By saying the best steam whole house humidifier, many wouldn’t have an in-depth understanding because when you hear the word humidifier, most times what comes to mind is that it is basically a portable device that puts out steam or cool mist into the air, to increase its moisture level.
But a humidifier is a lot more than that especially during winter periods, and can be directly responsible for your temperature regulation, good health or otherwise. In cold seasons, the air becomes really thin and difficult to breathe in.
For asthma patients and allergy sensitive individuals, it is needful you have the best whole house steam humidifier, and for a comfortable living, it is essential for everyone.
Humidifiers generally, comes in different sizes, there are portable units that are designed with capacities to majorly serve a room while others could go as serving a whole house. Such kind of humidifier is called whole house humidifiers, and we recommend you lay your hands on one.
Some of the units might be a drainless whole house humidifier, which means it would save you the stress of complete drain every now and then, while others aren’t.
Before you surf the market to purchase what you think is one of the best whole house furnace humidifiers or rather the best whole house furnace steam humidifiers (as steam humidifiers are the best for whole house; read on to find out why), you should be equipped with a certain level of knowledge pertaining to the qualities and features they should possess.
In this article, we would discuss that and many more, with recommendations on products you can choose from.
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The best type of whole house humidifier
The three basic types of whole house humidifiers are the bypass, fan powered and steam humidifier.
1) Bypass humidifiers:
These humidifier type work by taking in air from the furnace duct and passes it through a water panel, before delivering it back into the duct then your home. The air that passes through the water panel comes out with a high level of moisture which it carries to the atmosphere. This type comes with the option of a drainless bypass if you don’t have a draining floor, which also helps to minimize water usage by circulating its water.
2) Fan powered humidifiers:
They employ the same technique as the bypass type, but with the presence of a fan that blows air across the water panel for an increased level of evaporation. These humidifiers generally can produce a gallon more than the bypass type per day and can be installed in smaller spaces.
3) Steam humidifiers:
This type of humidifiers makes use of electricity to heat water till it becomes steam, releasing it into your ducts and then the atmosphere of your home. It makes use of a blower in pushing the steam through, and offers the fastest and most naturally efficient way of raising your moisture level regardless of your heating or air conditioning situation.
The bypass and fan type are less expensive and are easy to install, but the bypass requires a lot of maintenance and frequent part replacement, while the fan type requires a constant running water line and isn’t as efficient as the steam type.
On the other hand, the steam type is the best for your whole house humidification, as they are generally more productive and poses a little risk of mold, although they are expensive and more difficult to install.
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Top 5 best Best whole house furnace steam humidifiers
Special features: electrode technology, dimensions 7.1 x 10.1 x 20.9 inches, weight 27.1 pounds, humidistat,
The Aprilaire is one of the best humidifiers out there, designed to release an impressive rate of about 334.6 gallons of moisture per day into the air.
The unit is well built and lack the presence of a conventional water bucket like many humidifiers, but makes use of a system that allows it to be connected to a large water source in the home. This removes the stress of having to fill the water bucket every now and then.
It contains a steam generator that works effectively with either a hard or soft water, eliminating the constant need for distilled water in a modern humidifier. In fact, hard water is even more advised due to its high conductivity; this is tagged electrode technology because electrodes are used for heating and hard water aids the steam producing canisters in steam production.
According to room size coverage and the amount of steam released per day, we would recommend this unit as one of the best for you. Although its initial cost is expensive, it’s a worthy investment. Be sure to expect some running costs still, as the filters would need to be changed regularly.
- easy maintenance,
- large coverage area (6,200sqft),
- high moisture outpour rate,
- auto regulation when given a chosen humidity.
- it is expensive,
- requires regular filter change (every 1 – 2 months).
Special features: unique FLO system for energy saving, 10.2 x 15.2 x 14, 18 pounds, flow through design, can be mounted in ducts or furnaces, can be used with a sail switch.
The honey well HE360A1075 is a really portable looking humidifier but is very efficient in performance. It allows for options to be mounted in the home, preferably a furnace or AC system where it’s moist can quickly be circulated round the house. Like the Aprilaire, it also makes use of the continuous water system that eliminates the need for a water tank.
This unit is built to maximize efficiency while conserving water usage and therefore, giving you a lower electric bill per month than you would normally have with a humidifier.
Although the unit lacks the presence of an inbuilt humidistat (it comes separate from the unit) for auto or local regulation of humidity level, a salient switch can be purchased separately that can be attached to control the board, alongside a pressure switch.
These switches ensure that the furnace is running and the air is flowing correctly before the unit is allowed to engage, but you still have the option of running it without the furnace, by switching the fan on the thermostat on.
In all the unit would work well in most conditions and is an excellent pick for whole house steam humidifiers, working mainly as a furnace humidifier that puts out a right amount of moisture. Its installing is quite easy if you are handy with the required skills, and would take about 2 – 3 hours at an average.
- very efficient,
- less maintenance is required,
- can be used with a sail switch,
- works automatically with installer home furnace
- The absence of salient switch (would have to be bought separately). `
Special features: humidistat, dimensions 18 x 18 x 27.25 inches, auto regulation, good looking piece of furniture, caster wheels.
The AIRCARE EP9 800 evaporative humidifier is unlike the first two units reviewed before, with the size of a mini water dispenser without the tank on top of the course and control buttons by the side.
It is a portable complete humidifier because you don’t have to accurately install like the others, as it is just to be placed in a suitable corner of the home where it can quickly add both beauty and moisture to the environment in the home.
If you intend purchasing a humidifier for that really large whole home of yours i.e., whole house humidifier, then this is probably not best for you. The unit does a decent job in putting out moisture but has a very small coverage area, and with the water tank built inside, you might have to refill every now and then, unlike the others that can be connected to the water system of the home. You can always check the water fill line at the front side to know the current water level at any moment.
In all, the evaporative humidifier looks beautiful and does the job of getting water into the air well, using a standard wick which can be easily replaced if need be. It can run for a long period without much issue and possess caster wheels for easy moving around the home.
- two years limited warranty,
- auto shutoff on empty tank,
- transparent water level fill line.
- noisy fan,
- blows out freezing cold air that may become a problem in winter seasons.
Special features: weight 6.1 pounds, dimensions 10.2 x 15.6 x 13 inches, humidistat
This humidifier is easily installed in the home and puts out a good amount of moisture into the atmosphere. Unlike some other humidifiers, this one does not drain water unless there is a problem, as it receives water from the top and flows stops when the holding cup at the bottom gets filled. This water is then wicked up. Other models just keep running water until it is told to stop by the humidistat.
The humidifier is compactable and can be installed with a furnace, possessing two valves that should be installed along the hot water line, although many have reported problems with these valves. If you would purchase the device, be sure to ready a separate budget to purchase those items.
Although the 500M isn’t as powerful or possessive of many features like the 800 model, it does a decent job, with the advantage of being installed with a furnace. It can cover homes with bigger sizes unlike the AIRCARE EP9 800 and would be a good buy at the price it goes for.
- maximum water usage,
- it is cheap.
- low area of coverage (about 3000sqft),
Special features: blower safety switch, 12.1 pounds, 7.6 x 12.5 x 12.6 inches,
This is a steam type humidifier that is quiet in operation, efficient and is recommended for low budget manageable purchase. Although it is certainly not as good as the rest, according to the degree to which it can increase the humidity level of the home or the size of houses it can cover, it still does a pretty decent job.
It is designed to serve a home of about 1,400sqft but has been tested to serve slightly larger capacities depending on the way the house is built and insulations, keeping the humidity level at 45% +.
The regulation is also spot on, giving accurate measurements on what the humidity level is at all times. The automatic drain/ purge function works great, flushing every 2 hours to prevent the build of molds in the unit and keep the buildup under control, and also reduces the frequency of maintenance, as it cleans the unit efficiently.
It is really quiet during operation, with a filter that helps removes particles that get through the house filter medium, ensuring only uncontaminated water gets to the device at every moment.
- it is less expensive,
- water filter,
- auto flush timer,
- quiet operation,
- small coverage area (about 1400sqft).
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Does whole house need humidifier?
If you are wondering whether you might need that whole house humidifier, then the straight forward answer maybe YES, at least that’s what we would recommend, not without a good reason though.
In winter seasons generally, the moisture in the environment becomes really low, hence stating the need for a humidifier. As shown below, you can see the area of coverage of the different humidifiers
Now since you know you would need a humidifier to cover your whole home, it now becomes a question of whether you go for the room size or the whole house capacity.
Although the whole house humidifier could be expensive at initial cost, comparing with the cost of purchasing a unit per room in large houses is a long short. Factoring the maintenance, running expense, and bucket refill/ monitoring activities of the total humidifiers in the home points to simply one option — a whole house humidifier.
can whole house humidifier cause mold?
This is the only challenges you could be facing with a whole house humidifier. The ductwork is the source of humidity in a whole house humidifier and when this humidity is excessive, mold are bound to grow. But there are many ways to go about preventing mold growth in a whole house humidifier.
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How do whole house humidifiers work?
A whole house humidifier is installed directly with your heating system (furnace), being placed just close to the duct at the supply or return end. It also has no provision for water bucket like a portable humidifier but is instead connected directly to your homes water supply.
The humidifier contains a pad that could be located above or underneath; this continuously collects water that is then misted into the device and pushed out by a spinning drum, into the atmosphere.
Hot air from the furnace also enters the humidifier, which exposes it to the water inside. This water evaporates into the air and is released back into the air flow and later the house as a whole.
The air that went through the humidifier comes out, containing a high amount of moisture and when it joins back with the rest of the air flow in your home, it increases the humidity by a high degree effectively.
Evaporative humidifier vs. Steam humidifier vs. Ultrasonic humidifier
The evaporative humidifier works by drawing in air from the atmosphere, then passing it through a wick filter that absorbs water from the reservoir. The air then absorbs moisture into itself and is released into the atmosphere, therefore raising the humidity level. They are generally noisy and requires frequent filter replacements.
While the ultrasonic humidifier makes use of vibrating metal plates that brakes the water particles in the reservoir which is then emitted as a fine mist, the major drawback is its tendency to leave white mists on furniture surfaces in the home, although they are very quiet and more efficient but also more expensive.
The steam humidifier uses a natural heating element to boil the water until it becomes steam and then uses a blower to release it into the atmosphere. They are the most effective type ho humidifier, although they are mostly the whole house and could be more expensive.
Furnace humidifier maintenance
Carry out these procedures per month
- Turn off the unit
- Unscrew the humidifier to check the pad and drum. Clean or replace it depending on its condition.
- Clean the foam pad with a solution of water and vinegar, then rinse with clean water. If there is wear, replace the pad.
- Check to see if the water level is alright by allowing the reservoir to fill up after turning on the tap. If the drum rotates and dips into the water, then it’s on an ok level, if not adjust the float arm with the adjusting screw.
- Make sure there are no leakages and tighten using a wrench if there are any. Clean the outer portion of the unit also with the same solution
Factors to consider before choosing the Best whole house steam humidifiers
- Humidifier type:
we have earlier discussed the different types of humidifier for your whole house and given the best for you based on their advantages and disadvantages. The steam type, although expensive, is the best out there for your home.
Automated features: the presence of certain features determines how stressful or free using the unit would be. Examples are the auto cleaning, autoregulation, auto-sensing, etc. go for devices with as much as of these features as you can get
- Coverage area:
Depending on the size of your home, purchase a humidifier that could conveniently serve sizes slightly above that of yours for maximum effectiveness.
- Maximum output per day:
Of course, the higher the amount of moisture output per day, the more effective it would be in raising the humidity level of your home. Always make sure the unit output would match your needs.
Depending on the available space you have to work with, do well to check the humidifier size to see how it fits.
- System compatibility:
Before purchasing a whole house humidifier, be sure that it is compactable with your already installed home heating system, as most new furnace humidifiers cannot be installed in homes with radiators rather than air ducts.
Final Verdict: Best steam whole house humidifier
The Aprilaire 800 whole house steam humidifiers clearly come out on top due to its superior moisture raising capacity, high coverage area, and autoregulation feature when compared to the others, and although expensive, it would be well worth your money.
While the Honeywell HE360A1075 HE360A Whole House Humidifier comes out next, although not nearly as good as the Aprilaire 800, it can serve a reasonably large area conveniently, and works in synchronism with your furnace, saving you the stress of having to turn on and off every now and then.