Are you wondering about the pros and cons of installing a whole house humidifier?
Are they really worth it?
You have find the right page.
We have created this special guide as a resource for homeowners.
In this article, you will learn..
- Why the automatic control of humidity is a big benefit
- The moderate difficult of installing a unit
- How central home humidifiers can reduce allergies and give you cleaner air
- How central hvac humidifiers need to have their “pad” changed once a year
During my home inspections, I have observed that many new homes already have whole house humidifiers installed on their furnace — it is becoming a standard feature.
But what are the relative advantages and disadvantages for a home?
Is it really worth the cost to install one yourself?
Are there ANY downsides?
In this guide, we will address the most common pros and cons of whole house humidifiers…
What Are The Pros Of Whole House Humidifiers?
Undoubtedly there are some big advantages to having a home humidifier in your home as compared to a “portable” humidifier.
During the cold season, the air can become uncomfortably dry.
Who wants to live in the Sahara desert, really?
Here are some of the top pros of installing a whole house humidifier…
Pro #1. Whole House Humidity Control
The problem with portable humidifiers is that you frequently have to add water to the unit, as well as moving it around to the rooms you want humidified.
With a forced hot air humidifier, with the touch of a button (or turn of a knob) you can automatically control the relative moisture level of the ENTIRE HOME.
You can literally set it and forget it — a huge benefit.
According to Stanford, when indoor humidity rises above 50%, there is an increased likelihood of mold and bacterial growth. And with the automatic control of a whole house humidifier, this isn’t something you will need to worry about.
A portable humidifier will simply never be able to compete with a whole home humidifier.
Your home already has an intricate air duct system, and a whole house humidifier uses this pre-existent ductwork to provide humidification to every nook and cranny.
Pro #2. Very Little Maintenance
A humidifier for the whole house has such little maintenance required it is verging on the absurd (at least compared to portable humidifiers).
Before the cold season and turning on your furnace (or heat pump), it is recommended that you replace the evaporator panel, also known as the “pad”.
These pads are typically in the $10 range, and can be swapped out in a minute or two.
Besides changing the pad, it’s a good idea to clean the inside of the home humidifier with a wet rag to remove any built up minerals and debris.
That’s about it. Once a year, you will have to do a few minutes of maintenance for the rest of the year.
Pro #3. Indoor Air Quality
Having a properly humidified indoor air environment has proven health benefits as mentioned by the Mayo Clinic. The ideal indoor humidity is in the 30% to 50% range.
Adequate moisture has shown to reduce allergies and other respiratory conditions.
Moisture rich air in the 35% to 45% relative humidity level has shown to reduce the incidence of chapped lips, sore throats, dry skin, and sinus irritations.
Besides the health issues, it just makes the living environment much more comfortable.
A house with dry air isn’t very pleasant — there’s a reason why not many people live in the Gobi Desert.
What Are The Cons of a Whole House Humidifiers?
Like any home product, there will always be a few downsides for a homeowner to consider….
Con #1. The Expense
The upfront expense of central evaporative humidifiers range from the $200 to $400 range.
And if you hire a competent contractor to install the product, you can add another $250 to $500 on top of that.
So as a total, it will probably be in the $500 to $1000 to buy and install a whole house humidifier.
If you have an DIY skills, a humidifier for the whole house can be installed in the 2-3 hour range.
With most home humidifiers, you will have to buy some additional supplies to install them, and “install kits” are available on Amazon.
Con #2. Forgotten Maintenance
As I addressed in the pro section, hvac humidifiers require very little maintenance.
All they require is for you to change the evaporator panel or “pad” once a year, and to clean the inside of the unit.
Unfortunately, many homeowners forget to do this simple maintenance.
During my home inspections, I usually open up the cover of the central humidifier, and see that the pad is encrusted with mineral deposits, and is just very dirty.
This neglected maintenance may eventually result in a water leak, or it may even result in mold growth.
If you would like to help prevent mold growth throughout your hvac system, you may also want to consider the purchase of an ultraviolet light that is installed at the furnace.
Don’t forget to maintain it by following the manufacturers instructions.
Con #3. Masking Home Air Leakage
An hvac central humidifier may just mask a bigger problem of home air leakage.
This is more of a problem with older homes when the building codes were last advanced.
If there is significant air leakage, such as poor insulation in the attic, then installing a central furnace humidifier just hides the problem.
What Do You Think As A Home Inspector?
So in short, there are pros and cons to whole home humidifiers, and you will have to come to your own decision on whether it is worth it for your home.
In my opinion, it is definitely considered a “feature” when a prospective buyer is looking at a home and sees a central hvac humidifier.
I have never had a client regard it as a negative when they see a whole house humidifier.
Sometimes my clients even ask me if the home has one.
Just something to consider.