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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    88

    Keeping Honeywell TrueSteam alive

    It is possible to keep one of these units operating for quite some time, but it requires scrupulous cleaning at approximately two to three-week intervals. I shut the unit down on the morning of the day I will do the maintenance (Sundays work well for this), and let it cool down completely (especially if it has been running at the time you turn it off).

    I then take off the tank and soak it and the removable plastic screen at the bottom in vinegar (but I've also had good results with Nu-Calgon Nickel-Safe Ice Machine Cleaner - it's like CLR on steroids, and eats through calcium/lime scale from hard water like gangbusters).

    I also take out the water-level sensor assembly and soak the metal tips at the ends in the same solutions. Check the ends for fine cracks in the plastic sheathing while you've got them out. If there are any, the assembly should be replaced. After this is done, I rinse them and the tank/screen in cold water. You should also rinse out the drain at the bottom of the tank, opening the lock-valve to let water flow right through it.

    Finally, I get a Pyrex measuring cup from the kitchen, fill it with ice machine cleaner, and hold it up so the heating element is completely immersed in it. After a short while, the scale will be dissolved, and the element should have its normal silvery color back. Wipe the extra solution off the element. Finally, put some solution in a container large enough to dip the bottoms of the sensor wells, and let the solution dissolve the scale in them (it will drain out through the bottom holes, where you can wipe it off so cleaner doesn't drip on the floor). Allow the sensors to dry thoroughly before you re-install them, or they'll give faults when you restart the unit.

    Put the whole thing back together, plug in the 120Vac again, set the humidistat for a humidity call, push the Go button, and the unit should fill and start working. As a final check, feel the front of the tank in a few minutes to make sure the element is warming up. You should be all right from this point on. Do this again in another three weeks, and you should be able to keep this unit operating for a long time.

    Our city has very hard water, so I have come up with this regimen for my TrueSteam, and I've had it for four years so far. My first one needed to be replaced on warranty after a year due to the element not heating, but this second one is still working fine.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    6,959
    Do you have the reverse osmosis filter kit installed?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Richland Hills, Texas
    Posts
    14,914
    When you pull the water level sensor assembly out to clean, also be sure you clean all of the crud out of the well it fits into, it really builds up quite thick in there, and blocks the water ports.
    If it hasn't already been done, you need to set the flush cycle interval to the shortest time available, which is every 8 hours of operation.

    If your water is that hard, and shortening the flush interval doesn't solve your problem, you need a reverse osmosis filter for it, as Senior Tech pointed out, and as recommended by Honeywell.
    At the very least you should have polyphosphate filter in the water line to the unit.

    A water softener will do next nothing for it, because they don't reduce the mineral content of the water. Swapping ions around won't do much of anything to keep scale from building up in something that boils water.
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    43
    I almost put a Trusteam in my house last week. I figured I would maintain it properly and be happy. I chickened out and put in a TrueEase fan powered unit instead when my local supplier said practically all the Trusteam units get replaced, even at the tech's houses. I am happy to hear that they do work if really maintained well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    88
    Yes, I clean the sensor wells out, and l have the flush interval set to eight hours. I was offered the RO system, but declined it because there is no place to install it in my mechanical area. I just keep doing the maintenance, and have had pretty good luck with it.

    What it boils down to (pun intended) is that you have to be willing to do the maintenance, and you should be able to keep it going.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Northwest Illinois
    Posts
    275
    Quote Originally Posted by ddee View Post
    It is possible to keep one of these units operating for quite some time, but it requires scrupulous cleaning at approximately two to three-week intervals. I shut the unit down on the morning of the day I will do the maintenance (Sundays work well for this), and let it cool down completely (especially if it has been running at the time you turn it off).

    I then take off the tank and soak it and the removable plastic screen at the bottom in vinegar (but I've also had good results with Nu-Calgon Nickel-Safe Ice Machine Cleaner - it's like CLR on steroids, and eats through calcium/lime scale from hard water like gangbusters).

    I also take out the water-level sensor assembly and soak the metal tips at the ends in the same solutions. Check the ends for fine cracks in the plastic sheathing while you've got them out. If there are any, the assembly should be replaced. After this is done, I rinse them and the tank/screen in cold water. You should also rinse out the drain at the bottom of the tank, opening the lock-valve to let water flow right through it.

    Finally, I get a Pyrex measuring cup from the kitchen, fill it with ice machine cleaner, and hold it up so the heating element is completely immersed in it. After a short while, the scale will be dissolved, and the element should have its normal silvery color back. Wipe the extra solution off the element. Finally, put some solution in a container large enough to dip the bottoms of the sensor wells, and let the solution dissolve the scale in them (it will drain out through the bottom holes, where you can wipe it off so cleaner doesn't drip on the floor). Allow the sensors to dry thoroughly before you re-install them, or they'll give faults when you restart the unit.

    Put the whole thing back together, plug in the 120Vac again, set the humidistat for a humidity call, push the Go button, and the unit should fill and start working. As a final check, feel the front of the tank in a few minutes to make sure the element is warming up. You should be all right from this point on. Do this again in another three weeks, and you should be able to keep this unit operating for a long time.

    Our city has very hard water, so I have come up with this regimen for my TrueSteam, and I've had it for four years so far. My first one needed to be replaced on warranty after a year due to the element not heating, but this second one is still working fine.
    That's a lot of work for humidity! My hats off to you sir!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    butler pa
    Posts
    1,073
    ill just simply change the pad in my aprilaire bypass every yr or so...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,614
    truesteams are junk imop although they are good for service calls
    We really need change now

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    167
    I was having issues with them until Honeywell changed the plastic on the water level sensors a few years back. They had been developing cracks because of the heat and it takes time to check them. Honeywell has been real good about sending me the new sensors for free. I've replaced maybe four of the old ones out without any follow-up issues over the last winter or two.

    I've tried the Aprilaire 800. Not sure yet which I prefer. The fan over-ride (humidity without call for heat) on these devices is a huge benefit over the conventional pad-type humidifiers I think.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    20
    We have been installing the general aire steam humidifier and no problems at all so far. Simple to maintain as well, just change the tank every 2 years or so. And no issue with hard water, as it actually uses the minerals etc in the water to conduct heat and provide the steam.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    I don't know
    Posts
    2,903
    ...sounds like those steam units are just like electronic air cleaners - good on paper, completely useless in the field.

    ...not to mention, using electricity to boil water whenever there's a call for heat is dumb.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    167
    @amd
    The steam humidifiers should be wired to control humidity independent of a call for heat. Both true steam and aprilaires use this application. I think they are far better at introducing humidity than by-pass and power vent though I'm not sure the maintenance justifies the cost

  13. #13
    If you want to humidify any home with ease then the Steam models are the way to go. My home is on a crawl so a bypass humidifier is not possible. I've had a True Steam for 3.5 years now with only minor problems. Just like any other product I own, you have to keep it clean(Maintain) it and it gives you trouble free operation.

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