All You Need to Know About Whole House Humidifiers

You're likely familiar with the portable humidifiers families set up in the nursery, or perhaps to help a tropical houseplant thrive. Whole house humidifiers take the same essential technology a step further, ensuring that indoor air quality remains high year-round.

Whole House Humidifier

Photo: rockyhomeimprovements.com

As the days are getting colder, the air is getting drier. While lotion coupons are at the forefront of the Sunday paper’s circular section, many people are accustomed to replacing the moisture they are losing in their bodies and environment with a humidifier.

Most are familiar with the small, portable type that are set up in individual rooms. You fill a tank with water, turn it on, and the machine puts humidity into the air until you turn it off or until it runs out of water. There’s not a lot of control.

Related: 10 Houseplants to Improve Indoor Air Quality

In contrast, a whole house humidifier installs directly into your cooling and heating system. It introduces humidity in the form of water vapor at the source—your ductwork. The level of humidity is then monitored and controlled by your thermostat, just like the temperature is, and an even level of moisture can be released into your house all year long.

Putting a whole house humidifier into your home can reward you in many ways:

Health
Many viruses thrive in low-humidity environments, which can increase your likelihood of catching the flu, colds, and other respiratory ailments. And an overly dry environment can make people more susceptible to infection. Putting humidity back into your home can reduce the incidence of all these maladies.

Comfort
Over-dry air can aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms and lead to dry noses, sore throats, and cracked, itchy skin. Not to mention those painful and surprising shocks you get from static electricity.

Preservation
Dry air can damage many things in a home, including wood floors, plaster, paint, furniture, artwork, electronics and musical instruments. A whole house humidifier therefore protects your home and its contents from the adverse effects of dry air over the long term.

Energy Efficiency
Turning up the thermostat will raise the temperature in your home, but it won’t necessarily make you feel any warmer. Installing a whole house humidifier can help you feel warmer at lower temperatures. According the EPA, you can save up to 4% on your heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat. And humidity control can help a home qualify for the National Association of Home Builders’ Green-Built Certification Program.

You can install a whole house humidifier in either a new or an existing heating/cooling system. There are even systems available for homes with radiant or baseboard heat, so the opportunity is there for everyone to benefit from a controlled-humidity environment.

You might still want to stock up on lotion for the winter—but you can keep it in your car instead of on your nightstand.

For more on HVAC, consider:

Bob Vila Radio: Indoor Air Quality
Pellet Stoves: An Eco-Friendly Heating Option
Quick Tip: Ventilation for the Home


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