Installing a Whole House Home Air Humidifier for Winter
– Come December time, it always seems like you look at that humidity gauge and it reads entirely too low. Cracked skin, dry sinuses, headaches; it’s all a pain. I’m glad you have come here today and do something about it. There are several ways to go about this. The cheapest? Get a portable humidifier and put it by the intake of your heater. This has many disadvantages, however. The cheaper quality and high visibility are not only unattractive, but make them loud and require more frequent cleaning. Whole house systems are the way to go.
Even now that we have decided on this, it may be prudent to understand the different kinds of whole house humidifiers.
Spray Systems: In these systems and electronic mister sprays water vapor straight into your ducts. Unless you have purified water running through your house this isn’t a good idea. You know how those shower heads get clogged from your hard water? Same thing will happen to your whole house humidifier.
Flow Systems: A moistened pad transfers water into the air, plain and simple. Very effective due to the lack of standing water, and it doesn’t promote mold growth. There is a drain positioned at the bottom to wick away any unused water. You still have to change the pads, but not entirely too often (check the manual for this).
There are also drum style systems, but they have many moving parts and are not very cost effective. Two more things to think about, however, are the addition of humidistat and a bypass gate. The humidistat does exactly what it’s temperature related cousin the thermostat does, regulates humidity. A bypass gate lets you shut it off in the summer, when you don’t need it.
To install, pick a place on the cold-air return to the furnace. Most kits have a template to put on the duct and help you do the exact cutting, use it.
Next, you will have to drill four pilot holes to hold the humidifier, start with the corner holes and work in; this is a more accurate way to do it. Past this, all the pieces of the system will have brand specific instructions. These instructions are far more effective than any advice this article can give, as they were made for the exact product you are using. The only other cautions I offer, duct work is made of very sharp metal: wear gloves.
Also, the humidistat involves the use of wiring electronics, if you have any doubts, consult an electrician BEFORE you turn it on.