Dear Comfort Advisor,
The humidifier on my furnace leaked everywhere and did considerable damage. It has always been one thing or another with this unit. Who makes a humidifier that works?!
Dear Dried out Dude,
I don’t need to tell you that humidifiers can be troublesome, but hopefully the advantages of having the proper level of humidity in the home outweigh the misery required to maintain one. The Achilles heel is the basic fact that water must evaporate to enter the air stream. Since most water has any number of minerals in solution, as soon as evaporation occurs, these stick to key components in the unit. It doesn’t take too long before the performance of the unit is compromised and maintenance or repair is required. Obviously providing better water to the unit would solve many of these problems. Unfortunately, most folks don’t invest in a water filtration and purification system because it is often more expensive than the humidifier itself. For those with a water softener who have invested in better water quality, the introduction of salt (which many softeners use) is counterproductive and will make matters worse. A poly phosphate in-filter should be added to reduce mineral deposits in this instance. Reverse osmosis filter systems are really the best for most humidifiers and ice machines of all types.
As for the humidifier itself, this is also a sizable investment and I suggest doing your homework. The actual GPD (gallons per day) varies with the design of the unit. There are charts and programs available to properly size humidifiers. There are also homes and businesses with special requirements such as log homes and business with a large amount of computers and electronics. Maintaining a consistant 35% relative humidity is better for the homes structure, wood floors, furniture and certainly the people that live in the home. Reducing static electrical charge will benefit all electronic gear that we are surrounded by in our homes and offices.
When choosing a humidifier, the style and the amount of money you dish out will ultimately determine how well the system will perform. If your health is on the line, or very expensive furniture is in jeopardy then you want a steam humidifier. These models outperform any other design but come with a higher price for initial purchase, maintenance, and electrical use. They will maintain a perfect level of humidity no matter the outside conditions. If it would be nice to have a bit more humidity in the home then a bypass style or power humidifier will probably get the job done. These units evaporate water by using the outlet air temperature of the heater. With a gas furnace that’s not too bad, but a heat pump this limits the evaporation rate and thus performance. If you have questions on the proper application of these products give us a call. As always good advice and estimates are free at AirWorks.