A whole-home humidifier introduces humidity to your home by converting water into vapor. This vapor is dispersed to your entire home via the ductwork in your heating and air conditioning system. Maintaining an adequate and consistent humidity level can benefit both your body and your home.
Cold weather leads to low indoor humidity for a couple of reasons. First, the humidity during winter months is typically lower. Second, your furnace removes a lot of moisture from your home when it heats the air cycling through your heating system. This leads to the problem of low indoor humidity. Any humidity level below 30% can lead to problems.
Low humidity causes dry skin, dry eyes, and it dries up mucous membranes in your respiratory system that help fend off particles like dust and allergens. This means your body is more susceptible to illnesses like the common cold, flu, and other illnesses if your home has low humidity. Low humidity can also damage organic items in your home like leather and natural wood. Organizations like the National Wood Flooring Association recommends using a humidifier in the winter months to minimize gaps and cracks in hardwood floors.
We would refer you to the Mayo Clinic, which recommends maintaining a humidity level in the 30-50% range year-round. Where you should fall in this range is dependent on your own body and home. Most of our customers maintain a 35% humidity level in their homes. During extreme cold (below 10F), it is normal for frost to accumulate on some windows, so adjust humidity levels lower to avoid this.
The fun-sized humidifiers one can purchase from a big box store do a fine job for one room. But humidifying a whole home with one is impossible and would be an immense hassle. On top of having to add water to them at least once every day, they also are difficult to clean and can cause mold and mildew in their immediate vicinity. A whole home humidifier is essentially maintenance free. One Hour recommends replacing the water panel annually, which can be done as an add-on to a fall precision furnace tune-up by One Hour. Some high-end humidifiers are virtually completely maintenance-free.
The vast majority of houses that One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning services in Lee’s Summit and Greater Kansas City will do just fine with a bypass humidifier. Our most popular unit is the Aprilaire 600 humidifier. This is a whole-home solution that will add 0.7 gallons of water to your home’s air. It does this by turning water into vapor and introducing it into the air cycling through your heating system. An Aprilaire 600 humidifier can humidify homes up to 4,000 square feet. Larger homes or homes which require a more robust solution should consider a steam humidifier, which can condition a home upwards of 6,200 square feet.
Most modern thermostats measure humidity and display it via a smartphone app or directly on the thermostat display. If your thermostat doesn’t have this capability, you can purchase a hygrometer from most hardware stores or online.