Central Humidifiers System: Do They Help or Hurt?

A whole house humidifier can relieve the dry and itchy skin associated with winter weather. These units provide the air in your house with added moisture. It can help with sinus issues that are aggravated by dry air. You and your family can find relief from chapped lips, sore throats, seasonal colds and allergies because of the moisture added into your air. These central humidifiers hook up directly to your heating and air conditioning systems, along with your plumbing. Several types of central units are available.

Central Humidifiers

Central Humidifiers System How it works?

– A steam humidification system uses less water than other types. An ecologically friendly system, this unit provides an equal amount of moisture to the air for every gallon of water used. Most are approved for use in homes up to 3000 square feet. It works on a ‘moisture on demand’ system, allowing your home to always be at its optimal moisture level.

– The fan powered whole house humidifier is also for homes up to 3000 square feet. This style of humidification system can provide a high moisture output, which is great for extremely dry homes. A humidifier pad needs to be used with this unit. These pads are readily available and simple to replace.

– The bypass whole house humidifier lets you control humidity levels from season to season. Maintenance is similar to that of the fan powered.

– The drum humidification system is installed quickly and maintenance takes very little time. There is no drain required with this style.

With the several different options for a whole house humidifier, you will want to consider the needs of your home and research each humidification system thoroughly prior to making the decision of which to purchase. There are many online retailers that offer comparison charts and frequently asked question sections on their websites. These are always great resources when making a decision in home improvement. Many people find that it helps them to have all of the information laid out in front of them while researching their options. This way everything is right there to refer to and make comparisons with.

When pricing you will want to make sure that you are looking at similar models. If you are looking at a drum system with one retailer and a steam system with another, then you are comparing apples to grapefruits. Meaning of course that you cannot compare the two pricewise, because they both offer different features. Decide first which type of system is right for your home and then start price hunting while comparing the same type of system.

Always know the manufacturer’s guarantee and the retailers return policy before making your purchase. If you have a concern or question, contact the retailer via email or phone to discuss the issue. Be sure that you know whether or not the cost includes installation. Many online retailers have partnerships with installation companies. If installation is not included, find out a cost from your local installer before deciding if you are getting a good price on the whole house humidifier itself. If you want to maintain comfortable winter humidity levels (+-40 percent RH), here’s a more “holistic” approach:

Reduce your homes air-leaks. Cutting the homes air-infiltration rate reduces the amount of moisture that gets lost to the outside. Reducing air-leaks also reduces drafts and saves energy.

CAVEAT: In our opinion, there’s no such thing as an “overtight” home. That said, if you don’t have adequate ventilation, excess moisture can be a problem in tight homes. Additionally, overtightening the home in a manner that seals-off a furnace’ or water-heaters source of combustion air increase the risk of back-drafting the chimney and introducing carbon monoxide into the home.

Consider an energy-recovery ventilator (ERV). ERVs like their close-cousin, the heat-recovery ventilator (HRV), are ‘balanced’ ventilation systems. Conventional exhaust-only ventilators (i.e. standard bathroom fan) get their make-up air by pulling it through the cracks and leaks in the home. Not a very well-controlled method, and certainly not the best for indoor air quality.

Balanced ventilators, like ERVs and HRVs, bring fresh air into the home by way of dedicated ducts. As an added bonus, HRVs ‘recover’ a portion of the heat that normally gets exhausted and returns it back inside the home, a nice energy-efficiency feature.

ERVs have an added-added bonus. They recover heat AND humidity and help keep clean, fresh-air circulating through the home without drying-it out in winter. Controls prevent the unit from causing excessive humidity-levels that can lead to condensation build-up on windows, or more serious moisture problems.

Balanced ventilators, like ERVs and HRVs, also help minimize the risk of chimney back-drafting. Some models have built-in HEPA filters for even better indoor air quality.

You’ll have to spend more money in the short-term, but the benefits of this two-pronged approach are multi-fold — cleaner air, a safer home, lower energy bills, and greater comfort. And believe us, the gooey, sticky stuff that’s sticking to the bottom of your best humidifier is nasty.

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