Are home humidifers a bad thing?

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We live in the cold Saskatchewan, Canada climate and we don't have a humidifier (our home used to, but it corroded out so I removed it) to moisten the dry winter air. I haven't notice much of a problem with dry air in winter time, but that might just be me. Would higher humidity be better for our home ? This website says not:: http://www.empireservice.com/humidifiers.htm .
They state: "Humidifiers can help you fight the problems of dry air in the winter months. If you want to cut down on static electricity, dry skin and cracking furniture - and feel warmer - a humidifier's the perfect answer. I pulled this statement off a major air conditioning suppliers website. While it is true that Humidifiers do help you breath, they can cause a lot of damage and that damage can make it impossible to breath."
Anyone have input on this discussion?
Howie
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I only know what works for me. More humidity, more comfort. I also keep it very clean a sit is a room type, not a built in. True, you are potentially supplying a place for mold spores to grow but if the water is changed often, a conditioner is used, and the unit cleaned frequently, it will lessen or eliminate the problem.
OTOH, I cannot understand why people have candles, air fresheners, oils, sprays, and other pretty smelling things in their air. If you can smell it, you are breathing it and it is getting on your furnishings. No thanks. I'd rather eliminate the source of the odor.
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thanks Edwin, you prefer the room type humidifier ... anyone else have input?

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Cory wrote:

I have spray type controlled by humidistat in reference to outside temp. Today inside the house, R.H. is ~30%. Tony
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This one works well for me. I have a functioning antique humidifier on the furnace that does an OK job but this one supplements the furnace unit when it can't keep up.
http://www.iaqsource.com/index.php?module=product&prod_cat=0&prod_mfg &prod_sub_cat=0&prod_idF7 ---------------------------- http://tinyurl.com/coapc
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Don't know if you can get them in Canada, but this is a nice one:
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId8480-41097-MA1406&lpage=none
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We used to have one at the farm years ago, it was kind of a pain filling with water, but it worked...

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId8480-41097-MA1406&lpage=none
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What they say about the spray type I generally agree with. Some of what they say about the bypass type is true. However, some of what they list as a negative, eg float valves, are not used in good units, like Aprilaire. With fan powered units, they make claims that are absurd and draws their credibility into question:
"The motor that powers the filter is one of the most inefficient motors on the market. The little motor can use as much or more electricity that the blower moving the air throughout the home."
Does anyone believe that a little 4 inch fan can use as much power as the main furnace blower?
The electric element type they talk about I have never seen and didn't even know they exist.
I've had an Aprilaire 760 for about 6 years now and am very happy with it. There is no question the house feels much more comfortable in the winter. This model is the fan powered type that mounts on the hot air plenum. It has no float, no rotating media. The water enters via a solenoid valve and trickles down over a media element, which a small fan blows air through You just replace this element when needed, which takes 5 mins. I typically go 2 seasons with one element. They cost about $8. The unit also has an outside temp sensor, which will back off the humidity as the outside temp drops.
Bottom line, buy a quality unit like the Aprilaire 760 and maintain it by servicing it at the end of each season and you can get the benefits without problems.
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I bought a by-pass model, with the float valve (http://www.thermolec.com/pdf/Manuel%20inst%20%20200D,M200%20M240.pdf )... comments? I think I might just take it back... what do you guys think about this model?
Howie
PS - I have another forum discussing this as well check it out: http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t $9183

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"I bought a by-pass model, with the float valve (http://www.thermolec.com/pdf/Manuel%20inst%20%20200D,M200%20M240.pdf )...
comments? I think I might just take it back... what do you guys think about this model? "
I'm not a fan of the bypass models, nor of units that keep a pool of water sitting around with a float. The bypass models do cut down on the blower capacity of the furnace by short circuiting some of the air flow. And they send concentrated moist air into the hot heat exchanger which is made of steel, which sounds like it could lead to rust. The pool of water is a place for bacteria to grow.
The cost of a real good unit, like the Aprilaire 760 isn't that much more than the cost of a crappy unit.
Also, some good points were raised about possible damage from excess humidity. I don't think that is a problem as long as you don't overdo it by setting the humidity too high. Also, if you plan on going away for some period of time and setting the temp back a lot, then I would set the humdity lower or turn the unit off a couple days ahead of time. A house with say 50% humidity will go a lot higher when it cools down.
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A 6" round bypass humidifier will only take a maximum of about 100 CFM from the main trunk duct system.

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Cory wrote:

That drum type, never worked for me well enough. I always installed spray type. I have spare nozzle handy always. When it plugs up, I replace it with spare and dunk the plugged up one in a small bowl filled with CLR to clean it out. Tony
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Tony,
So what do you say about the websites comments on the Spray type (see below)?
"These humidifiers spray a light mist into the air stream just past the heat exchanger. This are the worst of the worst. The water can get pushed into the duct work causes a prime place for mold an mildew to grow. The water can flood the home. Every single one of these that we have ever installed has caused water damage. The damage usually occurs between 1 and 5 years after installation and is the result of calcium buildup on the spray nozzle tip. The calcium interferers with the nozzles ability to create an aerosol spray. Water drips into the air stream causing extensive damage. Do not use these."
???
Howie
PS - I appreciate the input!

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Cory wrote:

It has spray compartment with filter/mesh in front. Never had described problem. Came with spare nozzle. The bypass drum type has stale water sitting in the pan collecting fungi and dust, etc. which is nuisance for sure. Long time ago, Sears used to sell drum type with continuing water flow to prevent stale water. Made by Hobart. Wonder why they quit selling(msaking?) it. Anyhow humidifier is a necessity in the Prairie winter. Maybe more so in Alberta where R.H. is almost zero. Tony
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If you have antique furniture or get static sparks a humidifier will help. Many modern tight homes dont need a humidifier. If you have condensation on glass humidity is to high. Get a good digital humidistat and check your level.
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Cory wrote:

Better for you? Maybe. Better for the home? Probably not. Unless you're home is very well sealed and has a good vapor barrier that additional moisture can migrate through the walls and ceiling and condense in the insulation and/or framing and sheathing and cause rot.
R
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Our home was built in 1975, so it might not have the best in terms of vapour barrier and being very well sealed.
Howie

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Adding humidity is a good thing up to a certain percentage. Too much humidity can cause condensation, which can lead to other problems. 50% humidity is never going to be a problem. Get an Aprilaire model that has an outside sensor, and you should have no problem. It will keep your furniture from drying out, and make you feel warmer.

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50% humidity can be way to high , Pellas dual LowEargon condense at 35% at 10f outside. Humidity is correctly determined by outside temps relative to interior condensation. That is why the April air units with exterior thermometer that auto adjust humidity to temp are the best, you set it to when no condensation occurs and it auto tracks a proper range all heating season.
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Cory wrote:

Then 2x4 studs? Code then was not as strict as now. Insulation is less, all kinds of air leaks. My house is built on R2000 spec. air tight house. 80,000BTU furnace is more than enough for heating ~3000 sq. ft. 2 storey house. Building cost little more but it was worth it. Tony
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