Our HVAC setup includes a humidifier, but the control board seems to activate it only when the fan is on without heat/cool. Here's how I got to that conclusion:

  • I hooked up my multimeter to the transformer that connects to the wires going to the humidistat, on the 24V side, so I can see whether it is getting a signal
  • When I use the thermostat to switch the heat on (which includes the fan), there's no signal to the humidifier
  • When I use the thermostat to switch on only the fan, without heating or cooling, there's a signal to the humidifier and it works

I'm thinking this isn't right, but correct me if I'm wrong. Can anyone help me troubleshoot why it won't come on when the heater is on?

Other background
We moved in earlier this year and haven't used the humidifier until now. We don't know anything about who installed it, but there was a spare solenoid laying around, so it's my guess that the last owners also tried to fix it. We fixed that portion though and now it does do its job when the control board actually sends a signal.

  • 2
    Can you post photos of the wiring at your furnace, and of the furnace's wiring diagram for that matter? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 25 '20 at 3:23

I found the problem while getting the wiring diagram. I'm posting my answer in case someone else comes across a similar problem.

Why it didn't work right
The humidifier was wired into the EAC terminal. This terminal only becomes active over a certain RPM and so the humidifier was only coming on when activating the fan manually, or when the heat hits stage 2. During testing the heat didn't hit stage two, so I didn't realize this.

Where it should be connected
I solved it by wiring the humidifier through the appropriate humidifier terminals on the circuit board. They were located immediately next to the EAC, and they looked the same, but the HVAC installation instructions pointed out that (in contrast to the EAC terminals) these are "dry contacts". So it didn't work just switching over switching the single wire that was in the EAC terminal.

"Dry contacts"
I was unfamiliar with "dry contacts" and online descriptions were confusing to me. As far as I understand it now, it basically means it's not a hot/neutral pair of terminals. It helped me to simply think of it as an on/off switch operated by the circuit board, which is why I had to split one of the wires to the humidifier and insert the terminals in series.

My installation manual's wiring diagram

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Now it's working the way I want to: the humidistat gets voltage whenever the heat and the fan are on.

  • Glad you figured it out! – ThreePhaseEel Dec 26 '20 at 18:23

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