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Whole-House Humidifiers: Benefit, Types, and Costs


Have you ever wondered why we tend to get sick in the winter? One reason is the humidity in our homes is too low. Let’s solve this with a whole-home humidifier.

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Read more: How Does a Whole-House Humidifier Work?

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Video Transcription

Have you ever wondered why we tend to get sick in the winter? One reason is the humidity in our homes is too low. Let’s solve this with a whole-home humidifier.

Hi, I’m Bryan with Fire & Ice. When it comes to comfort, we feel two things: temperature and  humidity. By controlling the humidity level in your home, you can keep your family healthy, lower energy costs, and protect your home. In this video we’ll discuss whole-home humidifiers and discuss:

  • What are the benefits of a humidifier?
  • What types of humidifiers are there?
  • Which Humidifier is right for me?
  • How much do humidifiers cost?
  • What are the next steps?

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What are the benefits of a humidifier?

Whole-home humidifiers are used to increase or maintain the amount of moisture in the air. Humidity levels between 40 and 60% are considered healthy in our homes. When indoor humidity levels drop too low, we start to feel the effects, such as:

  • Increasing the likelihood of catching the flu or other virus. 
  • Itchy skin, scratchy throats, and nose bleeds are more common
  • When the air is too dry, hardwood floors crack and splinter, paint peels, and cracks develop on the walls. 
  • Raising humidity in your home not only keeps your family and home safe. It can save you money as well. In fact, every 5% of relative humidity equals about one degree on your thermostat. 

What types of humidifiers are there?

There are three types of whole-home humidifiers: bypass, fan-powered, and steam. 

Bypass humidifiers are passive systems that rely on your furnace to humidify the air. To do this, hot air from your furnace goes through a water channel inside the humidifier via a duct bypass. The hot air turns the water into moisture to circulate through your home.

There are three models of Aprilaire bypass humidifiers: The Aprilaire 400, 500, and 600. Both the Aprilaire 400 and 600 use 17 gallons of water per day and can humidifiy homes of 2,500 square feet.The Aprilaire 400 uses technology to conserve 100% of its water and eliminate the need for a drain. The Aprilaire 500  can humidifiy homes as large as 1,500 square feet and consumes 12 gallons of water per day.

Next are fan-powered humidifiers like the Aprilaire 700. They use a built-in fan to draw hot air from the furnace to humidify the air, eliminating the need for extra ducting. The Aprilaire 700 series use up to 18 gallons of water per day and can humidify homes as large as 3,500 square feet.

The last type are steam humidifiers like the Aprilaire 800. These humidifiers create steam using electrode technology to humidify the home. This technology creates moisture by passing electricity through electrodes submerged in water. The resistance between the water and the current heats the water, creating steam. The submerged electrodes are in a disposable canister that is replaced at the end of every humidifier season. Very little maintenance is required with steam powered humidifiers. Simply replace the canister and you’re done. Steam humidifiers can humidify homes as large as 5,000 square feet and use between 11.5 and 34.5 gallons of water per day.

Which Humidifier is Right For me?

Now you may be wondering, which humidifier is right for me? We like to say there’s no one-size-fits solution when it comes to HVAC, including humidifiers. Each home is unique, and the needs differ between homes. Regardless, any homeowner who suffers from the effects of low humidity can benefit from a whole-home humidifier. However, if you already have high humidity in your home or live in a humid climate, a whole-home humidifier might not be for you.

Bypass humidifiers are ideal for homeowners who: 

  • Are Budget conscious
  • Have Accessible Equipment and ductwork
  • Have a single or two-stage furnace or air handler
  • However, bypass humidifiers aren’t ideal if you have a modulating system or have space limitations.

Fan-powered humidifiers are ideal when:

  • Bypass humidifiers aren’t applicable
  • Looking to humidify a larger home
  • Or if you have a modulating system for heat.
  • It should be noted that fan-powered humidifiers need access to power and may not be for everyone if access to power is difficult

Steam humidifiers are top of the line humidifiers. Ideal for homeowners:

  • Looking for easy maintenance
  • Have large households over 4,000 square feet
  • Live in dry, arid climates like the southwest United States. 
  • However, steam humidifiers aren’t for everyone. Oftentimes they are more powerful than you need and are more expensive.

How Much Do They Cost?

So far, we’ve covered the benefits and types of whole-home humidifiers. Now, let’s talk about cost. To install a bypass humidifier in your home, expect to pay around $600-$700 with installation. Fan-powered humidifiers cost between $700 and $800. Steam humidifiers can cost over $1,000 with installation. At Fire & Ice all of our estimates include the cost of the equipment and labor.

What’s the next step in the process?

If you’re in the market for a whole-home humidifier and are in the Central Ohio area, give us a call. We’d be happy to go over your options and discuss which whole-home humidifier would be right for you and your home. Thank you for watching and we look forward to making your day even better.

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