Too much humidity can cause mold and other problems. But too little humidity causes issues as well. Dryness is something you can avoid with a humidifier. Smaller ones are inexpensive but may not meet all the needs of your home. A whole-house humidifier provides moisture to every room. We’ll now provide some insights to help decide if one is right for you.
How Does a Whole House Humidifier Work?
Instead of providing moisture for just one room, a whole house system humidifies your entire home. A room humidifier may have just a one-gallon tank to draw moisture from. Whole home humidifiers are available as stand-alone devices, or pedestal style humidifiers, suited for up to 2,500 square foot homes, and HVAC inline systems. These are connected to ductwork near the furnace or air handler. Newer systems include fans that circulate moisture into ducts and activate automatically when the heat is turned on (a humidistat provides control).
Knowing the benefits can help you determine whether to buy a whole-house humidifier. The general advantages of installing such a system include:
- Humidity Control Is Automated: Air is naturally drier when you turn on the heat. You can set the humidistat to, for example, 40%. If your home’s envelope is properly sealed and insulated, indoor humidity will then always be at a comfortable level.
- Whole House Humidifiers Require Little Maintenance: If your humidifier is installed in line with your HVAC system, it typically doesn’t need much maintenance. The filter, or evaporator panel, will need to be changed once a year, while it also helps to wipe away any mineral scale. Swapping the filter takes just a couple of minutes. By contrast, portable whole-home systems must be cleaned out every two weeks and the basin will constantly need to be refilled with water.
- Systems Are Easy to Install: For a pedestal unit, installation simply requires placing it in a centralized area, filling the basin, and plugging in the device. Set the desired humidity level and it’s ready to go. Central humidifiers require a professional to install because they’re connected to a water line, your home electrical system, and ductwork.
- Improved Indoor Air Quality: In low humidity conditions, you may experience dry skin and exacerbated allergies. Damage to wood is possible, including furniture, structural components, and floors. The ideal indoor humidity level is 30% to 50%, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some research has suggested low humidity may make it easier for the flu virus to spread.
Is a Whole House Humidifier Always the Right Solution?
A humidifier isn’t always the best option for increasing humidity. If you’ve had mold problems, adding moisture to the air can make mold more conducive to growing, whether in visible areas or inside walls, ceilings, and other places you can’t see it. And, while sealing sources of air leakage can improve HVAC efficiency, it can prevent air infiltration from outside, which helps maintain comfortable indoor humidity levels.
If installing a whole-house humidifier is the best option, you can avoid mold and other air quality issues. Running the humidifier when the ducts are cold increases the mold risk; so only run the humidifier when the furnace is on. A steam humidifier more efficiently introduces moisture by boiling water; on the other hand, bypass humidifiers use hot air from the supply duct to generate water vapor (but increasing air temperature can cause overheating).
The type of humidifier you choose depends on the needs of your home.
Contact Sky Heating & Air Conditioning
We specialize in various indoor air quality services, including whole-house humidifier installation. If you have dry air in your home, our team can recommend the best options and install a system professionally, ensuring you get the most out of your investment. Call 503-673-9083 to schedule your in-home consultation.