WHAT KIND OF WHOLE HOUSE HUMIDIFIER SHOULD I BUY?
- A drum-type humidifier is the least expensive type of whole house humidifier and the easiest version to install only requiring a few tools and minimal expertise. A drum humidifier is installed on the cold air line and a motor and belt are used to lift cold water from a drum of water. The water evaporates as it is passed in the air and this is how the air becomes moister. However, there are several downsides to a drum humidifier. One factor is that the drum itself holds standing water for long periods of time and therefore has a high risk of mold. It also requires frequent maintenance to remove mold and mineral buildup, and also to replace the belt. Due to the amount of maintenance and health risks, it is not advisable to get a drum humidifier.
- A flow through humidifier can be installed on either the return or supply line. Of the three whole house humidifiers available, these ones are the middle-of-the-road in terms of their cost and performance. Like the drum humidifiers, the flow through humidifier relies on evaporation but it does not use standing water. Instead, the water flows through a filter and moistens it then the air from the duct blows through the filter. The water is therefore constantly trickling through the filter. This reduces the risk of mold to a minimum. A flow through filter does not have to use electricity but it requires access to a water line and constantly requires new water. It also regularly needs to be drained.
- Finally, a mist or steam humidifier is the most expensive type, but it is also the most effective. Because this kind of humidifier does not rely on evaporation but instead can produce its own steam, it makes it easier for you to control the humidity levels. There are two versions of a steam humidifier: you can use cold or hot water, depending on what supply line you use. The steam humidifier also requires access to both an electricity line to heat the water and a water supply line. There is no standing water in the steam humidifier so the risk of mold is low. However, it is possible that using hot steam could cause an issue in your air ducts if it is used too frequently. However, the steam model is the lowest maintenance and often comes with a humidistat so that you can control the temperature and the humidity levels in your home. They are also relatively easy to install, often only taking a few hours to do.
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