Honeywell whole house humidifier issue (kinda long)

Late in 2006, I had a new furnace, A/C, Honeywell whole house humidifier, plus electronic air cleaner installed in my home. Once the cold weather hit in the fall, the heater did not come on. The solenoid to the humidifier was replaced to fix the problem. Fast foward to Dec 06, the humidifier is not working. The solenoid is replaced again. All is well until I turn on the heat for the first time last October. The humidifier is not working. I call out the company that installed the system. This time the saddle valve that feeds the humidifier from the hot water side of my water heater is clogged. The tech opens and closes the valve a few times and water starts flowing. I drained the sediment out of the bottom of my water heater and changed the humidifier filter a short time later.
The humidifier stopped again a little over a week ago. This time I made sure that water was going to the humidifier. There is hot water in the bottom of the rubber tube that goes between the solenoid and the filter housing. The water is not making its way to the filter housing. I blew air and water through the tube. I cleaned out the connection on top of the housing. It still would not work. I made an appointment for the tech to come out again. The guy who sold me my system called me yesterday wanting to troubleshoot over the phone. We did pretty much the same thing as did before I called and water started flowing through the filter again. At that point, I thanked the guy and cancelled the appointment.
A few hours after it was fixed, the water stopped flowing through the filter again. There is hot water in the bottom of the rubber tube where it attaches to the solenoid, but it is not making its way up to the filter. The guy told me that if this happens again, to call a plumber and have him install a T-joint in the water supply since he is sure that it's sediment in the saddle valve that is causing the problem.
Correct me if I am wrong, but if the saddle valve was clogged, would there not be any water making its way to the humidifier? The problem is that the water is not being pushed up to the filter. Is that the solenoid's function.
Any ideas? I don't want to waste money having a T-joint installed if that is not the problem.
BTW, the humidifier is a Honeywell 265A.
Thanks!
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The solenoid is simply a water valve that is operated by an electrical signal. When the humidity drops, the solenoid opens and allows water to flow to the business end of the humidifier. If the solenoid opens and you are getting little or no water flow, the water line is plugged somewhere, but perhaps not totally blocked, but blocked enough that have little or no water pressure at the humidifier.
It first concerns me that the humidifier is tapped into the hot water line. That opens you up to the problems with scale in the hot water heater. I think it also would promote the growth of bacteria.
Next, if you keep getting plugged up, I am far more concerned about all this gunk getting into your food, drinking water, and into your body. This goes double if you have lead solder or lead pipes in the system. I think you want to consider getting some water filters installed, and use an R/O system in the kitchen for any water that goes into your food.
Finally, I think you do need to get a real water tap rather than a saddle valve. Tap it off of the cold water. Then clean out and back-flush the humidifier and any lines that go to the humidifier. Finish it off by putting a sentiment filter in the the line going to the humidifier.
You may also want to get your water tested. The gunk is in your system for a reason. That reason might be that you have hard or acidic water. You may need a softener or a neutralizer. If you do have acidic water, it may be that it is eating the pipes from the inside. If it is hard water, you may have pipes that are getting build-up and impacting your water pressure. All of these things are bad for you plumbing system, and for your body. Get it checked out before it causes any further health problems.
-john-
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John A. Weeks III 612-720-2854 snipped-for-privacy@johnweeks.com
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John A. Weeks III wrote:

My water is hard. No doubt about it.
Honeywell recommends using the hot water side, but you can use cold water. My GF has had a Honeywell humidifier for over 7 years without any clogging. Her saddle valve is hooked up to the cold water side of her water heater avoiding the tank sediment.
I loosened the compression nut that connects the copper tubing to the solenoid. Water just dribbled out out of the copper tube with the saddle valve fully open. I also found an inline mesh filter inside the solenoid that I cleaned out. The water started flowing again, but it stopped like before. I loosened the compression nut again with only a dribble of water coming out.
I'm strictly an amateur, but I am guessing that there should be a free flow of water coming out of the copper tube with the saddle valve fully opened. Am I correct?
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All I can add to this Dan is that I had a Honeywell installed 2 years ago and have been sorry ever since. Lou
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Yes, water should flow like crazy out of the copper tube when the saddle valve is open.
-john-
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John A. Weeks III 612-720-2854 snipped-for-privacy@johnweeks.com
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If you are getting that much sediment in the hot water, its likely the water heater needs to be flushed. Do you know how? If not, here is the short version: Connect a garden hose to the valve at the bottom of the water heater. Lead the other end of the hose outside or to a drain. Open the valve for a few minutes and let the water run full bore. Close valve, remove hose.

Yes.
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Rich Greenberg N Ft Myers, FL, USA richgr atsign panix.com + 1 239 543 1353
Eastern time. N6LRT I speak for myself & my dogs only. VM\'er since CP-67
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Yep, that's what I'd think. Self piercing saddle valves sometimes clog very easily. It's a good idea to do the puncture on the side or top of the water line, and it's also wise to shut off the water to the house, and drill the pipe rather than using the self puncturing water valve. 1/8 inch or so drill hole is about right.
Sure sounds like problems with that self piercing saddle valve.
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Christopher A. Young
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"Dan " < snipped-for-privacy@notvalid.org> wrote in message
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On Tue 01 Jan 2008 12:42:40p, John A. Weeks III told us...

It seems pretty common in the Eastern US to run the humidifier from the hot water heater. I've also not had trouble with saddle valves, not that they can't be a problem.
FWIW, I would have bought an Aprilaire.
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Wayne Boatwright

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Good grief. They guy has a humidifier problem and you're telling him he's headed for health problems from hard water? There is no connection between hard water and any health problems. Hard water is simply excess minerals, many of which are necessary and beneficial to the human body. If it's too hard, you may not be able to lather soap, it may put stains in your toilet, but it's not going to harm you.
As far as connecting the humidifier to the hot water supply being bad, that's where my Aprilaire has been for 10 years and it's working perfectly. Like Honeywell, Aprilaire specifically says it's OK. It increases the output capacity.
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On Wed, 2 Jan 2008 05:15:48 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Trader........do you believe everything you read? Oh, that's right, you are an EE. Here, lets give you an experiment to do. With your furnace and humidifier running and connected to the hot water side, measure the temperature of the air exiting the humidifier (being sure you are not seeing any plenum temperature from your heating unit). Now switch the unit to cold water and do the same experiment. I could save you some time if you like and tell you how much temperature difference you will see. Would you believe less than 1 degree? Now, tell me how you are going to see higher output with your water line on the hot water side. Bubba
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How water evaporates faster than cold water. That's just very basic science. And why humidifier manufacturers recommend connecting to hot water for higher output.
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Dan wrote:

Thanks to all who replied. I had a plumber install a shut off valve earlier this morning to replace the saddle valve. Water is flowing freely now. I wish the HVAC installers had done that to begin with.
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