Purchasing a major appliance for your home is always stressful. You want to make sure you are getting the very best you can for the money you have available to spend, purchasing an appliance that will perform well and last decade after decade. For many household appliances, figuring this out isn’t too difficult; we have a pretty solid idea of what makes a refrigerator good or what washing machine brands we can trust. But what about the best whole house humidifier for the money? This is an appliance that most of us have little experience with, which is no doubt why you are currently seeking out whole house humidifier reviews.
Here, we have compiled all the information you need to navigate this major purchase for your home. By the time you are done reading, you will find yourself less confused by the various features whole house humidifiers offer and better able to determine which features are crucial for you. Our goal is to ensure that you are confident as you go into your purchase, and happy with the ultimate result.
Ready to get started with our reviews? Let’s jump in! We'll start with a quick overview of our top choice, but if you're the kind that likes to jump to the comparison, jump to the best whole house humidifier reviews and comparison chart.
OUR TOP#1 RATED
Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier
Features and Details:
- Covers larger homes—up to 4,200 square feet in size
- Is compact despite its large reservoir
- Can run whisper quiet
- Features an LED display that is easy to read
- Features of Whole House Humidifiers To Consider Before Purchasing
- Best Whole House Humidifier 2019 - Comparison Table
- 1 Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier (Furnace Humidifier)
- 2 Emerson HSP2000 Whole House Steam Humidifier (Furnace Humidifier)
- 3 Aprilaire 500 Automatic Humidifier (Furnace Humidifier)
- 4 Honeywell H360A Whole House Humidifier (Furnace Humidifier)
- 5 Aircare MA1201 Evaporative Humidifier (Console / Stand Alone Humidifier)
- 6 Aprilaire 600 Automatic Humidifier
- What Is a Whole House Humidifier?
- What Level of Humidity Should Be in a House?
- Health Benefits of Whole House Humidifiers
- Health Concerns with Whole House Humidifiers
- Can Whole House Humidifiers Cause Mold?
- Whole House Humidifier Brands
- Whole House Humidifier Types
- Whole House Humidifier Pros and Cons
- Whole House Humidifier Installation Instructions
- Whole House Humidifier Costs: Installation, Product, and Maintenance
- Whole House Humidifier Maintenance Tips
- Benefits / Advantages of Whole House Humidifiers Over Single Room and Small Portable Humidifiers
Features of Whole House Humidifiers To Consider Before Purchasing
We already looked at the different types of humidifiers, but even within those types, there are variations. Below are the primary features to consider when making your choice.
Ease of Use
Do you need to manage the settings, such as the humidity level, or will the unit do it for you? If there is a display, is it easy to read and operate?
Do you need to clean the unit often? Is there a possibility of mold growth? Will you need to fill the water yourself or does the humidifier take care of that for you? Do you feel like whole house humidifier filter cleaning?
Purpose of Purchase
Are you looking to use a whole house humidifier for allergies? Or perhaps for dry skin or eczema or another health concern entirely? Your motivation for purchasing a humidifier can help to determine which one is the right choice for you.
Square Feet Covered
Even furnace humidifiers that use your HVAC system will have their limits, as the humidifier can only produce so much at a time. It is important that you check the square feet covered before you buy and compare it to your home. If your home has high ceilings or an open floor plan, you may need a humidifier that can cover more square feet than your home actually has.
Best Whole House Humidifier 2019 - Comparison Table
Top 6 Recommendations for whole house humidifiers, including furnace humidifiers and stand alone console humidifiers:
Most Efficient and Easiest Furnace Install
No need to run furnace
Great for smaller homes
Integrated bypass damper
Best for renters
Most Efficient and Easiest Furnace Install
No need to run furnace
Great for smaller homes
Integrated bypass damper
Best for renters
1 Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier (Furnace Humidifier)
First up in our look at these whole house humidifiers is a consistent best seller from the industry heavyweight Aprilaire. This manufacturer was the first to roll out flow-through evaporative humidifiers onto the market. This is our favorite choice, especially if you're looking for a whole house cool mist humidifier for your furnace.
The 700 is a whole house evaporative humidifier that is good for leveling out the humidity in houses up to 4,200 square feet. Even if you have a large home, the 700 has you covered. With an evaporative rate of 0.75 gallons per hour (GPH), the Aprilaire 700 will deliver up to 50% more moisture into the air than its closest competitor. The reservoir is a generous 18 gallons. Despite packing all this power, the unit is surprisingly compact. It measures 16 x 11 x 18 inches and tips the scales at less than 16 pounds.
This furnace humidifier doesn’t come with an installation kit. If you are highly experienced with DIY, you should be okay on this front. For anyone not so confident, factor in whole house humidifier installation cost. You can control the amount of humidification precisely using the nifty digital controls. Readings are clearly displayed on an LED screen. Settings can be tweaked between whisper, medium, or high. This is a great way to avoid any buzzing or humming disturbing your sleep.
The last thing most people want when buying a humidifier is regular and troublesome maintenance. An annual service is all you’ll need with the Aprilaire 700. Look after it and it will last for years.
Some humidifiers will only run properly with distilled water. While this will extend the life of your appliance and ensure that no minerals are belched into the atmosphere, it can be costly. With the 700, you can opt for hot or cold water, distilled or even harder water without a problem. This whole house humidifier even works with well water. This flexibility is a nice touch. With a 5-year limited warranty, you can buy this without worrying about it letting you down. For a no-nonsense whole house humidifier, you simply can’t go far wrong with the Aprilaire 700.
- Extremely easy to set up once installed
- Very quiet in operation so no disturbing background noise
- Almost no maintenance required
- Digital controls for completely uniform humidification
- Crisp, clear LED screen
- Operates with any type of water for your convenience
- Installation kit not included so you might need to call in for professional assistance
2 Emerson HSP2000 Whole House Steam Humidifier (Furnace Humidifier)
The Emerson HSP2000 whole house steam humidifier by White-Rogers offers a more affordable alternative to high-end models without sacrificing performance. As one of the best whole house steam humidifiers we've found, it does not require the furnace to be running for it to work—a big problem with evaporative-style options. It features a humidistat that constantly monitors the humidity level in the air, and the unit kicks on when levels get too low, shutting off once the level are comfortable again. It's important to understand whole house steam humidifier pros and cons - we've covered that below where we cover the different types of furnace humidifiers you can use.
The unit has a stainless steel assembly, automatic flushing timer, water filter, saddle valve, fan control relay, blower safety switch, and comes with the mounting frame. It offers precise control over your environment and requires minimal maintenance. However, the company does recommend that you have your water quality tested before installation and once a year to prevent corrosion.
In terms of staying power, it may not last quite as long as higher-end models, but it is affordable and gets the job done.
- Covers homes 1,400 square feet and up
- Fully automatic
- Steam powered
- Requires water testing
3 Aprilaire 500 Automatic Humidifier (Furnace Humidifier)
The next Aprilaire furnace humidifier we’ll look at today is the 500. It's also a whole house cool mist humidifier, but we have deliberately stepped down in size from the bulky 700 to the smaller and cheaper 500. If you have a small to medium-sized home, the 500 is the most suitable model. It is also one of the best whole house humidifiers for mobile homes. While you want enough performance for your needs, paying for too much power and capability is pointless. This unit is good for humidifying areas up to 3,000 square feet.
Measuring 16 x 10 x 13 inches and weighing a mere 7.3 pounds, you get outstanding results without needing a hulking piece of equipment that gets in the way. The 500 has the same 3GPH rate of water feed but the water panel is smaller. This means that less moisture will be released into the air. As with the other Aprilaire models, you’ll get fully automatic digital controls, a bypass damper, and an outdoor sensor. That’s a lot of bang for your buck, making it one of the best whole house humidifiers on the market.For a dependable humidifier that will regulate moisture without becoming a nuisance, the Aprilaire 500 is a safe bet.
- Perfect for smaller homes up to 3000 square feet
- Extremely compact but no loss of power
- Impressive 3GPH water feed rate
- Outstanding 5-year warranty for peace of mind
- A whole house humidifier that offers energy savings
- The standard Aprilaire issue of installation
4 Honeywell H360A Whole House Humidifier (Furnace Humidifier)
As we near the end of our humidifier reviews, it’s time for a solid and affordable unit from Honeywell: the consistently well-reviewed H360A whole house evaporative humidifier, a form of cool mist humidification. As with many contemporary humidifiers, the installation kit is not included. However, Honeywell does provide furnace installation instructions. While the initial price tag is competitive, factor in the expense of whole house humidifier installation costs if you do not know how to install one.
Covering large spaces up to 4,200 square feet, this Honeywell furnace humidifier works well even in expansive houses. Weighing 18 pounds and with dimensions of 21 x 17 x 16 inches, this is a more substantial humidifier and packs a real punch. This is an extremely efficient humidifier using less water than much of the competition. This translates to reduced utility bills. The Honeywell can be mounted with ease on your warm air supply or on the return air duct of your furnace. It is a good whole house humidifier for gas furnaces or electric furnaces.
On the downside, there’s no digital display with this unit. This makes operating it slightly more difficult. Only you know how important this functionality is to you. If you want a basic unit that does little more than kicking out a cool mist, this fits the bill perfectly. If you’re looking for something with bells and whistles, it’s likely to disappoint. That said, there is some pioneering technology with the Honeywell. You’ll get fan-powered flow-through humidification and a PerfectFlo tray for water distribution. This will help to keep your equipment clean while slashing the need for maintenance. Remember you will need annual replacement of the Honeywell whole house humidifier filter.
With a 1-year warranty, you get at least some coverage in the event of anything going wrong. Check out the Honeywell today and enjoy a properly regulated atmosphere in your home tomorrow!
- Covers 4200 square feet so perfect for even larger homes
- Keen price with no sacrifice on quality
- Impressive 3GPH water feed rate
- Simple and flexible to mount
- Cost-effective option from a brand you can trust
- You need to buy the installation kit separately
- No digital display
5 Aircare MA1201 Evaporative Humidifier (Console / Stand Alone Humidifier)
Rounding out these whole house humidifier reviews is a very inexpensive option from Aircare. This stand alone whole house humidifier (also called a console humidifier) works like any other room humidifier, but with the scale and capacity for your entire home. Where you don't have the option to install a furnace humidifier, this could be a great choice. With the MA1201, you can humidify houses up to 3600 square feet in size. This is ideal for mid-sized homes. It is also a good whole house humidifier for mobile homes. There’s a 3.6-gallon tank capacity and the MA1201 is highly energy-efficient.
Using a digital display, you can read all salient information with ease. The variable 3-speed motor comes equipped with a quiet nighttime setting so you can sleep easily with no disturbance. This humidifier is incredibly cheap but some users complain that this translates to a less than optimum build quality. The other main negative with the Aircare is that mineral deposits accumulate quite rapidly on the filter which needs replacing. Bear in mind these ongoing costs when budgeting.
The 2-year limited warranty means you can buy the Aircare stress-free. For an effective and affordable method of humidifying your home, road test the MA1201 today!
- Incredible value for money
- Digital humidistat for user-friendly experience
- Perfect for medium-sized houses
- Trouble-free operation with no wheels, belts or pulleys
- Extremely lightweight unit
- Questionable build quality
- Filter needs replacing on a regular basis
6 Aprilaire 600 Automatic Humidifier
Finally, we have another superb furnace humidifier model from Aprilaire, this time the 600. If you have dry air in your house or an excess of static electricity, it could be time to step in and regulate the humidity. With a maximum coverage of 4,000 square feet, this whole house humidifier system is enough for even larger homes.The 600 is a compact unit measuring 15 x 10 x 16 inches. It’s incredibly lightweight, too, at less than 9 pounds.This model comes with an integrated bypass damper. This gives you a choice of summer or winter settings for complete adaptability, making it a great whole house humidifier for winter or summer. It also means there are less parts to be installed.
Regarding furnace humidifier installation, as with the 700 you might be advised to call in a contractor. Once you’re up and running, though, you’ll enjoy the same low maintenance requirements as with all Aprilaire humidifiers. The 600 is fully programmable over 7 days so you can mix things up without needing to keep revisiting the control panel. There’s also a programmable fan for enhanced overall air quality.
You’ll enjoy a 5-year warranty and the build quality associated with any Aprilaire product. For a scaled-down humidifier that does not compromise on performance, the 600 is well worth adding to your shortlist. It will not disappoint.
- Fully automatic so let the machine do all the work
- Completely silent when in use
- Extremely little maintenance required
- Bypass damper to save money and water
- Outdoor sensor helps reduce condensation in duct system
- Some unevaporated water can pool and collect
- Awkward to install without professional help
What Is a Whole House Humidifier?
When it comes to making our homes comfortable, we tend to focus on certain things: cozy couches, supportive mattresses, inviting décor, welcoming layout, and other, similar items. But what about the air in your home?
Dry air can be very uncomfortable, even if you are someone who prefers a dry heat. We need moisture in the air to breathe comfortably, keep our skin hydrated, and keep our home healthy. But not all homes are able to retain moisture well.
In fact, if you were to check the humidity in your home, you might find that it is at a lower percentage than the desert air; many homes have a level around 25%, which is roughly the same as what one would find in the Sonoran Desert. While you don’t want your home to be a sauna, you don’t want it to be dry either.
Whole house humidifiers fix this issue throughout your entire home. These units are general integrated with your HVAC system, pumping the right amount of moisture into your ducts and throughout your home. There are also whole house humidifiers for baseboard heat, for gas furnaces, for geothermal, and for air conditioners, depending on the model you choose.. However, there are some portable, stand-alone units that are considered whole house humidifiers because they have the ability to humidify the air in larger spaces; these are often referred to as console humidifiers. These humidifiers allow you to choose the best location for them since they do not need to be hooked up to the HVAC system. Since they cover the entire house, they simplify the process of making your air more comfortable, allowing you to sit back, relax, and forget you even own a humidifier.
What Level of Humidity Should Be in a House?
At this point you may be how you even know if you need to purchase a whole house humidifier. Essentially, you need a whole house humidifier if your home is to humid or not humid enough. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists the proper humidity in a home as anything less than 50%. Proper humidity is one of the three top components of healthy air. The other two components are oxygen-rich and filtered air.
If there is too much humidity in your home, not only does the air quality decrease, but real damage could be done to you and your structures. Periods of high humidity have been known to cause a musty odor, mold, allergic reactions to the mold, damage to your wood flooring or walls, and water damage.
In order to avoid these issues more experts recommend keeping the humidity of your home between 40 and 50%. In the colder, drier winter months, you may need to keep the relative humidity below 40%, or your windows may fog up. The best way to ensure that the relative humidity level in your home is correct is to use a whole house humidifier for summer or winter.
Health Benefits of Whole House Humidifiers
A major motivation for using a whole house humidifier is comfort, but just as common is to purchase it to improve your health and the health of your family. You might not think that such a simple change could make such a big difference, but believe it or not, it can. Below are some benefits of using whole house humidifiers for health concerns.
- Viruses and bacteria are what make you sick. It ends up that they travel better in dry air than moist air. By moisturizing the air in your home, you help to reduce their ability to get into the body and make you and your family sick.
- Many skin conditions, from simple dry skin to eczema, can be helped by moisturizing the air. With a humidifier, your skin will look and feel better, and you can even fight signs of aging.
- If you have sinus troubles, moisturized air can help. When your nose is stuffy, it is usually because your body is trying to moisturize your dried-out sinus passages. By keeping them moisturized with humidified air, you eliminate the need for your body to cause stuffy nose.
- If you have a cold or suffer from asthma, dry air can cause your symptoms to flare up. If you keep moisture in the air, you will find yourself breathing easier and your throat and lungs less irritated.
- Just like dry air allows viruses and bacteria to travel, it also helps allergens get around. If you have allergies, you will notice a big difference in your symptoms after you purchase a whole house humidifier.
- When your throat and sinuses are dry, snoring is more likely to occur. If you are the one snoring, you can wake yourself up and fail to sleep deeply enough. If others are snoring, the results can be even worse. And a lack of sleep impacts your overall health.
However, there are more benefits to enjoy than just health benefits. Some other positives to having a whole house humidifier include:
- Keeping food, furniture, detailing, doors, and frames from drying out
- Protecting pictures and artwork
- Preventing electronics from being damaged
- Reducing energy costs
- Lessening static shock
- Keeping plants healthy
Health Concerns with Whole House Humidifiers
Overall, humidifiers provide amazing health benefits, but if they are not used properly, they can cause health problems. Proper maintenance of your system ensures that it remains healthy for everyone in the home. Also, you need to take care to choose the correct system for you. Below are some things to keep in mind so you can negate any health concerns you have regarding a whole house humidifier.
- Certain respiratory conditions, like asthma and COPD, can be aggravated by too much humidity as well as any humidity produced by warm mist. Only purchase a cool mist humidifier or ultrasonic humidifiers and use those with a humidistat so you can make certain there is never too much moisture in the air.
- If your home has hard water, look for whole house humidifiers for hard water or install a water softener. The minerals in hard water can be dangerous when breathed in. In truth, the best option is to install the water softening system since hard water can damage more than just your humidifier.
- Clean your humidifier as often as the user manual tells you to. In some cases, this may be once a year, while in others it will be once a day or once a month. Cleaning humidifier regularly and properly ensures there are no mold spores growing inside that can be put into the mist and breathed in.
- Change your filter or clean your filter as directed. When a filter is dirty, it does not clean properly. And when it doesn’t clean properly, you end up breathing in dirty air or you could end up with whole house humidifier filter mold. However, some whole house humidifiers are filterless, so you may or may not have to perform whole house humidifier filter cleaning.
Can Whole House Humidifiers Cause Mold?
In a word, maybe. Some whole house humidifiers can cause mold growth in filters and elsewhere, especially in the winter. The way that whole house humidifiers work by connecting to your home's duct-work, may be a contributing factor in the growth of mold. Moisture will stick to cold surfaces, which your ducts will be in the winter, which then provides the perfect environment for mold growth.
Mold from whole house humidifiers can be dangerous since you will not be able to see it. Most often it occurs in your pipes or inside of walls, which means that it will not be visible to the naked eye. For people with asthma or allergies to mold this can be a major problem.
There are some ways to cut down on the probability that your whole house humidifier will cause mold growth. If you purchase a mist/steam whole house humidifier, your risk of mold growth will be much smaller. This system blows either hot or cold steam through your pipes, so there will never be standing water. Mist/steam systems are the most expensive types of whole house humidifiers. But, they are worth the cost if mold is a concern for you.
Whole House Humidifier Brands
There are many whole house humidifier brands on the market, but many of these companies are not well-known. As a result, you can feel reluctant to trust them. With that said, there are a few brands that have built their reputation over the years by offering excellent products, quality service, and dependable warrantees. Below are three whole house humidifier brands you can always trust.
This brand isn’t one that most people have heard of, mostly because it knows its niche—home air care solutions—and sticks to it. Their biggest product line is their whole house humidifiers, so you know that you are getting the best when you purchase one. However, they offer a variety of products to help you improve the air in your home. Some other items they sell include: temperature control, purification, ventilation, and dehumidification solutions. And if you have a smart home or want to switch yours over to being one, they even offer items that are smart home compatible.
Holmes also offers home air care solutions, but they are more of a household name. This is mainly because most homes have at least one heater or fan in their home made by Holmes. Found at most any store, you can easily locate Holmes products. They do not offer a significant selection of whole house humidifiers, but those they do offer are solid products backed by their comprehensive warrantees. At the moment, they are experimenting with smart home options, though these have yet to reach their whole house humidifiers.
Out of the names on this list, Honeywell is the one you likely know best. This is because they offer a wide variety of products and do not restrict themselves to just home air care solutions. You might expect this would result in lower quality products, that the company is spread too thin, but in truth, each division offers amazing products that last—including their humidifier division. And since it is a large company, it has the resources to stand behind all its products with confidence-inspiring warrantees.
Whole House Humidifier Types
To figure out which is the best whole house humidifier for you, you first need to decide the general type of humidifier you are interested in. There are two major category types and five primary operational types of whole house humidifiers. The two major categories are furnace humidifiers and console stand alone whole house humidifiers. Let's make sure you understand the difference between these two home humidifier options first.
Whole House Humidifier vs Furnace Humidifier vs Console Humidifier: What’s the Difference
One question we frequently get from readers is, “Should I be looking for a whole house humidifier? Or a furnace humidifier? What’s the difference?”
And it’s a fair question. Think of it like a square and a rectangle, if you remember your geometry lessons from high school: a square is a type of rectangle, but a rectangle might not be a square. It’s the same way with whole home humidifiers: a furnace humidifier is a type of whole house humidification device, but just because you have a humidifier for your home, it might not be a furnace humidifier. Similarly with a stand alone humidifier: it might be powerful enough to humidify your whole house, but it might not.
Specifically, what defines a furnace humidifier? This type of humidifier will be attached directly to your furnace and use some combination of the ductwork and the HVAC system itself to distribute additional moisture to your entire home. A big benefit here is being able to distribute humidity everywhere, so you don’t have to pick and choose rooms to humidify. And you certainly don’t need to buy a portable humidifier for each room of the house!
Naturally this type of device requires installation, but once that is complete you have a set-and-forget system in place. The installation process may also include running a water line, depending on the type of furnace humidifier you’ve chosen. Furnace humidifiers also have the benefit of not taking up any valuable living space, which whole house console humidifiers or room humidifiers will do.
On the other hand, consider a console humidifier. Think of a console humidifier as a very large version of your typical room humidifier. It has a large water tank, a larger distribution mechanism, and of course a larger overall size. These devices are large enough to distribute humidity to your whole home as well.
Console humidifiers have the benefit of no installation cost, and of course they might be the only choice in the event that you don’t have an HVAC system ford a furnace humidifier. On the downside, they typically require more regular, ongoing maintenance to fill the tank and keep the humidifier clean of mold and mildew.
One challenge with console humidifiers is you need to consider the layout of your home. While furnace humidifiers have the benefit of a direct path to all (or most) rooms in your house, a whole house console humidifier depends on ventilation to carry moisture to the far-flung corners of the house. This could especially become an issue if you typically keep your doors closed, or the breeze frequently shuts doors throughout your home.
As you’ll read in the maintenance section, furnace humidifiers do require some general upkeep, but it’s typically limited to an annual checkup, cleaning, and perhaps a filter change. You can contrast that to console or other types of humidifiers that require more frequent cleaning. On the whole, all humidifiers build for the home are easy to clean and manage.
Now with that deep dive into whole house humidifier types, let's look at the mechanisms these devices use to humidify your living space.
Drum Whole House Humidifiers
This type of whole house cool mist humidifier is cheap and easy to install if you are looking to go DIY. These are placed on the cold air return line. The motor pulls cold water from the drum and forces it into the system, allowing the natural process of evaporation to turn it into a mist that can then be forced through your HVAC system and into the air of your home. Compared to other types, these are high maintenance, as you must frequently clean the drum humidifier to ensure no mold grows, and you must also replace the belt quite frequently.
Flow Through Humidifiers
This type of cool mist furnace humidifier offers greater flexibility, as you can install them on the return or supply line. Like the drum type of humidifier, they use evaporation to work. However, they do not use the drum, so there is no standing water. This helps to cut down on the maintenance needed, but you still need to perform some to keep it at optimal function. With this type, water flows through a filter and air blows through the filter to force the moisture out. To use this type of humidifier, you need to be able to hook it up to a water line.
Warm Mist/Steam Humidifiers
A whole house steam humidifier tends to be costly, but it is highly effective and very low maintenance. Rather than relying on evaporation, it uses steam to add humidity to your home. This steam is created by pulling in water and then heating it to the point of boiling; the steam created is then forced into the HVAC system and throughout your home.
It's worth a short discussion on whole house steam humidifier pros and cons. Pros for this type of humidifier include incredible control over the humidity level; lower maintenance costs; and the ability to humidify your home without running the furnace. But there are cons for steam humidifiers too: They do come with the added risk of mold growth, in addition to high up-front product and installation costs. This type of whole house humidifier must be hooked up to a water supply line. So you must weigh your options carefully.
Out of the various types of whole house humidifiers on the market, this is the least common. These humidifiers use a transducer to create moisture. Water passes over the transducer as it vibrates, causing the molecules in the water to become excited, resulting in the droplets breaking up into many smaller droplets, which are then injected into your HVAC system and dispersed throughout your home. These models are rather costly and high maintenance as they produce “white dust,” which must be cleaned away frequently.
These humidifiers are sometimes single room, but there are also models that can cover the entire home. All console humidifiers use a tank of water attached to the unit. However, the way they create humidity will vary. Console humidifiers are high maintenance, as you must fill and clean the tank often. Also, you must set them up in an open space to reduce the chance of mold growth and make sure your air moves enough to disperse the moisture throughout your home. Some console humidifiers are portable (portable whole house humidifier) as well, while others must be installed much like a window or wall unit air conditioner would be.
Whole House Humidifier Pros and Cons
There are many reasons to consider purchasing a whole house humidifier. But, there are also a few things to keep in mind before you make your purchase. If you are still wondering whether or not to make the investment, we've included some handy pros and cons to help you make your decision.
- They can make your house more comfortable by keeping the humidity at an appropriate level.
- They are not expensive to purchase or keep running.
- You do not have to turn them on or off—i.e. they run automatically.
- You can save on energy bills because you are not running your air or heat as much.
- They can keep you in better health by lessening the chance of colds, flus, or dryness.
- They may cause mold in certain situations.
- They can potentially mask other problems with your house.
- You will need to hire an expert to install the whole house humidifier.
- Some models may collect mineral deposits depending on your water source. This could cause the whole house humidifier to need constant maintenance.
Whole House Humidifier Installation Instructions
Each type of whole house humidifier requires a different approach to installation. As such, you will want to consult your user manual if you choose to go DIY on this. Not interested in DIY? We get you: this is a one time job, so it's the perfect task to get a professional.
Click here to get connected to a local professional for central humidifier installation. Here you'll get a first estimate (with caveats about water lines, drains etc), but you can get someone well-rated who knows how to get the job done right.
Back to the humidifier installation itself: Depending on the model, installation may be quite simple or complex enough that a professional is needed. You will need to know if you have a whole house humidifier attached to your furnace, a whole house humidifier for electric baseboard heat, a whole house humidifier for attic furnace, a whole house humidifier for gas furnaces, a whole house humidifier for forced hot air, or a whole house humidifier for geothermal. Know the variety of whole house humidifier you have will determine your placement of it. Below is a general installation guide, however, double check it with your user manual before you get to work to avoid damaging your product or voiding the warrantee.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
You want to have what you need on hand before you dive in. Get the following items together, and keep in mind that some of these will have been part of your installation kit:
- Pen or marker
- Drill and bits
- Aviation snips
- Screwdriver—check screws in kit to determine type and size
- Wire strippers
- Wrench—check guide to determine which size you need
- Vent pipe
- Sheet metal screws
- Wire nuts
Step 2: Mark Holes
The unit should come with a template for this. Following the instructions in your user manual, mark where the holes should be using the marker or pen. Use the drill to create a starter hole and use the aviation snips to finish it. Once the holes are ready, attach the mounting plate using sheet metal screws.
Step 3: Cut Hole for Humidistat
The ideal location for the humidistat should be explained in the user manual. In general, it will detail how close it needs to be to the overall unit. Measure it out, trace the outline of the humidistat, then cut the hole so it can be placed.
Step 4: Place Humidistat
For this step, read your user manual very carefully. Some units require a step-down transformer, which means running new electrical wires, and that can get dangerous. In any case, you will need to connect the unit to the mounting plate and to the furnace controls.
Step 5: Connect Humidifier
Ensure you have the right size of wire nuts for the job. Using them, connect the leads between the humidistat and the solenoid valve on the humidifier. Run the wire ends through the wire nuts and twist the nuts until they are firm around the wires.
From here, there may be different steps to take depending on the type of humidifier you purchased. For example, if you purchased a drum humidifier, you will need to fill the drum. If you purchased a flow-through humidifier, you will need to install it on a water line. If ever you are in doubt, hire a professional to get it done. They will be able to determine the best location and whole house humidifier installation costs are generally quite affordable.
Whole House Humidifier Costs: Installation, Product, and Maintenance
It's important to consider multiple factors when calculating a whole house humidifier cost. After all, just buying a furnace humidifier is one part of the puzzle!
In addition to the price of the whole house humidifier itself, you will also need to purchase the labor required to install the appliance. The ability to install the humidifier on your furnace will cost differently depending on the type of humidifier purchased. Normally, the more expensive the humidifier, the more expensive the labor. These costs range anywhere from $100-$500 or more. You should budget somewhere between $475-$700 for most average whole house humidifier installations.
You should expect whole house humidifier cost for install will vary slightly depending on the type of humidifier you purchase and the labor that you use. Most whole house humidifiers will run between $80-$275 for a drum system, $100-$300 for a system with an evaporator pad, and $300-$1,500 for a steam/mist system.
On an ongoing basis, expect some cost to maintain your humidifier and keep it running efficiently. A whole house humidifier can easily last 10 years if you take care of it. Annually clean it, test your air quality, check for mold, and do any troubleshooting to keep it performing. That can easily be done yourself, including changing the filter, which can cost anywhere from $10 - $25 depending on the model.
Whole House Humidifier Maintenance Tips
The first step in getting good results from your whole house humidifier is buying the right one. The next is installing it properly. After that, it all comes down to proper maintenance. To keep your system performing well, keep the following whole house humidifier maintenance tips in mind.
- Clean the pump and fan as often as the user manual says to. Dust, debris, and allergens can easily collect here, making your air more difficult to breathe. A half-and-half vinegar-water solution should clean it well.
- Check the media panel for deposits, dust, and debris once a year. Turn off the power before removing the panel to be safe. You should not need a special solution to clean this—just scrub it firmly and all the gunk should come off.
- Check the drain line for blockages once a year. There is a high potential for buildup in the drain line, and eventually a blockage can occur, damaging the entire unit. If there is buildup that needs to be removed, use a long wire brush to get it out.
- Switch out or clean the filters, if your unit has them, as often as directed in the manual. You don’t want any whole house humidifier filter mold growth. This may be once a month, once a year, or never if there is no filter.
- Check the flow in the solenoid valve every six months. If water is not flowing properly, your home will not be getting humidified as much as you want it to be. This also translates into higher energy costs since your system will work harder.
Benefits / Advantages of Whole House Humidifiers Over Single Room and Small Portable Humidifiers
At this point, the benefits of using humidifiers are quite clear. What isn’t so clear is why you should opt for a whole house humidifier over those for single rooms or portable humidifiers. So, let’s take a look at the benefits only whole house humidifiers can offer.
- They are efficient. Many models require no electricity at all, and those that do use less than running multiple single-room or portable models.
- If you opt for a smart model, they control the humidity level based on the temperature of your home. The higher the temperature, the more humidity you need. The lower the temperature, the less you need. This regulation ensures comfort while also reducing the chances of mold growth.
- You do not need to turn things on and off or move a unit from room to room. When you use a whole house humidifier, you can freely move throughout your home without giving any thought to the humidity in the air, breathing easy the whole time. This is true for both HVAC models and the portable models.
- They are affordable. Many people are tempted to use single room or portable units to save money, but this often backfires. Portable units tend to break after a year or so, costing you anywhere from $20 to $100 every year. Single room units run around $100 themselves. A whole house humidifier can be found for as little as $140, plus installation.
They also provide great whole house humidifiers for both summer and winter.