Home Humidifier input please

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investingdad
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Home Humidifier input please

Post by investingdad » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:00 am

We are going to install a home humidifier due to very dry air.

There are two options I'm aware of, bypass and powered.

I'm reading that powered may be better because it can run when the HVAC system isn't.

Does anyone have experience and can they provide input?

Cost is not a factor.

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Alexa9
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Alexa9 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:02 am

Great purchase. Makes winter not feel like winter. Skin, nose, mouth, and lungs feel better. Make sure to turn it down if you get condensation on the windows.

rutrow2015
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by rutrow2015 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:07 am

My only experience is with a passive Aprilaire humidifier (the one where water trickles down a metal filter which is metered when the heat is running). It made zero difference to the interior humidity. In fairness this was a single device on one of two Heat Pumps (2 zone house) and the house was built in 1986 so not as tight as today's homes.

bloom2708
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:08 am

Ours (Aprilaire) is attached to the furnace. It has a winter mode and a summer bypass. It is controlled by the ecobee3 thermostat. The thermostat controls if there is a call for humidity to be added to the air.

If it does, when the furnace is running water drips through a filter and the warm air passes through the moist filter. Ours works great.

You can have it controlled by your thermostat or just have a dial (humidistat) near the furnace. It should be ~$600 to have one installed.

You have to be careful in cold weather. Too much humidity can cause ice buildup on windows. It will probably happen to some degree, but if you crank it up too high it can get messy. We keep it around 30%. If it is in the 20s, we can go up to 32 or 34%.

In the winter when very cold, humidity can get down in the mid teens. That is dryer than the driest desert. Even keeping it in the mid to upper 20s makes quite the difference.
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Smorgasbord
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Smorgasbord » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:30 am

investingdad wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:00 am
I'm reading that powered may be better because it can run when the HVAC system isn't.
By "powered" I assume you mean something along the lines of this humidifier, but I am not sure why you would run it when the furnace was off since it is the furnace blower that distribute the moist air throughout the house. I suppose you could let the furnace blower to run even when there isn't heating, but in that situation the bypass humidifier would work just as well.

My preference would be to go with a powered humidifier because the duct work seems much simpler than a bypass so I would probably do install myself. If someone else was doing the install, and both were the same price, I'd probably go with a bypass since there are fewer moving parts to break.

investingdad
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by investingdad » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:36 am

The powered unit you linked to has a fan so it can humidify the air without the HVAC running.

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fortfun
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by fortfun » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:45 am

I installed my own for under $200. It is not powered and only runs when the furnace is on. It works really well and I'm very pleased with it. With a non-powered unit, not much can go wrong. One thing that is a bit counter intuitive is that you turn DOWN the humidity the colder the outdoor temperature. This is due to the fact the furnace is running more and therefore the humidifier has more opportunity to humidify. In very cold weather, if you don't turn down the humidity, moisture will build up on your windows. When it warms up a bit, you should turn up the humidity because the furnace will not run as much and you will need to give the humidifier more opportunity to humidify.

3feetpete
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by 3feetpete » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:36 am

I have an Aprilaire bypass unit and it does okay in my 2000 sf house. Keeps it at about 38% humidity. I used to have a Skuttle powered unit in a previous home but it didn't have a fan. It had a drum that rotated through a small pool of water whenever the HVAC blower was running. Every rotation of the drum brought the spongy element into contact with the water then up into the flow of the main duct coming off of the furnace. It seemed to do better than the Aprilaire which just has a trickle of water running down an element with the bypass airflow going through it. The drum unit looked like an easier installation. No bypass duct required because it just required to cut a window in the existing duct to mount the unit. Also as others have pointed out the Aprilaire does waste a trickle of water while it runs. The Skuttle did not. There was a float switch which kept the water in the tub at a constant level.

I don't see how any unit could work without the HVAC blower running to distribute the air. At times I put the HVAC blower on the always on setting to boost the humidity.

tev9876
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by tev9876 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:47 am

Powered units must also have the furnace and blower fan running, unless there is some type of whole house humidifier I don't understand.

Both units mount to the main duct existing your furnace. For the non-powered a round duct diverts part of the airflow from before the humidifier and focuses it at the back of the evaporator pad in the humidifer. This air blows across the pad to become humidified and then rejoins the main stream of warm air to the rest of hour house. The main blower is basically pushing the air through the pad.

The powered unit simply draws air from around the outside of the pad and into the back of it with a fan, doing the same basic thing. The fan is only powerful enough to push the moist air a few inches into the duct, where the main blower pushes it through the house. It is not powerful enough, nor does it have the proper orientation to draw air through cold air returns, to move air through the entire house. Running a powered humidifier without the main blower running is just going to dump moisture into your duct that will immediately condense and fall to the bottom. Sounds like a perfect petri dish to create mold.

I believe drum and recirculating units are no longer made because they were great ways to fill a house with mold. With new units the water that does not evaporate into the air stream goes to a floor drain or to a condensate pump. Mine gets pumped 40 feet across the basement to the laundry tub as there were no floor drains near the furnace.

A powered unit will probably be an easier DIY job as you don't need to do extra duct work for the bypass.

charleshugh
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by charleshugh » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:54 am

I have an AprilAire 600 running in a 2800 Sq. foot house with forced hot air. In my experience, it has not been very effective in achieving 35 - 40 humidity. I keep my house reasonably cool (67 days - 60 nights) and have cranked the humidity control as high as possible...but we have not had great results.

I am most focused on humidifying the our bedroom while we sleep. Currently, I close all vents/air exchanger in the room, close the door and run a humidifier. Far and away, this has given us our best results. Good Luck!

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JPH
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by JPH » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:18 pm

I tried one once. A very cheap one and I don't remember the details. The problem I had with it is that we have very hard tap water, and the humidifier output a fine white powder of mineral residue that got all over everything.
While the moments do summersaults into eternity | Cling to their coattails and beg them to stay - Townes Van Zandt

Dudley
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Dudley » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:32 pm

What type of furnace do you have ?
On an oil furnace system I installed an AprilAire bypass system and it works fine. Nice and simple. Would also be fine with gas.
However, on a heat pump system evaporative humidifiers (bypass or powered) won't work as the heated air is not hot enough for effective evaporation; you will need a steam system (I have an AprilAire 800 steam unit on such a heating system)

Dudley
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Dudley » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:46 pm

another word of advice if you trying to get humidity up in winter , rather than simply relying solely on humidifier, look at reducing air leakage in/out of house. Rather than simply windows/doors think of ingress into basement (seal/insulate rim joists?) and up out though ceiling (caps on top of walls, fan vent, light fittings...). Will obviously also reduce heat loss.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by BolderBoy » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:52 pm

I have an Aprilaire attached to the furnace with the humidistat on a cold air duct return.

Last month I got my first ever notice from the City that the newest-and-greatest water meter upgrades they've been installing detected that I had water running for 24 hours continuously. The letter went on to say that such activity was almost certainly indicative of a leak. They are proud of their ability to detect even 1 drop/minute water running activity.

The letter discussed a bunch of things that can cause such 24hr/day water running activity and nowhere did they broach the subject of a furnace-attached humidifier...

I'll see if I get another letter this month before I call the water department and say, "Well duh..."
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

BW1985
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by BW1985 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:03 pm

JPH wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:18 pm
I tried one once. A very cheap one and I don't remember the details. The problem I had with it is that we have very hard tap water, and the humidifier output a fine white powder of mineral residue that got all over everything.
No water softener?
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

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JPH
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by JPH » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:07 pm

BW1985 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:03 pm
JPH wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:18 pm
I tried one once. A very cheap one and I don't remember the details. The problem I had with it is that we have very hard tap water, and the humidifier output a fine white powder of mineral residue that got all over everything.
No water softener?
That's right. No water softneer.
While the moments do summersaults into eternity | Cling to their coattails and beg them to stay - Townes Van Zandt

open_circuit
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by open_circuit » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:14 pm

We have an Aprilaire bypass unit in our main house. We have a second, separate space with dedicated HVAC as well, and there is no humidifier for the second HVAC space & system. For comparison, the main house is at 32% RH today, while the other space is at 20% RH. The humidifier only runs while the furnace is actively heating and the blower fan is on.
It appears the bypass humidifier is able to improve our RH by about 10-15%.
I'm not sure that a powered unit would help us any further, because I have to turn down the setting on the humidifier often in the winter to reduce condensation & frost on my windows. If you live in a climate where you can run the humidifier longer without condensation issues, perhaps a powered unit would provide more help for you.

BW1985
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by BW1985 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:24 pm

open_circuit wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:14 pm
We have an Aprilaire bypass unit in our main house. We have a second, separate space with dedicated HVAC as well, and there is no humidifier for the second HVAC space & system. For comparison, the main house is at 32% RH today, while the other space is at 20% RH. The humidifier only runs while the furnace is actively heating and the blower fan is on.
It appears the bypass humidifier is able to improve our RH by about 10-15%.
I'm not sure that a powered unit would help us any further, because I have to turn down the setting on the humidifier often in the winter to reduce condensation & frost on my windows. If you live in a climate where you can run the humidifier longer without condensation issues, perhaps a powered unit would provide more help for you.
What does 'bypass' mean? I'm new to humidifiers. Sounds like it just means it only runs when the HVAC is running? Just wondering why it's called bypass.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

b4real
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by b4real » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:10 pm

After moving from a humid climate to a dry climate in 2016 we installed an Aprilaire steam humidifier for our comfort and to protect wooden musical equipment. I also installed an Aprilaire wifi thermostat. Everything can be monitored and controlled from the phone. Works great.

FrankLUSMC
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by FrankLUSMC » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:22 pm

investingdad wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:00 am
We are going to install a home humidifier due to very dry air.

There are two options I'm aware of, bypass and powered.

I'm reading that powered may be better because it can run when the HVAC system isn't.

Does anyone have experience and can they provide input?

Cost is not a factor.
Whatever type humidifier used, make SURE your attic fan has a humidistat control. I used an Aprilair and one winter had a 30" snow come on the roof. My attic fan was not humidity controlled and caused mold in the attic. Expensive lesson. Mold remediation $10K plus.

edited for spelling

open_circuit
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by open_circuit » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:33 pm

BW1985 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:24 pm
open_circuit wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:14 pm
We have an Aprilaire bypass unit in our main house. We have a second, separate space with dedicated HVAC as well, and there is no humidifier for the second HVAC space & system. For comparison, the main house is at 32% RH today, while the other space is at 20% RH. The humidifier only runs while the furnace is actively heating and the blower fan is on.
It appears the bypass humidifier is able to improve our RH by about 10-15%.
I'm not sure that a powered unit would help us any further, because I have to turn down the setting on the humidifier often in the winter to reduce condensation & frost on my windows. If you live in a climate where you can run the humidifier longer without condensation issues, perhaps a powered unit would provide more help for you.
What does 'bypass' mean? I'm new to humidifiers. Sounds like it just means it only runs when the HVAC is running? Just wondering why it's called bypass.
I may be wrong, but I believe bypass systems require a furnace fan to distribute the moist air. They are just a bit of plumbing with a solenoid to turn on/off the water supply and a filter box. Active (powered?) types have their own fans and/or heat sources to distribute the moist air. (https://www.hvac.com/faq/different-type ... midifiers/)

gtaylor
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by gtaylor » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:36 pm

The water quality can be a real hassle. And as others suggested be sure you air seal as much as you can, that'll make a big difference if your house isn't working as a chimney sucking in 0% humidity air from outside all the time as warm moist air escapes through all the cracks. Also if you end up with condensation inside the walls from leak areas that can turn out very badly.

I'm about to deploy a big floor unit for our great room (and piano). The thing takes two 2 gallon tanks and allegedly does ~1000 sq ft. I intend to fill it from the reverse osmosis tap in the kitchen to avoid trouble with residue. The unit was about $100. Might be worth doing something temporary like this to see if meaningful humidification is even possible in your house without getting residue or condensation everywhere.

Previously we explored the notion of central humidification for the bedroom zones, but our ducting is really only for AC in the summer, and it and the equipment are in unheated space. So it would have been a ludicrously expensive rigamarole to pull off.

Dudley
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Dudley » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:57 pm

[/quote]
Whatever type humidifier used, make SURE your attic fan has a humidistat control. I used an Aprilair and one winter had a 30" snow come on the roof. My attic fan was not humidity controlled and caused mold in the attic. Expensive lesson. Mold remediation $10K plus.

edited for spelling
[/quote]
Sounds more like an issue of :
- leakage of house air into attic (poor ceiling/wall sealing)
- or more probably, insufficient ventilation through attic (sofits and ridge vents ?)

bberris
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by bberris » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:01 pm

Careful! High humidity can promote condensation and mold in the attic and walls in very cold weather. This article spells out limits.

http://www.startribune.com/fixit-what-i ... /11468916/
For example at -10 to -20 deg, you should not go above 20 %.

FrankLUSMC
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by FrankLUSMC » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:08 pm

Dudley wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:57 pm
Whatever type humidifier used, make SURE your attic fan has a humidistat control. I used an Aprilair and one winter had a 30" snow come on the roof. My attic fan was not humidity controlled and caused mold in the attic. Expensive lesson. Mold remediation $10K plus.

edited for spelling
[/quote]
Sounds more like an issue of :
- leakage of house air into attic (poor ceiling/wall sealing)
- or more probably, insufficient ventilation through attic (sofits and ridge vents ?)
[/quote]
Yes that is the point. 30" of snow on roof lasted several weeks and covered the ridge vents. Had the fan been activated, the sofit vents and fan vent would have worked to keep condensation down. We lived in NOVA/DC area, 99% of the time not much snow on roof. But that one time killed it. 1980 house, pretty decent seals, actually sealed too good and kept humidity in.

jogren
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by jogren » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:08 am

I live in Colorado and it's very dry in the winter. I have a two zone house. I had bypass humidifiers on both zones and struggled to get the humidity to 30%. (5000 sq feet 20 yo house). I put a steam humidifier on one zone and it by itself can get the whole house to 45%. The cartridges are replaced annually (approx $60) and easily with all the " gunk" so no water softener needed. I really recommend steam. My thermostat has a humidity setting based on outside air temp to automatically decrease the indoor humidity if desired to prevent window condensation when it's really cold.

I have forced air and when the humidistat call for moisture the humidifier comes on with the blower to distribute the humidity.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:36 am

Home in Northern Arizona. I have a 3 level home with 3 separate hvac systems/zones. Hard water. It indeed can get very very dry and we've thought a lot about humidifier systems.
My concerns would be:
1. . . Water leak if a breakdown (one unit is in the attic (also freeze danger)
2 . . . Mold buildup/issues in the evaporator pads and hvac ducts, etc.
3 . . . Moisture backing up into the heat exchanger and causing rust or corrosion.
4. . . Having to change the humidifier evaporator pads too often due to hard water.
5. . . Adding system complexity for more points of failure.
Right now we have been using a large portable (loud) unit that brings most of the upper 2 floors up to 30% or so as needed. It's a hassle to refill 1-2x/day but does the job. If the above concerns were an unrealistic worry, I would put a whole house humidifier system in.
More research in progress.

Any thoughts or suggestions on the above list of concerns?

mahalo,
j :D
Last edited by Sandtrap on Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

retiredjg
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by retiredjg » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:45 am

I have a bypass humidifier system. My heat source is a heat pump. I can't say the humidifier has been very helpful. My humidity can still be very low (high teens, low 20's) when it is cold out. It only stays at the default 35% when the weather is warmer.

I'm not sure what the problem is
  • -buypass systems are inefficient with a heat pump?

    -poor product design?

    -poor installation?

    -not working right?
I had the option of a steam system but they are much more expensive. I'm wondering now if it would have been worth it. I feel the money I paid for what I have was largely wasted.

BIGal
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by BIGal » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:56 am

I installed this unit 4 or 5 years ago and have been very satisfied with the performance. We have a natural gas, forced air furnace. Cold weather=more furnace runs=dryer air. Low humidity, in addition to health and comfort issues, also damages wood furniture as well as flooring.

https://www.honeywellstore.com/store/pr ... 0a1075.htm

I do replace the filter yearly.
Since we live in a cold climate (NW Iowa) and do go south J, F and M we did some additional plumbing to be able to turn off water to house and still have water to the unit.
This unit has its own fan which is wired to the furnace valve to come on when the humidistat calls for it. It is not designed to provide humidity throughout the house without the furnace on.

Would advise doing some research, getting installation estimates etc.

BW1985
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by BW1985 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:13 pm

JPH wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:07 pm
BW1985 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:03 pm
JPH wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:18 pm
I tried one once. A very cheap one and I don't remember the details. The problem I had with it is that we have very hard tap water, and the humidifier output a fine white powder of mineral residue that got all over everything.
No water softener?
That's right. No water softneer.
We have a water softener and still have the dust all over everything. This is just a $50 ultrasonic one from Target, getting returned. I assume the better ones with filters remove that dust.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

Seal the Deal
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Seal the Deal » Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:50 pm

We have a honeywell steam humidifier which mounts directly on the furnace duct. We are on our second one, first failed due to heating element becoming corroded due to hard water. Luckily this was within 5 year warranty period. HVAC contractor installed 2nd with reverse osmosis filter system. I wasn't too fond of replacing those filters annually at $100, so I put an inline scale filter ($25) in. This seems to control buildup pretty well but I still manually clean it once in the middle of heating season and again at the end of the season.

The units are not cheap ($600-700) and add a couple hundred for installation. The humidification does work well and keeps our 2400 s.f. house at 25-35% RH through the winter. As others mentioned, be sure to adjust RH setting down as outside temps/dew points drop, otherwise excessive condensation will build on windows.

Shikoku
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Shikoku » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:48 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:36 am
Home in Northern Arizona. I have a 3 level home with 3 separate hvac systems/zones. Hard water. It indeed can get very very dry and we've thought a lot about humidifier systems.
My concerns would be:
1. . . Water leak if a breakdown (one unit is in the attic (also freeze danger)
2 . . . Mold buildup/issues in the evaporator pads and hvac ducts, etc.
3 . . . Moisture backing up into the heat exchanger and causing rust or corrosion.
4. . . Having to change the humidifier evaporator pads too often due to hard water.
5. . . Adding system complexity for more points of failure.
Right now we have been using a large portable (loud) unit that brings most of the upper 2 floors up to 30% or so as needed. It's a hassle to refill 1-2x/day but does the job. If the above concerns were an unrealistic worry, I would put a whole house humidifier system in.
More research in progress.

Any thoughts or suggestions on the above list of concerns?

mahalo,
j :D
Sandtrap,
Installing a whole house humidifier system in attic where temperature could fall below freezing point is probably going to be a challenge. The other four items that you have listed can be considered non-issue as long as you are ready to change the pads, may be once every month. We change ours every two months in winter season and never had any issue but we have soft water.
"I don't worry too much about pointing fingers at the past. I operate on the theory that every saint has a past, every sinner has a future." -- Warren Buffett

Carl53
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Carl53 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:36 am

Do any of these whole house units result in fine white residue being dispersed? We had a room type humidifier that we filled with household softened water. Our water softener was one of those reverse osmosis units that used a very small amount of salt. Nevertheless, items in that room seemed to accumulate a white residue.

conlius
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by conlius » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:51 am

I have one being installed this week on my furnace. We went with the true spray humidifier with an RO unit in front of it. My HVAC guy told me pad ones can promote mold growth that you end up breathing. The spray system has problems with mineral buildup which is why the RO is going in front of it and requires cleaning once a year.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:44 am

Shikoku wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:48 am
Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:36 am
Home in Northern Arizona. I have a 3 level home with 3 separate hvac systems/zones. Hard water. It indeed can get very very dry and we've thought a lot about humidifier systems.
My concerns would be:
1. . . Water leak if a breakdown (one unit is in the attic (also freeze danger)
2 . . . Mold buildup/issues in the evaporator pads and hvac ducts, etc.
3 . . . Moisture backing up into the heat exchanger and causing rust or corrosion.
4. . . Having to change the humidifier evaporator pads too often due to hard water.
5. . . Adding system complexity for more points of failure.
Right now we have been using a large portable (loud) unit that brings most of the upper 2 floors up to 30% or so as needed. It's a hassle to refill 1-2x/day but does the job. If the above concerns were an unrealistic worry, I would put a whole house humidifier system in.
More research in progress.

Any thoughts or suggestions on the above list of concerns?

mahalo,
j :D
Sandtrap,
Installing a whole house humidifier system in attic where temperature could fall below freezing point is probably going to be a challenge. The other four items that you have listed can be considered non-issue as long as you are ready to change the pads, may be once every month. We change ours every two months in winter season and never had any issue but we have soft water.
"shikoku". . . inu-imasu? (dog?)

Thanks for your help.
My wife is concerned about cleaning the unit and the pads. She is worried about mold and bacteria because it is wet all the time inside the pads and compartment.

We are also worried about the very fine powder from hard water that a humidifier gives off.
Is this true?

It wouldn't be too hard to put a humidifier in the main floor system and it will spread throughout the house. But, again, my wife is very clean and doesn't want to add anything to what we have if it will make a lot of work for her to keep it clean and so forth.

What do you think?

mahalo,
j :D

Dave55
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Dave55 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:53 am

jogren wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:08 am
I live in Colorado and it's very dry in the winter. I have a two zone house. I had bypass humidifiers on both zones and struggled to get the humidity to 30%. (5000 sq feet 20 yo house). I put a steam humidifier on one zone and it by itself can get the whole house to 45%. The cartridges are replaced annually (approx $60) and easily with all the " gunk" so no water softener needed. I really recommend steam. My thermostat has a humidity setting based on outside air temp to automatically decrease the indoor humidity if desired to prevent window condensation when it's really cold.

I have forced air and when the humidistat call for moisture the humidifier comes on with the blower to distribute the humidity.
We also live in Colorado and have a whole house (house is 2600 sq ft) steam humidifier which works great. The key is the thermostat/control of that humidifier - we have a Honeywell VisionPro Series with RedLINK (digital), this allows you to control the amount of humidity and window protection (keeping windows dry while providing humidity), our house is alway 35% humidity with heat on.

Dave

retiredjg
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by retiredjg » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:59 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:44 am
We are also worried about the very fine powder from hard water that a humidifier gives off.
Is this true?
This has been reported, but certainly not by most who have humidifiers. I suspect it is the water. You may have to learn about this from neighbors' experiences.

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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by littlebird » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:19 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:08 am

In the winter when very cold, humidity can get down in the mid teens. That is dryer than the driest desert.
Just a small point: Here in the Sonoran desert of Arizona - I don't know if our's is the driest desert - the ambient humidity in winter can be 6 or 7%. It's very comfortable at that humidity outdoors.

As an aside, although we needed a humidifier in the winter when we lived on the east coast, here in AZ normal indoor activities keep the humidity at about 50% in my house, since there's little heat being pumped in to dry it out.

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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Shikoku » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:28 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:44 am
Shikoku wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:48 am
Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:36 am
Home in Northern Arizona. I have a 3 level home with 3 separate hvac systems/zones. Hard water. It indeed can get very very dry and we've thought a lot about humidifier systems.
My concerns would be:
1. . . Water leak if a breakdown (one unit is in the attic (also freeze danger)
2 . . . Mold buildup/issues in the evaporator pads and hvac ducts, etc.
3 . . . Moisture backing up into the heat exchanger and causing rust or corrosion.
4. . . Having to change the humidifier evaporator pads too often due to hard water.
5. . . Adding system complexity for more points of failure.
Right now we have been using a large portable (loud) unit that brings most of the upper 2 floors up to 30% or so as needed. It's a hassle to refill 1-2x/day but does the job. If the above concerns were an unrealistic worry, I would put a whole house humidifier system in.
More research in progress.

Any thoughts or suggestions on the above list of concerns?

mahalo,
j :D
Sandtrap,
Installing a whole house humidifier system in attic where temperature could fall below freezing point is probably going to be a challenge. The other four items that you have listed can be considered non-issue as long as you are ready to change the pads, may be once every month. We change ours every two months in winter season and never had any issue but we have soft water.
"shikoku". . . inu-imasu? (dog?)

Thanks for your help.
My wife is concerned about cleaning the unit and the pads. She is worried about mold and bacteria because it is wet all the time inside the pads and compartment.

We are also worried about the very fine powder from hard water that a humidifier gives off.
Is this true?

It wouldn't be too hard to put a humidifier in the main floor system and it will spread throughout the house. But, again, my wife is very clean and doesn't want to add anything to what we have if it will make a lot of work for her to keep it clean and so forth.

What do you think?

mahalo,
j :D
Sandtrap,
Inu ga imasen. (We do not have dogs.)

Your wife's concern about mold is understandable but we have no issue with it so far. One of our family members is sensitive to mold, pet dander, etc. So if we had mold in the HVAC system, we would have known that very well.

Previously we lived in an area that had (very) hard water. At that time, we used a portable humidifier without any fine powder issue that are mentioned in some posts.

Although our present water supply is known as 'soft', technically it has mild hardness. However, no fine powder issue with our whole house humidifier which we run 4-6 months every year. [We installed a Miele dishwasher two years ago. As per the guidelines of the dishwasher manual, I called our water authority to find out the precise mineral contents of our water supply. The water data indicated that we require dish salt which we have been using as per Miele's recommended setting.]

We professionally clean our HVAC ducts every few years and had a camera inspection of the entire duct system after we purchased the home. Few years ago when we replaced the furnace, we modified the return air ducts to install two parallel 25"x20"x5" air filters which we replace every two months. Irrespective of the calls for heat or AC from the thermostat, the HVAC blower runs at least 30 minutes in total per hour to facilitate fresh air intake and to avoid pockets of stale air.

We change the HVAC filters and humidifier pads regularly. At the end of the winter season, we remove the humidifier pad and turn off the water. No other work is necessary!

As some posters have recommended, it would be a good idea if you check with your neighbors if they have any fine powder issue with their humidifier. If you are not having the fine particle issue with a portable humidifier, you might not have this issue with a whole house humidifier. I think this is the only issue that requires careful research in your case as I believe the nature of minerals in the water have something to do with the fine powder issue -- just thinking out loud!
"I don't worry too much about pointing fingers at the past. I operate on the theory that every saint has a past, every sinner has a future." -- Warren Buffett

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Sandtrap
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:03 pm

[/quote]
Sandtrap,
Inu ga imasen. (We do not have dogs.)

Your wife's concern about mold is understandable but we have no issue with it so far. One of our family members is sensitive to mold, pet dander, etc. So if we had mold in the HVAC system, we would have known that very well.

Previously we lived in an area that had (very) hard water. At that time, we used a portable humidifier without any fine powder issue that are mentioned in some posts.

Although our present water supply is known as 'soft', technically it has mild hardness. However, no fine powder issue with our whole house humidifier which we run 4-6 months every year. [We installed a Miele dishwasher two years ago. As per the guidelines of the dishwasher manual, I called our water authority to find out the precise mineral contents of our water supply. The water data indicated that we require dish salt which we have been using as per Miele's recommended setting.]

We professionally clean our HVAC ducts every few years and had a camera inspection of the entire duct system after we purchased the home. Few years ago when we replaced the furnace, we modified the return air ducts to install two parallel 25"x20"x5" air filters which we replace every two months. Irrespective of the calls for heat or AC from the thermostat, the HVAC blower runs at least 30 minutes in total per hour to facilitate fresh air intake and to avoid pockets of stale air.

We change the HVAC filters and humidifier pads regularly. At the end of the winter season, we remove the humidifier pad and turn off the water. No other work is necessary!

As some posters have recommended, it would be a good idea if you check with your neighbors if they have any fine powder issue with their humidifier. If you are not having the fine particle issue with a portable humidifier, you might not have this issue with a whole house humidifier. I think this is the only issue that requires careful research in your case as I believe the nature of minerals in the water have something to do with the fine powder issue -- just thinking out loud!
[/quote]
Aloha,
Thanks so much for your help. You answered all of my wife's questions.
(In Japan, there is also a breed of dog called, "shikoku" so I was curious about that from your avatar name. . .)

We also had our HVAC ducks camera inspected and cleaned. That's a good idea to put in 2 return air ducts so you could install more filters. We tried a heavier filter but it was too restrictive for the system. Your solution makes a lot of sense. Although I don't have fresh air intake that I know of.

I did research and there is also the steam humidifier that is not mounted on the ducks. I think it might work out for us. The reviews said that hard water can crust up on the heating element over time. Perhaps the steam aspect will negate the misting of hard water particles.

I did not know of "dish salt" for the dishwasher. I will ask my wife about it because we have just put in a new $$$$ dishwasher.
It is very dry where we are so I think the humidifier would be used in the summer as well.

Looks like I have a lot more to research.
Thanks for your help.
mahalo,
j :D

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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by bberris » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:57 am

JPH wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:07 pm
BW1985 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:03 pm
JPH wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:18 pm
I tried one once. A very cheap one and I don't remember the details. The problem I had with it is that we have very hard tap water, and the humidifier output a fine white powder of mineral residue that got all over everything.
No water softener?
That's right. No water softneer.
A water softener won't help. Softened water has the calcium and magnesium ions replaced by sodium. Better for washing with soap, but it still has dissolved salts in it, more by weight, in fact, after softening.

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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by lthenderson » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:14 am

rutrow2015 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:07 am
My only experience is with a passive Aprilaire humidifier (the one where water trickles down a metal filter which is metered when the heat is running). It made zero difference to the interior humidity. In fairness this was a single device on one of two Heat Pumps (2 zone house) and the house was built in 1986 so not as tight as today's homes.
The most common mistakes I see:

1. Most of the filters have an orientation, usually a painted on dot on the top of the filter to indicate up. If you put it in upside down, the water will not spread out properly resulting in little humidity added to the air.

2. Verify the plastic manifold that sits on top of the filter doesn't have plugged holes. I see people change the filter regularly but never clean the manifold and it gets built up residue which blocks some of the holes and decreases humidity.

3. Finally, if all else fails, get a smart thermostat that allows you to run your fan independently of the heat. During the coldest driest part of the winter, we have to run our fan four or five hours a day extra just to maintain humidity where in late fall or early spring, humidity levels are maintained just fine by running only when the heat is on.

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queso
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by queso » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:34 pm

For those of you running portables that you are happy with do you mind sharing a link or two?

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Sandtrap
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:56 pm

queso wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:34 pm
For those of you running portables that you are happy with do you mind sharing a link or two?
We're on our 2nd one in 6 years. Works great. Large house. A bit loud when on full.
We have tried many of these things.

Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000G ... UTF8&psc=1
Easy upkeep, easy to clean, pads are inexpensive. Cat friendly.

j :D

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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:59 pm

b4real wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:10 pm
After moving from a humid climate to a dry climate in 2016 we installed an Aprilaire steam humidifier for our comfort and to protect wooden musical equipment. I also installed an Aprilaire wifi thermostat. Everything can be monitored and controlled from the phone. Works great.
I have a lot of guitars.
We looked into the regular HVAC types and are seriously thinking of the steam units, no pads, no mineral residue in the air, simple upkeep.
And advantages or disadvantage of the steam units in your experience?

Thanks for the help.
j :D

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queso
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by queso » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:09 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:56 pm
queso wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:34 pm
For those of you running portables that you are happy with do you mind sharing a link or two?
We're on our 2nd one in 6 years. Works great. Large house. A bit loud when on full.
We have tried many of these things.

Honeywell Cool Moisture Console Humidifier
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000G ... UTF8&psc=1
Easy upkeep, easy to clean, pads are inexpensive. Cat friendly.

j :D
Thanks! That's the one I ordered to replace a 1 gallon cool mist humidifier that works great, but just isn't capable of making much of a dent in the space I have it in.

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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:09 pm

bberris wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:57 am
A water softener won't help. Softened water has the calcium and magnesium ions replaced by sodium. Better for washing with soap, but it still has dissolved salts in it, more by weight, in fact, after softening.
That depends on whether the humidifier evaporates all the water.

Does your system have a drain? If so softened water may help. It also helps a pad system if you empty, rinse (and bleach clean for mold) the system while there are still a few cups of water left.

Sodium carbonate is far more soluble than calcium carbonate (this is typical for sodium salts) so after 9/10 of the water evaporates you're left with a more concentrated sodium solution instead of a saturated solution and calcium deposits.

BW1985
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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by BW1985 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:43 pm

Is this a solid choice? I can’t tell if its steam or not.

https://www.amazon.com/Aprilaire-Whole- ... 6682396325
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

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Re: Home Humidifier input please

Post by Dudley » Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:32 am

BW1985 wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:43 pm
Is this a solid choice? I can’t tell if its steam or not.

https://www.amazon.com/Aprilaire-Whole- ... 6682396325
Its an evaporative bypass humidifier - not a steam. It works well on gas/oil furnaces (if installed correctly; in my experience most HVAC people are clowns/idiots/scamsters so read installation manual carefully; DIY if you have the ability). It will be ineffective on a heat pump system since the air is not hot enough. In that case you need a steam humdifier, eg AprilAire 800 (I think).

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