Everything You Need to Know about a Whole House Humidifier

Published by 
AllThingsHVAC
Last updated: 
November 15, 2015

When it comes to maintaining the perfect indoor comfort, we usually only think about heating and cooling units. Having a furnace in the winter is as essential as having air conditioning in the summer. But there’s something else we need all year round to tick all the important aspects of a healthy indoor environment: a whole house humidifier. Adding moisture to the air that you and your family breathe is as essential as keeping warm in the winter months. Most of the time, humidity is associated with hot days and all the discomfort that arises from that. But whole house humidifiers offer sundry benefits within a home. Dry air can make you wake up with a scratchy throat, dry mouth, itchy eyes and dry patches on your skin. You won’t even know all the benefits of a whole house steam humidifier until you’ve tried one yourself.

Whole House Humidifier

Low humidity issues

If you’re using a humidifier, your whole house and family members will benefit from it. These are only some of the problems that an insufficiently humid indoor environment will cause to your house and your health:

  • Dry air and low humidity will enable viruses and bacteria to thrive and cause colds. If you have elder family members with a weak immune system, or if you have children, they are even more exposed to developing irritations. Recent studies showed that low humidity leaves people more prone to infection. Those who suffer from asthma or allergies and don’t use whole house humidifiers will find their conditions get worse with each winter.
  • Low humidity is not only damaging for your eyes and throat. It will also cause your walls or hardwood floors to crack. Electronic gadgets are not spared the damage either. Static electric charges can your electronics to break down, making you bear the costs.
  • Dry air can make your energy bills spike. Low levels of humidity will actually make the air feel colder, making people more inclined to turn up the heat.

Whole House Humidifier

Dry air health problems

Whole house humidifier reviews sing its praises and emphasize how much it can help on health related issues. Most of us are in the dark about the disadvantages and the problems low humidity can create.

  • Bloody noses – on of the most common causes for bloody noses is dry air, with most of them occurring during the winter, in dry climates. Heated air doesn’t help either. It dries out the air even more, which, in turn, dries out the nasal membranes. This leaves us more vulnerable to bleeding and infections. Adding moisture into the room where your children sleep could prevent bloody noses and make it more difficult for viruses to create irritations.
  • Itchy eyes – another common symptom during winter months, dry eyes are a nuisance and can affect anyone. Heating our houses makes the dry air compensate for the low humidity by absorbing moisture from everywhere. When this happens, you can wake up with red, puffy eyelids and even blurry vision. Luckily, a whole house humidifier installation can fix the issue and prevent painful, itchy eyes.
  • Dry mouth – it’s not unusual to get thirsty during the night, but if you feel your mouth is uncommonly dry, this could indicate a low humidity level in the room where you are sleeping. A dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, it also leaves you more vulnerable to viruses and infections, making you more susceptible to catching colds.
  • Sore throat – waking up with a sore throat and raspy voice might make you believe you are catching a cold, but it might actually indicate there is not enough humidity in your house. This is not only unpleasant, it can also lead to other conditions and enable viruses and colds to settle in easier. Preventing a chronic dry throat only requires a whole-house humidifier that will keep humidity levels under control at all times.
  • Dried out skin – low humidity can promote fine lines, wrinkles and make you wake up with chapped lips. Taking care of your skin and sticking to a rigorous skin care routine will be sabotaged by the dry air in the room you sleep in. Installing a whole home humidifier will help your face look plumper in the morning and prevent fine lines prematurely become wrinkles.

Whole House Humidifier

Whole home humidifier or portable humidifier?

There are various whole house humidifier types out there to choose from. Portable models are smaller, easier to install and stand for a cheaper alternative. With the ideal humidity levels standing over 30 percent, anything below this level will trigger irritations, cause itchy skin and eyes and create a pleasant environment for viruses and bacteria. The Honeywell whole house humidifier is among the most popular models. This keeps the ideal humidity level between 30 and 50 percent. Whole home humidifier reviews seem to favor them over portable designs.

Whole house humidifier pros:

  • Don’t require maintenance;
  • The initial setup is enough to control the humidity levels in the entire house;
  • No need for refills, since it uses water directly from the plumbing system;
  • Noise levels are kept to a minimum;
  • Cost less than portable humidifiers.

Whole house humidifier cons:

  • They need to be installed by someone with experience;
  • Are prone to gather mineral deposits;
  • Must be cleaned with vinegar when the heating season ends.

As a comparison, portable humidifiers must be plugged in and require their own water supply. Small portable systems can humidify a maximum of two rooms.

Portable humidifier pros:

  • Highly convenient due to portability;
  • Very convenient, since it can be moved from room to room;
  • Ideal for renters who can’t make major changes to a place they don’t own;
  • Easy to install and control.

Portable humidifier cons:

  • More expensive than the best whole house humidifier;
  • They are heavy and might be difficult to move, despite the wheels;
  • As noisy as an air conditioning;
  • Constant refilling of the reservoir;
  • The water tank could help bacteria develop, and the humidifier would in turn spray germs within your house.

Opting for a whole-home humidifier

With a one-time installation and set-up, you’ll forget all about your whole house humidifier once it’s attached to your central heating. Unlike its portable countertype, whole-house humidifiers will keep the optimum humidity levels throughout the entire house, not only in one or two rooms. Adjusting the humidity settings can be a hassle, without a whole house unit system. This will make sure there’s not too much humidity in the air and automatically adjust the humidity levels to strike the perfect balance of moisture in the whole house. There are various types of whole house humidifiers to choose from. According to consumer ratings, the best whole home humidifiers are made by Aprilaire. What sets them apart is their innovative feature which allows users to choose between an evaporative or steam humidifier. The water vapors of the Aprilaire whole house humidifier protects the lungs and adjusts the humidification levels to suit the indoor environment.

Other benefits of a whole house humidifier

Most humidifiers nowadays come with a humidistat. This is a user friendly tool which will enable you to control the humidity levels in your entire house from a single control panel. It monitors the humidity in the air and shuts down the system when the desired humidity level is reached. Since too much humidity can produce condensation on walls and windows and can even help mold and bacteria develop in your house, a humidistat is highly important. Not only will it keep an eye on the humidity levels, it will also enable you to program and preset your favorite settings. Whole house humidifiers are great for your health and comfort, keeping dry eyes and cracked skin at bay. What is more, humidified air will help you be more energy efficient. While it won’t make you feel warmer, it will encourage you to turn down the temperature on your thermostat and save up as much as 4% on your heating bill.

What to look for in a humidifier

There is a difference between a unit that can cover 4,000 square feet and one that will only handle 2,000 square fit. Keep this in mind when you go shopping for a whole house humidifier and choose the one that will perfectly suit your needs. Likewise, mind the evaporation rate and choose the system with a higher number. This will ensure the air is moisturized quicker and more efficiently. Incorporated automatic humidistats are a plus. Look for a whole house humidifier that will monitor the humidity levels in your house and adjust them automatically. Remember to take into account the installation process. If you want to install the unit yourself, make sure you don’t need a technician to help out with the process. Inquire about the unit’s warranty and maintenance requirements beforehand. You should know what is expected of your in terms of care and replacing any faulty parts.

You don’t need the latest heating or cooling system in your home in order to install a whole house humidifier. This system can easily be attached to any existing heat unit and once it’s in place you can forget about refills, moving it around and dealing with bacteria. Just reap the benefits of a silent system that will keep infections and viruses at bay.

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