Pros and Cons of a Whole-Home Humidifier

September 19, 2017

Experts say that the ideal humidity level in a home is around 30 to 50 percent. So if your home is well below those levels, you’re probably considering installing a whole-home humidifier.

To help you make that decision, we’ve included the main advantages and disadvantages of whole-home humidifiers below.

Need a quote or have a specific question we didn’t answer? Just contact us— we can help with all your whole-home humidifier needs.

Whole-home humidifier pros:

1. They’re affordable.

Whole-home humidifiers are affordable in 2 ways:

  • Low upfront cost

Most people assume whole-home humidifiers are expensive to buy and install. But in reality, homeowners can find whole-home humidifiers for anywhere from $600 to $700

But if you’re tempted to save money by buying a portable humidifier, don’t.

Here’s why:portable humidifiers cost less (up to $50) but they break down often (whole-home humidifiers last 8-10 years). So imagine replacing a portable humidifier every year and you’ll quickly end up paying more for a lower quality humidifier.

  • Low operational cost
Most whole-home humidifiers don’t rely on electricity to operate (which means no change to your energy bills). But those that do require electricity usually cost only a few dollars a year to operate.

2. They operate automatically.

Many “smart” whole-home humidifiers will automatically adjust the amount of humidity based on the temperature of your home. So once it’s installed, you can forget about it and enjoy more comfortable humidity levels in your home.

Also, once a whole-home humidifier is installed, most models require very little maintenance. In fact, some models, at most, require the homeowner to fill it up with water once a year. Many models, however, are hooked up directly to the water supply so this isn’t even needed.

3. They lower your energy bills.

When there’s more moisture in the air, humans feel more comfortable in colder weather. So, when used in the winter, whole-home humidifiers allow homeowners to turn down the thermostat, which saves money on heating bills.

In fact, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that you can save 4% on heating bills for every degree lower you set your thermostat.

4. They provide comfort to the entire home.

Compared to portable humidifiers, whole-home humidifiers are hooked up to your central HVAC system which means it pushes moisture into the entire home, not just a single room.

In fact, some whole-home humidifiers can reach up to 6,200 square feet of coverage. So you should be able to easily find a whole-home humidifier that matches your home’s size.

5. They prevent damage.

Whole-home humidifiers manage your home’s humidity levels so that it falls between 30 to 50%. And when your home is in this “safe” range, it prevents low humidity problems such as:

  • Wooden structures, furniture and musical instruments splitting and cracking
  • Electronics being ruined by static electricity (static electricity is easily produced when humidity levels are under 30%)
  • Separated drywall and peeling wallpaper

6. They prevent health issues

Low humidity doesn’t just cause damage to your home, it also causes health issues. By incorporating moisture into your home’s air, a whole-home humidifier can prevent health issues such as:
  • Dry, itchy skin and throat
  • Sinus and allergy irritations
  • Vulnerability to viruses

Whole-home humidifier cons

1. They might just mask bigger problems in your home.

If your home has particularly low humidity levels, your home might be dealing with bigger issues, such as excessive air leakage, that a humidifier can only mask but not solve.

If your home has air leakage, that means cold, dry air is getting into your home via leaks in the:

  • Attic
  • Ceiling joists
  • Ductwork
  • Recessed lighting
  • Windows & doors
  • Fans
  • Fireplaces
  • Etc.

And if your home has excessive leaking, it doesn’t just make you uncomfortable, it wastes money as well. That’s because the leaks allow warm, conditioned air (that you pay for) to escape your home. 

So before you purchase a whole-home humidifier, have a professional check to see if your home could better benefit from air sealing.

2. Lower quality models can cause mold.

If you install a lower quality whole-home humidifier, it might not be designed to automatically adjust how much moisture it’s pushing into your home. And when this happens, there’s the possibility of mold growing in your air ducts and home.

You see, all mold needs to grow is darkness, humidity and dirt (to feed off of). And because your air ducts are already dark (and probably dirty), a whole-home humidifier blowing moisture through the ducts is the last ingredient needed for mold growth.

Related: How Often Should My Air Ducts Be Cleaned?

The good news is that higher quality whole-home humidifiers are designed to monitor your home’s humidity levels and outdoor temperatures. And by monitoring these 2 points, these whole-home humidifiers can provide the precise amount of moisture your home needs (never more).

Ready for the next step? Consult a Kansas City tech for advice

Interested in having a whole-home humidifier installed in your home? We can help.

Just contact us. We can send over a professional to inspect your system and give you a fair quote.

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