I am looking to have a humidifier put on my furnace - forced hot air/ac. I
also have pretty hard water in my area. The house is 2500 sf. with hard
water. Any suggestions or recommendations on what type or brand to use?
Thanks for any help. Bob
Stay away from ANYTHING that has a reservoir of standing water with a pad or
bristles rotating through it. (Herr-midifier 465, etc) They're a breeding
ground for bacteria and difficult to maintain. The old-style
spray/atomizing models (707, etc) are pretty much extinct, and should be.
All they were good for was rotting out ductwork and flooding basements.
The Aprilaire 550/660 bypass models seems to work well when mounted on the
return. They use hot water drizzled over a evaporator panel. Water that
does not evaporate is drained away, not recirculated. I have no interest in
Aprilaire, but have installed hundreds of them.
BTW, why do you feel you need a humidifier? Most homes don't need them.
I just moved into a home that has a humidifier its a Aprilaire 560 and it
appears to have leaked all over the furnace. There is that white salty looking
stuff all over the inside of the furnace. It was inspected before I moved in,
and said to be in good working order. Not sure if i should even bother starting
it up. I was wondering about your comment that most houses don't need one. I
remember when i was a kid my Mom would boil a pot a water in the winter when it
got dry in the house
When installed and/or used improperly, any humidifier will corrode ductwork.
Saturated, heated air condenses when it comes in contact with cooler metal.
Set the humidistat at a reasonable setpoint... usually under 30%. Expecting
anything more than that is impractical and will just cause the humidifier to
Check the evaporative panel in your AA560. It should be replaced every
couple of years, an easy DIY job for about $20. Open the cover and press on
the panel. If it feels crusty/crunchy, or has pieces breaking off into the
pan, it's overdue. That would explain the salty residue you describe. It
could also just be due to high mineral content in your water, but I doubt
it... only pure water evaporates, leaving the minerals behind. If the unit
leaked, that would explain alot. Check the drain line. If it's the cheap,
3/8" clear vinyl tubing that comes with the unit, seriously consider
replacing it with rigid 3/4 PVC. It's also VERY important that the
Aprilaire unit are mounted level, and I mean DEAD LEVEL. Take the time to
check it out and fix if needed.
As for my "don't need it" comment, most family activities
(cooking/bathing/cleaning/etc) create enough moisture to overcome any dry
spell. In my own forced-air, no-humidifier house, I regularly notice
condensation on the inside of my storm door and on my (polished concrete)
garage floor during the northeast winter months. If you want one because
you think you need one, fine. But, in my experience, I have seldom seen the
need for them. YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).
In these days of temperature setback at night, over
the workday, etc., I really prefer a whole-house unit
that is not coupled with the furnace function, nor in a
sight-unseen situation. Far better to have it readily
available and able to be easily cleaned, water replaced,
IOW, not put on your furnace.
One of the units I once installed had a link to the 'fan'
switch line of the furnace. The unit sat near the air return,
and delivered into the air of the house. But there was a
humidity sensor in the bedroom that could cause the furnace
fan to come on and cause the humidified air to be more
adequately distributed if the bedroom humidity got low.
The humidifier was a simple Sears unit, and we used an
Aprilaire humidistat to do the bedroom sensing.
Hey, speaking of that. I use an Aprilaire humidistat on my air
conditioning. I wire it so that it senses humidity rise instead of fall,
and it causes my A/C to be a dehumidifier, without drying the
house out so much. I keep the humidity level set at about 35%,
and the thermostat set at 73 degrees. It has considerably reduced
my electric bill. And if I come in from cutting the grass and I'd like
it to come on, I just breathe on the sensor. The humidity in my
breath kicks it on for about 10 minutes. Another dividend is that
the bathroom doesn't keep so much moisture in the summertime.
Within 35 seconds from opening the bathroom door after a shower,
the A/C kicks on and clears the excess humidity from there.
What I find amazing is that people set up dehumidifiers in their
basement, when also in that same basement is an A/C unit delivering
dehumidified air to the upstairs.
Aprilaire has one (I'm thinking model 600) with a drain, and so it won't
build up minerals. That's what my boss used to use, and folks really like
them. Take the tap about two feet over the hot water heater, on the hot leg
of the pipe.
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