How Does a Furnace Humidifier Work and Do You Need One?

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Low humidity can turn a simple touch into a painful lesson on static electricity. It can dry out your skin, affect your sinuses, and have you reaching for the thermostat because you feel cold.

Humidity levels can fluctuate wildly. The relative humidity in the winter is between 30 and 40 percent. Too much humidity can cause condensation on windows, but too little can make people feel uncomfortable. The best humidity level is around 50%, not just in winter, but year-round.

What is a Whole House Humidifier?

A whole house furnace humidifier adds moisture to the air, increasing your comfort by raising the humidity in your home. They’re usually installed on the return or supply ducts of your heating system. The ideal whole house humidifier for your home will depend on the type of furnace and heat delivery systems you have installed, the home’s design, and how much space within the home. Overall, you will not see an increase in your HVAC system’s energy consumption after having the unit installed.

How Does a Whole House Humidifier Work?

These units distribute moisture in one of three ways:

  • Fan powered units: As the name implies, these units rely on fans to push air through a water tray
  • Bypass units: Bypass units rely on your furnace’s blower to push air through a water tray
  • Steam units: This humidifier generates steam by boiling water 

Benefits of a Furnace Humidifier

You’ll notice a drastic increase in your comfort levels when your home is at an appropriate humidity level, as well as energy savings from not having to adjust the thermostat to stay warm.

There are several unexpected benefits, as well:

  • Decrease in respiratory issues including asthma and COPD
  • Reduction in the number of illnesses you and your family experience each year
  • Preservation of wood furniture, cabinets, and floors
  • Elimination of annoying and painful static electricity shocks
  • Reduction in dry, irritated skin
  • Increase in the amount and quality of your sleep
  • Potential increase in your home’s value

How do I Control my Humidity Levels?

Similar to an energy-efficient thermostat, whole-house humidifiers operate on a “set it and forget it” basis. These units are controlled via humidistat, a device that automatically adjusts the humidity based on your desired settings. You can manually adjust the humidity levels if necessary. If you have a smart home, you can control the humidistat via a portable device or keypad as well.

Portable vs Whole House Humidifiers

Whole house units are more efficient than portable ones in several ways. First, a portable humidifier can only treat limited areas, meaning you’ll need one in every room to achieve optimum comfort. Because you’re running multiple units, your energy bill will increase. Additionally, portable units are more high-maintenance and less user-friendly than a professionally installed whole house humidifier. One major difference is that portable units need to be refilled and descaled routinely, but a furnace humidifier can be hooked directly into the water supply and will only need to be serviced as part of an annual furnace maintenance visit.

Portable units will take a lot of space, and for optimal results, they can’t be blocked or hidden. Your whole house unit is connected to your heating and cooling system, hidden from view and taking no space in your living areas.

Talk to the Pros

Installing a whole-home humidifier is a job best left to professional HVAC technicians. They ensure you get a high-quality unit that’s compatible with your HVAC systems and is the right size to give you the most benefits. Holtzople Heating & Air Conditioning features energy-efficient, quality whole house humidifiers for any home. Contact us today for a more comfortable tomorrow.