Whole House Humidifier Pros and Cons – BY HVAC Expert

As the weather gets colder, air becomes drier and unsafe to your health and property. You’ll need a humidifier to restore a comfortable moisture level in your home. Whole house humidifier is an advanced way of increasing household humidity in large areas and it has its pros and cons that we shall look at.

Although most households will opt for small inexpensive portable humidifiers which only supply moisture in a small area like a single room, there is a disadvantage of failing to meet humidity requirements for a large family or home more than 2500 square feet.

Whole house humidifier attaches to home’s HVAC system and provide a constant flow of moisture to every room in the house. This not only give all family member a chance to enjoy cool humid air but also protect wooden furniture, floors and fixtures in your home against warping due to drier air.

Installation of whole house humidifiers isn’t usually a DIY job. They are installed on your ductwork, right next to your furnace or indoor air handler. This can be somewhere before or after the furnace filter. This is why you need a HVAC expert to do the installation.

Whole House Humidifier Pros and Cons

If you are considering having a whole house humidifier installed in your home, then you need to be aware of its benefits and concerns. As an HVAC expert, I have done a number of inspections on many humidifiers in the region and below is what I have for you.

Whole House Humidifier Pros

By installing a whole house HVAC humidifier, you enjoy the following benefits:

1. Automatic humidity control

Whole house humidifiers automatically controls indoor humidity levels within a comfortable range. When it gets cold outside and the heat furnace is turned on, your central humidifier will also start to pump out moisture to the set level of relative humidity usually 35%-45%.

Studies by Stanford – US based teaching and research university, have shown that indoor humidity above 50% may encourage growth of biological organisms in the home which include mold and bacteria. This is something not to worry about when using a central humidifier.

The model is equipped with a humidity Sensor (humidistat) which measures the relative humidity inside the chamber. When the set point of humidity level is reached, the controller will turn off the pump. This will create automatic on and off pump cycle which will maintain humidity within the recommended safe range.

2. High quality indoor air

There are more health benefits you obtain from a properly humidified indoor air. According to Mayo Clinic, adequate moisture level in range of 35%-45% reduces allergies and respiratory conditions. You will no longer be dealing with issues like dry skin, chapped lips, sore throats and other sinus irritations.

Another research by Yale has also pointed that flu is more prevalent when the air is dry. This is the reason why cases spike in the cold months of winter. Therefore a whole house humidifier can help in combating outbreak of flu and other viral infection of respiratory passages.

Just the way low amount of moisture in air is harmful to your health, it is also a concern when in excess. Without humidistat controls, a portable humidifier may lead to high levels of humidity in a room which puts your health at risk. You may experience burnouts, difficult breathing and lethargy.

3. Property preservation

Both dry air and excess moisture in the air are not friendly to your property. Dry air draws moisture from wood in uneven manner which causes it to warp. This is why in winter when there is little moisture in the air, your wooden furniture, floors and fixtures will start cracking. This is something you won’t witness when you have a whole house humidifier.

Most portable humidifiers does not have humidity auto-control features. If left running, they will supply excess moisture in the room. This can cause a great damage to the walls, floors, ceiling and furniture. There is also a potential for growth of mold and mildew. Check why 70% humidity in the house is bad.

4. Low Maintenance needs

HVAC inline whole humidifiers have almost no maintenance requirements except for ducted humidifiers that need yearly change of evaporator panel filter and a clean up to remove mineral deposits in the system.

Further, central humidifiers are directly linked to a plumbing line and there is no water refill required. Whole house humidifiers are therefore give peace of mind to enjoy your indoor climate without worries

Portable home humidifiers on the other hand require regular maintenance that include biweekly cleaning and addition of anti-microbial agent to its tank. Due to their relatively small tanks, you will also have to keep topping up water depending on how you use it.

5. Esthetically presentable

Whole house humidifiers are usually installed in home’s HVAC system which makes it impossible to notice them visually. Further, they operate quietly, something that makes you enjoy your indoors without noise disturbances usually witnessed with most portable humidifiers.

6. Home value addition

Due to the many benefits a whole house humidifier comes with, you get increased value of your home when you install it. Homes with centrally installed and controlled humidifiers attracts high market value as compared to those without or rather ones with portable units.

Whole House Humidifier Cons

Central HVAC humidifier sounds like what everyone wants in their homes. Before you fully make your decision, get to know what’s on the other side of the coin. The following are disadvantages of a whole house humidifier:

1. High purchase and installation costs

The cost of purchasing and installing a whole house humidifier is quite higher as compared to portable models. Typically the cost ranges from $300 to $1,500, depending on quality and type of the humidifier you settle for. High costs are also attributed to professional installation by a HVAC expert.

Portable home humidifiers are generally less expensive to acquire since they don’t have to be attached to the HVAC system. After purchase, you will simply assemble it, fill the basin with water, and plug it in to start enjoying the humid air.

2. Mold and mildew in HVAC system

A whole house humidifiers has been linked to the growth of mold and mildew in the HVAC systems. They produce a significant amount of moisture that combines with dust in the system to attract growth of mold and mildew. Mold can cause severe respiratory allergies when inhaled.

This means that you should clean your HVAC system on regular basis and replace clogged air filters promptly. We can’t define how often to service your HVAC system but you should be keep an eye on everything and always get prepared to deal with growth of mold and mildew in the system.

Final Thought

We have seen that, a whole house humidifier has many benefits that by far outweighs the drawbacks. It is therefore appropriate to install this kind of humidifier in your home if you can afford. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the use, maintenance, and replacement of any materials supplied with the humidifier.