A whole-house humidifier works with your HVAC system to deliver moisture throughout your home. With the exception of steam, they all operate off of the same basic principles. When your humidifier is turned on, water accumulates inside of an internal tray or evaporator pad. Air is then passed over these trays to gather moisture. It is then pushed into your home’s ductwork for distribution. A discussion of the benefits of central humidifiers and a quick breakdown of some major types follows.
Why You Need a Whole-House Humidifier
Installing a whole-house or furnace-mounted unit has the following benefits:
- Healthier Skin: If you suffer from dermatitis or acne, you know annoying dry skin can be. In homes with dry, cold air, these conditions worsen. The moisture a home humidifier puts in the air helps your skin maintain moisture and keep its elasticity. Over time, this leads to fewer wrinkles and more supple skin.
- Easier Flu Seasons: Your respiratory system needs to stay moist to keep you breathing happy and pain-free. Dry air saps moisture from your inner membranes and causes them to become irritated. This leads to scratchy, sore throats and an unhealthy respiratory system. When this happens, viruses have an easier time getting in and wreaking havoc. Dry air also allows for the easier spread of disease and exacerbates already irritating symptoms. Adding a humidifier in Philadelphia can help with these issues.
- Better Sleep: Nothing makes it harder to sleep than a snorer. Overly dry air increases the likelihood of snores and can lead to insomnia for the person stuck listening to it. Even if you don’t end up keeping half the neighborhood up with your snoring, you may end up with a serial cough. In other words, if you want good quality sleep, you need a whole house humidifier.
- Less Severe Allergy Symptoms: An allergy is what happens when your body overreacts to a foreign substance. This causes your mucous membranes (which are a key part of the respiratory system) flare up and swell. Your eyes also begin to water and your nose begins to run. In homes with dry air, these symptoms become even worse.
- Furniture Protection: Want to keep grandma’s armoire around a little longer? Hoping to keep those original hardwood floors in one piece? Consider installing a whole-home humidifier. Overly dry air not only sucks water from your body but also porous materials such as wood. With less moisture to keep them viable, things like doors, window frames, tables, and floors can begin to crack.
Types of Whole House Humidifiers
Bypass humidifiers are the least expensive and most popular of the central humidifiers. They work by taking warm air from your ducts and passing it over a water tray. This allows the air to collect moisture before it circulates back through your home. This system can be installed on the supply or return side of your unit. Unlike options lower on this list, this one does not require a separate power source but relies on your furnace’s blower motor to operate.
- Least Expensive of the whole-home humidifiers
- Small enough to fit on basement and closet units
- Quieter than a fan-powered unit
- Struggle to humidify larger homes
- Waste a lot of water
- Can't run when your furnace is off
Power humidifiers— also referred to as fan humidifiers—use an internal fan to pull air across their internal water panels. This allows them to operate independently of a call for heat. They produce humidity more effectively than a bypass unit—typically around a gallon more a day. The sound of the fan, however, can be loud and their internal fan means they can’t fit easily in tight spaces.
Need to humidify a 4000-square foot house in Philadelphia? Steam humidifiers use electricity to boil water and release it in the form of steam. The ventilation system then picks up these heated vapors and distributes them throughout your home. Faster and more efficient than the other two types, they’re the best way to keep your home at an ideal humidity level.
- Can work independently of your furnace
- Puts out more humidity than a bypass humidifier
- Can humidify larger homes
- Can flush away its own mineral build-up
- They're big and bulky
- More expensive than a bypass humidifier
Need to humidify a 4000-square foot house in Philadelphia? Steam humidifiers use electricity to boil water and release it in the form of steam. Your ventilation system then picks up these heated vapors and distributes them throughout your home. Faster and more efficient than the other two types, they’re the best way to keep your home at an ideal humidity level. They can run with or without the aid of your HVAC systems.
- Much higher capacity than other options
- Can tell the blower when to turn on and off
- Can be mounted on a wall instead of directly on the furnace
- The most expensive of the central humidifiers
- Needs a separate circuit in the breaker panel
Frequently Asked Humidifier Questions
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Whole House Humidifier in the Philadelphia Area?
You can expect to spend between $300 and $1100 on the unit itself. The cost of installation will vary depending on your home’s set-up and the type of humidifier selected. If you’re extremely price-conscious, bypass humidifiers are typically less expensive than the other types.
What Maintenance Does a Whole House Humidifier Require?
Systems with water panels must have the panel swapped out twice a year. For more information on when to switch them, refer to the manufacturer’s information that came with the unit.
Can I Install My Own Whole House Humidifier?
We advise against trying to DIY your humidifier installation. Putting one in not only requires you to cut into your ductwork but also to hook up both a water and electrical line (in most cases). Because getting it wrong can permanently damage your HVAC systems, humidifier installation is something best left to the professionals.
Call for Whole House Humidifier Service
Keeping proper levels of moisture in your home makes it easier to live comfortably. At Trustco Heating & Air, we care about your indoor air quality and want to take steps to help promote your family’s health. Call us at 215-281-9376 today for more information on how a whole house humidifier can help make your home a healthier, happier place.