How do furnace humidifiers work?
You may want to install a humidifier for a number of reasons. Some people buy humidifiers for asthma and cough relief, others desperately surf the net in search of the best humidifier for sinus problems. Whatever your reason is, a furnace humidifier is an effective whole house solution.
There are several different types of furnace humidifiers, all of which work in somewhat different ways to produce steam and move it through your HVAC duct work. The primary types of furnace humidifiers are evaporative (fan-powered) and bypass humidifiers.
Evaporative, or fan-powered, humidifiers, simply expose the hot air produced by your furnace to a slow but constant trickle of water as it flows by. The hot air naturally evaporates some of the water as it passes, thus incrementally increasing the moisture of the air moving through your ducts. Evaporative humidifiers are by far the most common type of furnace humidifiers since they are inexpensive to install and require very little maintenance beyond changing a filter once every year or so.
Bypass humidifiers are cheaper; they are fully dependent on your furnace system since they don’t have their own fan or steamer. The airstream simply goes through the humidifier’s evaporative pad thus delivering moisture throughout the house.
Features to consider while choosing a furnace humidifier
Not all furnace humidifiers are designed in the same way or for the same types of households. In this section, we’ll cover the essential features you need to know about to help you choose the furnace humidifier that’s right for your home.
One of the most important decisions you need to make when choosing a furnace humidifier is whether to opt for a fan-powered or bypass model. Fan-powered humidifiers, as the name suggests, have a fan inside that helps them to push air through the humidifier, while bypass humidifiers like the model from Aprilaire do not have a fan.
This may not seem like much, but having consistent air movement allows more water to be evaporated, which means the humidifier can work more water efficiently and produce significantly more humidity per day than a bypass system without a fan. Fan-powered humidifiers can also be used when the furnace is not on since it is not dependent on convection from the hot air.
However, fan-powered humidifiers tend to be more expensive than bypass ones, and so the latter are more common for this reason. In addition, since there is no fan, bypass humidifiers make no noise, and there are fewer moving parts that can break and require maintenance.
The covering area is usually measured in square feet and describes the size of the house that a furnace humidifier is rated for. Putting a humidifier in a house that is too large – for example, putting the GeneralAire humidifier in a massive 4,000-plus square foot house – will mean that none of the house will have air that is humidified to the degree it should be for comfort. On the other hand, having a humidifier with a massive coverage area for a small home is overkill and a waste of water and electricity. In case your home is very small or you don’t need it to be entirely humidified, think of getting a powerful humidifier for large rooms.
The coverage area of the humidifier you choose should match the square footage of your home, minus any rooms that are not connected to your duct system.
Maximum output per day
The maximum output per day describes the amount of water that can be evaporated into your heated air in a 24-hour period when the humidifier is running at full speed. This output is directly related to the rated covering area of each humidifier, although there is some variation between manufacturer’s ratings. In general, 16 gallons per day or more of water output is plenty to cover most 3,000-4,000-plus square foot homes.
Weight and dimensions
The weight and size of your humidifier can be an important consideration if you have to place your humidifier in a cramped furnace room or need to carry it into a basement or attic. For example, if you have a very small furnace room, you may want to opt for a furnace humidifier with a smaller footprint like he unit from Honeywell.
Once the humidifier is installed, you shouldn’t need to move it around except for occasional maintenance.
A furnace humidifier is one of those home investments that you want to purchase only once and then forget about it as it works without issue – so having a good warranty from the manufacturer can be necessary for your peace of mind. Many manufacturers offer five-year warranties, while <https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000WCL6R2/?tag=wisepick-20″>GeneralAire offers an impressive 10-year warranty on their furnace humidifier.
There are a number of other small considerations that go into choosing a furnace humidifier. For example, some humidifiers like the one from Honeywell have automatic controls to turn on and off based on the temperature and humidity, as well as programming functions so you can set the levels at which they turn on and off.
For fan-powered furnace humidifiers, fan noise can also be a consideration – although this may not be as important to you as other features if your humidifier will be installed in a basement furnace room.