubleshooting videos and have thus far confirmed that; 1) The water feed into the solenoid valve is a steady stream 2) there is 24 volt of electricity to the solenoid, as confirmed by my brother in-law electrician, 3) I have replaced the solenoid valve and do have water that occasionally drips water, 4) I have a new water panel

How fast should the water be coming out of the tube that feeds into the humidifier water distribution tray (sits atop the water panel)?



Is that about right?

My next problem, it doesn't seem to consistently drip. It was dripping for a good 2-3 minutes while I was getting a bucket and a phone to record the video. After I stopped recording, I noticed that it no longer dripped, but furnace was still on and humidity level was at 27% and the humidistat was set to 45. I had checked a few times before and it had always dripped, but I didn't watch for long.

The water distribution tray felt moist when I checked it, prior to recording the video.

Image

The water panel always feels dry. I even tried spray 250 ml of water onto the panel, to see if it would raise the humidity in the house. The panel still felt kind of dry after spraying and humidity only went up 1%

Image

I have a manual humidistat (has a dial). Could this be the problem?
14 replies
Jr. Member
Apr 19, 2018
136 posts
129 upvotes
Not much flow on your video.

How hard is your water? Valves and lines do get limed up over time. There should definitely be water pooled in the tray ready to run down the mesh when there is a call for humidity.

Sometimes it is worthwhile to take everything apart to check for lime and stuck valves.

I have an Ecobee3 lite and its readings are within 5 points of my mechanical humidity controller. Low to mid 20s is definitely dry.
Last edited by Enlgma on Dec 7th, 2018 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Feb 11, 2007
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Oakville
Is you panel caked in minerals? If so, clean it (vinegar or CLR) or replace it.
Is the duct feeding the humidifier open and blowing air through it?
Is the valve for the water line open where it taps on the copper line? If it is, is the line clogged with minerals?
It can take a while for the house to soak up the humidity if you haven't had it on for a while.
If you take out the filter while it's running and it's dry then not enough water is flowing.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 13, 2008
707 posts
116 upvotes
Toronto
Enlgma wrote:
Dec 7th, 2018 9:57 pm
Not much flow on your video.

How hard is your water? Valves and lines do get limed up over time. There should definitely be water pooled in the tray ready to run down the mesh when there is a call for humidity.

Sometimes it is worthwhile to take everything apart to check for lime and stuck valves.

I have an Ecobee3 lite and its readings are within 5 points of my mechanical humidity controller. Low to mid 20s is definitely dry.
Water is hard. The feed tube into the solenoid is brand new. The solenoid is brand new. The tube from the solenoid into the tray is not new - I will test to see if it is clogged and may replace it.

You mention water pooled in the tray ready to run down the mesh when there is a call for humidity, but I thought the call for humidity opens the solenoid...or is there some other mechanism within the tray that opens to allow water to flow into the water panel (mesh)?
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 13, 2008
707 posts
116 upvotes
Toronto
engineered wrote:
Dec 7th, 2018 10:05 pm
Is you panel caked in minerals? If so, clean it (vinegar or CLR) or replace it.
Is the duct feeding the humidifier open and blowing air through it?
Is the valve for the water line open where it taps on the copper line? If it is, is the line clogged with minerals?
It can take a while for the house to soak up the humidity if you haven't had it on for a while.
If you take out the filter while it's running and it's dry then not enough water is flowing.
Panel is brand new ordered from Aprilaire via Amazon.
The duct is open, I feel the warm air.
Water line is opened, as I mentioned that the water is a stream of water that goes to the solenoid.
Similar to poster above, I think I'll have to check the tube that goes from the solenoid to the water distribution tray.
Jr. Member
Apr 19, 2018
136 posts
129 upvotes
redwings_patriots wrote:
Dec 7th, 2018 10:58 pm
Water is hard. The feed tube into the solenoid is brand new. The solenoid is brand new. The tube from the solenoid into the tray is not new - I will test to see if it is clogged and may replace it.

You mention water pooled in the tray ready to run down the mesh when there is a call for humidity, but I thought the call for humidity opens the solenoid...or is there some other mechanism within the tray that opens to allow water to flow into the water panel (mesh)?
My intent was to point out that the amount of water the solenoid should let out normally keeps the entire tray wet. You are correct in observing that the solenoid is what is controlled for a demand for humidity.

Something I thought of later is if there is a cutoff valve feeding the tube to the solenoid. If there is one or a tap into the regular supply line, it could be clogged.

The Aprilaire I have seen operate has a low flow (a lot more than a drip, more like a dribble) that lets out enough water to have water running through the holes leading to the mesh. The mesh should be wet, not just humid, with excess water running down the drain tube (for lime control). It will all dry out fairly quickly when the solenoid is turned off.
Deal Addict
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Dec 29, 2008
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Have the same issue with my 600, i sometimes see an increase but is like 2% that could be weather related.

When i first turned it on the RH didn't match between the ecobee and the hstat in basement, basement one was reporting 5% less but after running for a week they both match up now. I'm leaning towards the basement one being more accurate as the house is definitely less dry now.

I didn't see an increase at all for the first 3/4 days and now see it increase slightly but never reach 45% i had set, never went above 40%. But it definitely is working now just not efficiently from what i can tell. I'm on cold water and looking to get switched to my hot water to see if that helps. Are you on cold water?

If you have 2 stage heating make sure it's not turning off when stage 2 kicks in, from the sound of things that maybe what's happening?
Member
Apr 30, 2004
254 posts
70 upvotes
It should be a steady flow from that tube. Not much pressure, but steady about 3-4mm thick flow, no dripping like on your video.
Find what is restricting your water.
And you have to hear that water going to the drain when it works properly.
With a proper water flow you should have 40% on Ecobee in one night.
Deal Addict
Feb 11, 2018
1054 posts
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Disconnect the thingie that screw into your cold water line, take it apart and clean it. Use a sewing needle and insert it into the hole of your cold water pipe to remove deposits. Btw, you'll need to shut off the water to the house and drain the cold water from your pipe before you do that.

The second place you will need to take care of is the very short tube after the solenoid. Inside that tube there should be a piece of plastic with a tiny opening to allow water through. Use the sewing needle to clean the tiny hole in the plastic and if it doesn't work use a tiny nail to enlarge this hole.

Water is supposed to flow freely, not drip.
Always try to think outside the box!
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 13, 2008
707 posts
116 upvotes
Toronto
TomLafinsky wrote:
Dec 8th, 2018 9:12 am
Disconnect the thingie that screw into your cold water line, take it apart and clean it. Use a sewing needle and insert it into the hole of your cold water pipe to remove deposits. Btw, you'll need to shut off the water to the house and drain the cold water from your pipe before you do that.

The second place you will need to take care of is the very short tube after the solenoid. Inside that tube there should be a piece of plastic with a tiny opening to allow water through. Use the sewing needle to clean the tiny hole in the plastic and if it doesn't work use a tiny nail to enlarge this hole.

Water is supposed to flow freely, not drip.
I suppose you are talking about this? I was wondering if the hole was suppose to be this small - this is the tube from the solenoid to the water distribution tray.

Image
Deal Addict
Dec 5, 2009
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Water should be flowing not dripping. Think about it - How are those few drops of water going to raise the humidity of your entire house.
Deal Addict
Feb 11, 2018
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redwings_patriots wrote:
Dec 8th, 2018 11:31 am
I suppose you are talking about this? I was wondering if the hole was suppose to be this small - this is the tube from the solenoid to the water distribution tray.

Image
Yes, exactly! Even if you use a sewing needle you might not be able to remove all the crap. Use a tiny (finishing) nail and it's ok if you ever make the hole a TINY bit larger. And like I said, make sure to remove and clean the thingie connected to your cold water line.

Yes the hole is supposed to be this small and it works very well when it is new. But with deposits from water it will get partially clogged on the other side of the plastic piece. Much easier to use a tiny nail to slightly enlarge the hole than trying to remove the plastic piece to clean the other side.
Always try to think outside the box!
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 13, 2008
707 posts
116 upvotes
Toronto
TomLafinsky wrote:
Dec 8th, 2018 12:01 pm
Yes, exactly! Even if you use a sewing needle you might not be able to remove all the crap. Use a tiny (finishing) nail and it's ok if you ever make the hole a TINY bit larger. And like I said, make sure to remove and clean the thingie connected to your cold water line.
I checked the water going into the solenoid again, it is fine - it's free flowing. I removed the tube from the solenoid to the water distribution tray. I was able to stick a sewing needle through the yellow plastic that is at one end of the hose - it is not blocked at all. In fact, when I removed the sewing needle, the yellow part came out of the tube and I can see the needle went completely through the hole. The tube that this yellow part is attached to is free of blockage. I put it under a faucet and water was free flowing.

I actually reattached the tube to the solenoid without the yellow piece, but water still only dripped as shown in my first post. Also, it dripped for a couple of minutes, then no drip at all.

I'm positive that it's either the solenoid (which is brand new), the electrical (not keeping the solenoid completely open) or the humidistat.

I guess I'll ask my brother in-law to check the electrical first, as it is my cheapest option.

If issue is not the electrical, what should I do next? Try and exchange the solenoid? I bought it about 7 weeks ago.

Are manual humidistats any less reliable than digital ones? How likely do humidistats fail? Is this potentially my issue?
Deal Addict
Feb 11, 2018
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redwings_patriots wrote:
Dec 8th, 2018 12:12 pm
I checked the water going into the solenoid again, it is fine - it's free flowing. I removed the tube from the solenoid to the water distribution tray. I was able to stick a sewing needle through the yellow plastic that is at one end of the hose - it is not blocked at all. In fact, when I removed the sewing needle, the yellow part came out of the tube and I can see the needle went completely through the hole. The tube that this yellow part is attached to is free of blockage. I put it under a faucet and water was free flowing.

I actually reattached the tube to the solenoid without the yellow piece, but water still only dripped as shown in my first post. Also, it dripped for a couple of minutes, then no drip at all.

I'm positive that it's either the solenoid (which is brand new), the electrical (not keeping the solenoid completely open) or the humidistat.

I guess I'll ask my brother in-law to check the electrical first, as it is my cheapest option.

If issue is not the electrical, what should I do next? Try and exchange the solenoid? I bought it about 7 weeks ago.

Are manual humidistats any less reliable than digital ones? How likely do humidistats fail? Is this potentially my issue?
In that case yes you are correct. If you have a good water flow to the solenoid then it has to be the solenoid or humidistat. Always start by the cheapest solution. I don't know where you got the solenoid and if you can exchange it for another one. Humidistats are usually quite reliable, in particular the mechanical ones. But it is always possible there is something wrong with it.
Always try to think outside the box!
Member
Apr 30, 2004
254 posts
70 upvotes
Solenoid makes a loud click when it turns on.
So ask your brother to manually apply 24V AC to it from transformer and check the flow, disconnect the tube after solenoid for a test, should be the same flow like coming in.
You can disconnect a valve body from the coil , check and clean water passages.
I assume your Ecobee is controlling it? So it only turning solenoid on and off. ...
Try out an old solenoid that way again too.

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