Breathing dry air leads to respiratory illnesses such as sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, and nosebleeds. It also causes dehydration whose symptoms include dizziness, a lightheaded feeling, and dry lips and mouth. To alleviate these effects, you need the best whole-home humidifier.
A whole-home humidifier is also a necessity if you want to keep your home comfortable all year round. It adds moisture to the air and prevents your skin from drying up and hair from becoming static. It also prevents irritation and itchiness of the skin.
Owning a humidifier is a great step towards keeping your family healthy, strong, and happy. However, as you may have already noticed, choosing the best whole-home humidifier among the available brands and models isn’t easy. In this guide, we will try and make things a lot easier for you.
Is a whole house humidifier a good idea?
A whole-house humidifier is an excellent idea if your family members occupy several rooms at the same time. Unlike a portable humidifier, you don’t have to move it to different rooms. Besides, it is more effective and releases more water vapor within a short time.
Things to consider when choosing a whole-house humidifier
Pay attention to the following before you buy a whole-house humidifier:
Size or capacity
The correct size of the humidifier will depend on how drafty your house is and how much space you want to humidify. For example, you will need a humidifier that has a capacity of at least 12 gallons per day in order to humidify a 3,000 square feet home.
Note that these whole-house humidifiers produce specific moisture outputs, with a rating of gallons per day. If it has a rating of 1.5 to 2.0 gallons per day, it is useful for spaces that are at most 500 square feet.
Humidifiers have different installation requirements based on the model you choose. You need to understand the configuration of your ductwork or furnace in order to choose a whole-house humidifier that fits configurations without having to rework the entire system.
Type of humidifier
Whole-house humidifiers come in three major designs. These include drum-style, flow-thru, and spray mist. Consider the pros and cons of each before spending your hard-earned cash.
Humidifiers are low-maintenance devices. However, ensure you buy one that is easy to clean to prevent bacteria, mildew, and mold growth.
Features to consider in a whole-house humidifier
Essential features to look for in a humidifier are:
- Digital display options: Consider a humidifier that has a supply indicator to show water levels and notify you whether you need to refill.
- Automatic controls: Go for a humidifier with built-in easy-to-read humidistats for convenience. These automatic controls will send signals to turn the machine on and off based on indoor and outdoor moisture readings.
- Sensors: They help to monitor temperature both inside and outside the house. That way, you will know whether it is cold, meaning the air is dry.
5 best whole-home humidifiers in 2021
From our research, we found out that these are the best whole-home humidifiers you can buy based on your requirements.
1. Aprilaire 500 Whole Home Humidifier
It comes with digital controls that show the humidity levels in percentage, and lights to indicate it is running or off, and when to change water panels. Once you install it, it will run 24/7 until it is time to maintain it.
- Compact design that is ideal for tight spaces.
- Automatically maintains optimal humidity of between 35% and 45%.
- You can use it either manually or automatically.
- It can be challenging to install.
The Aprilaire 500 whole-home humidifier has a rating of 12 gallons per day which makes it best for houses that are up to 3,000 square feet.
2. Aprilaire – 800Z 800 Whole Home Steam Humidifier
Aprilaire – 800Z 800 is a large-capacity automatic steam humidifier with a rating of 11.5 to 34.6 gallons per day. It is suitable for spaces that are up to 6,200 square feet.
Aprilaire – 800Z 800 whole homes steam humidifier uses electrode technology to operate, minimizing installation challenges and operating costs. Additionally, it has dual sensors that monitor and respond to both indoor and outdoor relative humidity and temperature.
- Doesn’t require distilled water to operate, unlike most competitors.
- Switch between manual or automatic modes easily.
- Comes with digital displays for easy monitoring and control.
- It is costly compared to other whole-house humidifiers.
The Aprilaire – 800Z 800 is one of the best rated whole-house humidifiers on the market due to its accuracy in humidifying a home and value for money.
3. Honeywell Home HE360A1075 HE360A Whole House Humidifier
Honeywell HE360A1075 HE360A is a powered flow-through whole-house humidifier that is suitable for spaces of up to 4,200 square feet. It has an adjustable humidistat that automatically turns the unit on and off to maintain a preset humidity level.
The whole house humidifier comes with a relative humidity convertible humidity control, drain connection, saddle valve, and pad 24V transformer.
- Easy to install.
- Low maintenance. Its flow-through design helps to keep the unit clean.
- Works great in large homes.
- You will have to purchase the installation kit separately, which makes the whole unit costly.
If you want the best whole house furnace humidifier that is easy to maintain, the Honeywell HE360A1075 HE360A is worth considering.
4. AIRCARE MA1201 Whole-House Evaporative Humidifier
AIRCARE MA1201 is a console-style evaporative humidifier for houses that are up to 3,600 square feet. It has a digital humidistat that maintains a home’s desired humidity level automatically with accuracy.
When in operation, it will shut down automatically once the house reaches the desired humidity level. Some of the features of the unit include a 4-fan speed with auto-mode, digital display, auto shutoff, customizable humidity settings, and refill and check filter indicator.
- Easy to clean and maintain.
- Provides up to 36 hours of runtime.
- It can easily fit in tiny spaces.
- Requires frequent replacement of filters, which increase running costs in the long-run.
If you are looking for a whole-house humidifier that you can move from one corner to another, the AIRCARE MA1201 is what you need. It is a mobile unit that has a better output rate and can maintain your desired humidity levels.
5. GeneralAire Humidifier Unit 1042-LH
GeneralAire 1042-LH is a flow-through whole house humidifier with a rating of 17 gallons per day. It is suitable for homes that have spaces of up to 2,800 square feet.
The humidifier has a shut-off damper, UV-stable automotive-grade plastic, and manual controls. It only uses about 2.5 watts of electrical power during operation, meaning it is energy efficient.
- Has multiple installation options.
- Comes with a limited 5-year warranty.
- Easy to run. No adjustments or frequent maintenance needed.
- Can fail to maintain the desired humidity levels sometimes.
The GeneralAire 1042-LH is one of the best humidifiers you can find, especially when it comes to running costs.
Types of whole-house humidifiers
Whole-house humidifiers come in three different types:
- Bypass humidifiers: These add moisture to a room by warming air through a furnace.
- Fan-Powered humidifiers: They use fans to push air through a water tray. That helps to increase evaporation and produce more humidity.
- Steam humidifiers: They boil water using electricity to create humidity in the form of steam. They then collect the vapor and push it throughout the ventilation system.
How does a whole house humidifier work?
When powered on, a whole house humidifier continuously pumps water to a pad and onto a collecting drum that rotates and converts the water into a mist. As the furnace continues to run, part of the cycled air goes into the humidifier.
Air enters the humidifier and joins back up with the airflow in the home. The process repeats and delivers air to the rooms increasing their humidity levels.
Do whole-house humidifiers cause mold?
When used properly, whole-house humidifiers do not cause mold. Instances where mold forms are usually due to a homeowner setting the humidifier to release more moisture than needed.
You can prevent the mold problem by ensuring that the humidity level is below 60 percent at your home. The ideal amount should be about 45%, but that will depend on the outdoor temperature and how you installed the unit.
Benefits of a whole house humidifier
You will enjoy these benefits when you own a whole-house humidifier:
- Easy to maintain: Comes with a water collection mechanism that prevents liquid water from remaining in the ducts. Therefore, mold doesn’t grow.
- Easy to control: It runs automatically, making it easy to control, especially if you have a remote.
- Silent when running: It works through the furnace by way of the duct system. Since it is not in the open, it is undetectable when operating.
- Improves indoor air quality: Helps to improve indoor air quality, which is essential in reducing allergies and incidences of chapped lips, dry skin, sinus irritations, and sore throats.
Furthermore, whole house humidifiers make the living environment comfortable and can help to preserve wood furniture, floors, and other home products.
Cons of whole house humidifiers
Disadvantages of whole-house humidifiers include:
- It is expensive: The minimum amount you will have to spend on a whole-house humidifier is $150. If you add a contract for the installation, the amount increases significantly.
- Complex to install: Since these humidifiers have a complicated system of operation, you will need a professional to install them.
- Energy inefficient: Energy efficiency will depend on the type of humidifier you buy. Steam humidifiers tend to consume 14 times more energy than bypass or fan-powered units. However, both consume more energy than stand-alone humidifiers.
Although these humidifiers are easy to maintain, sometimes they collect mineral deposits, depending on your local water supply. Therefore, it warrants thorough cleaning from time to time before the deposits can harden and become challenging to remove.
When looking for the best whole house humidifier, choose one that is easy to maintain, has automatic controls, and can humidify the size of your home. Also, buy a unit that is easy to install based on the configurations of your home’s ductwork or furnace.