Are you considering a whole-home humidifier? That’s a very smart move if you’re interested in: A) improving your family’s health and comfort B) saving money on heating C) protecting your home and furnishing or D) all of the above. To learn how whole-house dehumidification works and how it can help you, check out this whole-home humidifier buying guide.
Why Do You Need A Whole-Home Humidifier?
You need a whole-home humidifier when the relative humidity drops too low inside your house. As a measure of moisture in the air relative to the current temperature, relative humidity should ideally be between 30 and 55 percent. However, while today’s forced air furnaces do a great job of heating, they lower our relative humidity indoors. That’s why homes in Vaughan and the rest of the GTA tend to develop very dry air in winter.
How To Check Your Home’s Humidity Levels
To check the indoor humidity level in your home, use a smartphone app or buy a hygrometer — an inexpensive gadget that gives a very accurate measurement of your home’s relative humidity.
Take several readings in a frequently used area, such as the living room. (Avoid measuring humidity in the kitchen or bathroom, which are normally more humid than the rest of your home.) If you find the level is consistently below 30 percent, we recommend a whole-house humidifier.
How Do Whole House Humidifiers Work?
There are three basic types of whole-home humidifiers in this buying guide, each of which works slightly differently.
1. Evaporative whole-house humidifier – work to moisturize the air heated by your furnace. A direct line transports water from your home plumbing supply to a pad inside the humidifier. As the warm air passes through the evaporative humidifier, it is humidified through a process of evaporation.
This warm, humidified air is then distributed throughout the house via your HVAC ductwork. While evaporative humidifiers are simple and inexpensive to run, they will function just when your furnace is running. In addition, they are not very efficient, since they convert only about 20 to 30 percent of the water consumed into humidity.
2. Steam whole-house humidifier – works independently of your furnace. These appliances store water in a canister. When their humidistat senses that humidity levels are too low, they boil their stored water to produce steam, which is circulated through your heating ducts by the blower fan.
Because they are electrically powered, steam humidifiers are more expensive to operate, but as much as 90 percent of the water they use is converted into humidity for your home.
3. Self-contained whole-house humidifiers – are the only option if your house is not equipped with HVAC system ductwork — for example, if you use a radiant heating system
Benefits Of Installing A Whole-Home Humidifier
Fight Low Humidity
A whole-home humidifier is an easy-to-use, yet very effective, method of combating humidity levels that have dropped below 30 percent.
Helps With Allergies
Does anyone in your household suffer from allergies? Using a humidifier can help relieve annoying symptoms like nasal irritation, itchy eyes, and breathing problems.
In fact, that lingering cough that you’ve chalked up to airborne allergens may actually be caused by dryness in the atmosphere. If so, you need a humidifier, rather than an air purifier to improve your air quality.
Increase Home Comfort
Dry, parched air is uncomfortable, as anyone who’s ever suffered from dry skin and chapped, cracked lips — or gotten a “shock” from static electricity buildup — can attest. It even feels colder, since dry air holds less heat than air at a more acceptable level of humidity.
Save Money On Heating Bill
As your air reaches a more normal level of humidity, you’ll be able to set your thermostat lower while enjoying a comfortable level of heat in your home. The happy result is that you will save money on your heat bill without freezing.
Protect Wood Furniture
Even your furniture (as well as flooring, trim, interior doors, musical instruments, and any object made of wood) will benefit from a balanced humidity level. When the atmosphere is too dry, wooden items can become cracked and brittle. Adding moisture to the air is a practical way to protect your furniture and prevent unnecessary damage.
Whole-House vs. Portable Humidifiers
You’re probably already familiar with portable humidifiers. Perhaps you had a cool mist or a steam humidifier beside your bed when you were sick as a child (though nowadays, warm mist humidifiers are NOT advised for kids, due to the risk of scalding). A great temporary solution, these mini humidifiers offer one major advantage — portability. You can tote them from room to room as required, or take them along when you move.
However, portable humidifiers tend to be more expensive and complicated to use. They need manual emptying and refilling of the water supply. You also have to change the filter and clean the unit frequently. In addition, portables only work in one single room at a time. Other disadvantages are that they’re noisy and unsightly.
Whole-house humidifiers are the solution of choice when you’re experiencing an ongoing problem with insufficient humidity. Simple to use, with less maintenance, they will ensure optimal humidity in all rooms of your home.
A built-in humidistat allows the whole-home humidifier to constantly monitor indoor relative humidity levels, switching on or off as needed. Energy-efficient whole-home systems are out of sight — and hearing — down in your basement.
How To Size Your Whole-Home Humidifier
It’s crucial to have the right size whole-home humidifier installed. To calculate the correct size for your house, you’ll need two pieces of information:
- Building envelope. This refers to how drafty your home is, categorized as loose, average, or tight. As a general rule of thumb, older homes are naturally draftier than more recent builds, although the amount of insulation and efficiency of your windows are also factors.
- Building volume. To find this figure, multiply your home’s square footage by the height of your ceilings. For example, a 2,000-square foot home with 10-foot ceilings will have a volume of 20,000.
Best Whole-Home Humidifier Brands
Husky is a specially trained Lennox Premier Dealer. We carry Lennox Healthy Climate® Power Humidifier systems, an ozone-free solution that works with most forced-air furnaces to add as much as 68 litres of moisture to your home every day.
Carrier whole-home humidifiers are a favourite with Husky customers. We recommend either the Carrier Performance™ Series Bypass Humidifiers, installable directly onto your ductwork to deliver up to 64 litres of moisture daily, or the Carrier Performance™ Fan Humidifiers, which are ideal for homes with heat pumps and come in your choice of sizes — 45 litres or 68 litres of moisture per day.
Husky stocks the following easy-maintenance, humidistat-included GeneralAire whole-home humidifiers: Legacy Humidifier 1099, providing as much as 72 litres of moisture daily for homes up to 3,000 square feet, and the Legacy Humidifier 1042, suitable for homes under 2,900 square feet, with a moisture output of 64 litres. Of course, we can also order any other GeneralAire humidifier that you wish.
Find The Right Whole-Home Humidifier
You’ve read this buying guide and now you’re ready to find the right humidifier for your family. Talk to Husky. We’ll help you find the best model to suit your GTA home, and handle the installation for you fast and efficiently.