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Whole house humidification

This topic contains 17 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Doobie 11 months ago.

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  • #603842

    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    Its winter in Indiana…which means its dry as it can possibly be. I know we have a ton of members that can relate to this.

    We run a small humidifier in one of the kids rooms when necessary, but it doesn’t help the rest of the house at all.

    I’ve discovered that there are several different types of whole house humidifiers that work in different ways. Does anyone have experience with specific types/models that they could share?

    My house is a 1550 sf ranch with vaulted ceilings. We have a down draft forced air HVAC system in the garage that has easy access to water, a drain line and electricity. All of the ducting is the insulated plastic bag type…no metal aside from the body of the air handler itself and a couple feet above and below.

    My wife hates the dry air, so I need to do something here. What are your suggestions?

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #603846

    Boschmanbrian
    Pro
    Montreal , QC, Canada

    Good topic, we have the same problem in Canada,
    I have the typical forced air heating system, with a heat pump,
    Also the automatic drip type humidifier
    And also an air exchanger.
    The air exchange is every hour for about 5 or ten minutes.
    And the humidifier rums as needed, it’s hooked up to our thermostat,
    I would suggest this type as not those drum type,
    After a few weeks you have to clean those drum type, or add some sort of chemical to treat water for either calcium build up or otherwise.

    Regardless the drip type still need periodic cleaning, and replacements filters.

    This is the unit we have, if you need better pictures of the installation I can get more

    #603848

    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    Good topic, we have the same problem in Canada,
    I have the typical forced air heating system, with a heat pump,
    Also the automatic drip type humidifier
    And also an air exchanger.
    The air exchange is every hour for about 5 or ten minutes.
    And the humidifier rums as needed, it’s hooked up to our thermostat,
    I would suggest this type as not those drum type,
    After a few weeks you have to clean those drum type, or add some sort of chemical to treat water for either calcium build up or otherwise.

    Regardless the drip type still need periodic cleaning, and replacements filters.

    This is the unit we have, if you need better pictures of the installation I can get more

    this is the best type to use, but in my instance, I would like to move so I am not going to put the money in a whole house humidifier and I just use the largest humidifier in the main floor and it seems to work well.

    #603865

    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Pro
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    In our climate in newer homes, Humidifiers are not typically necessary. I recommend against them. In the cold humidity in a house much over 25% causes forms on the interior of even the best windows. We are typically fighting to much humidity and do not need to add to it. Even with running bath fans and an air exchanger, at times we even use a dehumidifier. for the sfew days that the humidity drops to low, we just deal with it as they are few and far between.

    In older homes that are not as tight, it was customary to add humidity to the air as humid air has more mas and is easier to heat.

    Depending on the age of the house and how tight it is, adding humidity could causl problems,

    #603869

    Boschmanbrian
    Pro
    Montreal , QC, Canada

    In our climate in newer homes, Humidifiers are not typically necessary. I recommend against them. In the cold humidity in a house much over 25% causes forms on the interior of even the best windows. We are typically fighting to much humidity and do not need to add to it. Even with running bath fans and an air exchanger, at times we even use a dehumidifier. for the sfew days that the humidity drops to low, we just deal with it as they are few and far between.

    In older homes that are not as tight, it was customary to add humidity to the air as humid air has more mas and is easier to heat.

    Depending on the age of the house and how tight it is, adding humidity could causl problems,

    True, good point, most new homes that are built, the builder recommend not using the humidifier for the first two winters,because of all the humidity in the materials, but after that, it’s all depends on how the owners use the air exchanger and heating system.
    With the homes being built tightly, it’s recommend to exchange the air regularly.

    #603873

    Doobie
    Pro
    Ajax, ON

    We just upgraded our furnace and humidifier this past summer to a power vented high efficiency furnace along with a drip/flow-thru style humidifier. We had a drum style for the past 16 years and it’s funny, but I was just discussing with my wife this morning the noticed changes since last year now that we are approaching the halfway mark of our winter here in Ontario, so your inquiry is timely.

    Maybe I should mention the furnace blower is much stronger than our old contractor/entry level furnace that we had before that came with our 1969 house that was put in by the previous owner just before we bought the house 16 years ago. It has a a multi speed fan and when it is on high, man does that thing blow compared to our old one. It’s not like you can blow dry your hair standing near a vent, but it really is a significant difference. I only mention this aspect as it may have a bearing on why the humidifier works differently on that merit alone, but I do not know if it has any bearing at all. In other words, would we have the same differences I’m about to mention about the humidifier differences had we simply just changed the humidifier and had the same old furnace, I have no clue.

    The new humidifier as mentioned is a flow thru type. Change the filter once every year or two years per the furnace installer, that’s all the maintenance it needs whereas the old drum style needed period cleanings throughout the season and the annual ‘pac–up’ at the end of the season and the reset up at the start of each winter season which involved turning off the water feed, emptying the tray, giving a good 2 day vinegar bath to all components in contact with the water, and blocking the detour vent that channels off part of the exhaust vent from the furnace to run thru the drum style humidifier, and reassembling the drum unit to be ready for the following season. In the fall, unblock the detour vent, turn on the water and make sure the shut off float is properly sealing as the tray fills up – it is a little finicky getting the float in right and if you do it wrong – water would overflow the tray and make a big mess if left unattended.

    I should also mention our older humidifier had a control unit wired to the upstairs. You had to adjust it periodically over the course of the winter whether you were going thru a colder period or a warmer period as otherwise you would be getting not enough humidity, or you were getting too much and the windows would be ‘bleeding’ which can attract mold forming at the bottom of the window near where the rubber gasket is over the course of the winter which is another maintenance chore that was fun to do in the spring.

    Well, the new one is very much different in all aspects. First, no more bleeding windows. The new control is automatic and requires no fiddling at all over the course of the winter. In fact, I never even needed to turn it on. It just does it on its own.

    Another noticeable difference is the fact that by usually this time of year I would start to get chapped lips and cracked hands. Hasn’t happened yet this year and it’s not because of how much time I’ve spent outside versus inside this year versus last year in my estimation.

    No more BS maintenance and cleaning either. Big plus! I would get lazy cleaning that tray and drum filter on the old one and shamefully not do it as often as required during the winter season it was in use. When you leave those units uncleaned it builds up to a real scummy pool of what is probably a bacteria infested swamp and is likely not good for our health.

    But one thing I have noticed that was concerning me a tad, and maybe somebody else can answer this one for me, when the unit is on, the drain off water that runs thru the system drains into my main basement water floor drain via an underground buried plastic pipe which also drains the water from the furnace during the summer months when the A/C is on. I find the amount of water going thru is kinda a lot when it is running. We hear it regularly as this drain is in our laundry room, so I was saying to my wife this morning that come this week I’m gonna call the company we bought all this from and ask whether the water is set on too high a flow rate. Another thought along those lines is that we haven’t had our water bill yet that I can do any meaningful comparison to this period last year, but that in itself once we do get it may be a surprise in itself. Typically, we pay $2XX a quarter during the winter months for our water/sewer charges by the municipality we live in.

    Now do you want to hear something funny? When I went down to take a pic of our unit for you, I happen to notice after I took the first pic and went and got a light for better illumination that there was a flapper lever that had the unit set to summer which I’ve now toggled to the winter setting. Despite that, the unit seems to have worked marvelously anyways. Go figure.

    Kevin.

    Support your local VIKING.

    #603878

    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    Thanks for the testimonials guys. I was pretty sure that the drum type wasn’t what I wanted….now I’m convinced.

    @boschmanbrian, what is the purpose of your air exchanger running the 5-10 minutes per hour?

    Is this independent of the thermostatic demand?

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #603882

    Doobie
    Pro
    Ajax, ON

    I just determined the humidier is very much contrllable via the furnace control pad. Didn’t realize that prior to now.

    Kevin.

    Support your local VIKING.

    #603884

    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    I just determined the humidier is very much contrllable via the furnace control pad. Didn’t realize that prior to now.

    What kind of thermostat is that? I’m considering going with a Nest or similar unit when I make this upgrade.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #603886

    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Pro
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    I just determined the humidier is very much contrllable via the furnace control pad. Didn’t realize that prior to now.

    What kind of thermostat is that? I’m considering going with a Nest or similar unit when I make this upgrade.

    The building codes require a specific amount of air to be exchanged each hour. in older houses this was basically accomplished by leakage. In hewer tighter houses, it is done by a mechanical system such as an air exchanger. Depending on the size of the house, the air exchanger may run for a few minutes an hour to continuous on a low setting depending on the CFM required for the intake of fresh air.

    #603887

    Doobie
    Pro
    Ajax, ON

    I just determined the humidier is very much contrllable via the furnace control pad. Didn’t realize that prior to now.

    What kind of thermostat is that? I’m considering going with a Nest or similar unit when I make this upgrade.

    DON’T! The company that we went with for the furnace and A/C said they used to use the NEST thermostat, which are cool in that you could operate it remotely away from home which my Daikin control you cannot, but said they had no end of problems with them and stopped installing them.

    We looked at a whole bunch of brands of furnaces and A/Cs and the brand we went with which cost us a little bit more than any other was the Daikin. When I did my research, I quickly discovered they are a huge worldwide company and are very particular with whom they authorize to sell them. They had a stainless steel ‘burner’ and they were the only ones that offered a 12 year parts and replacement full warranty. Next closest was Trane and a few others with only 8 years.

    I can control that Daikin thermostat from my PC or mobile device, but I have to be within range at home. It is very programmable. We’re very happy with our purchase decision all around. Furnace, A/C and a 60 gal direct power vent Bradford White Defender water heater ran us near 12K and the water heater we’ve never ran cold so far. I also thought the install was very well done. All got done in one day. Now I have the old chimney column I can get rid of upstairs in our dining room when I renovate that area.

    Kevin.

    Support your local VIKING.

    #603892

    Boschmanbrian
    Pro
    Montreal , QC, Canada

    Thanks for the testimonials guys. I was pretty sure that the drum type wasn’t what I wanted….now I’m convinced.

    @boschmanbrian, what is the purpose of your air exchanger running the 5-10 minutes per hour?

    Is this independent of the thermostatic demand?

    It is independent, and the same time separately controlled if I feel,
    It’s basically just to recirculating the air in the home, it’s been a government standard here in Quebec since 1993 ish I believe.

    It depends on the installation of the units and installer.

    Great system, my controller is not the WiFi unit, didn’t really need it.
    But it’s fully controlled by program, or even a small Sim card.

    #603898

    Boschmanbrian
    Pro
    Montreal , QC, Canada

    Thanks for the testimonials guys. I was pretty sure that the drum type wasn’t what I wanted….now I’m convinced.

    @boschmanbrian, what is the purpose of your air exchanger running the 5-10 minutes per hour?

    Is this independent of the thermostatic demand?

    It is independent, and the same time separately controlled if I feel,
    It’s basically just to recirculating the air in the home, it’s been a government standard here in Quebec since 1993 ish I believe.

    It depends on the installation of the units and installer.

    Great system, my controller is not the WiFi unit, didn’t really need it.
    But it’s fully controlled by program, or even a small Sim card.

    We went with the typical carrier system, and thermostat

    The white box on the right is the new controller for the system, the one on the left is for the old humidifier controller that was originally installed on the heating system?

    The big white box is obviously the air exchanger, and it also drains the water with the humidifier water to a plumbing drain,

    #603981

    smallerstick
    Pro
    Listowel, ON

    I just determined the humidier is very much contrllable via the furnace control pad. Didn’t realize that prior to now.

    What kind of thermostat is that? I’m considering going with a Nest or similar unit when I make this upgrade.

    There have been comments on smart thermostats before, I believe. Seems to me the consensus then was towards the Ecobee. Nest is now part of Google and product support and updates to the software are in question.

    Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm.
    ...... Winston Churchill

    #603994

    58Chev
    Pro
    Etobicoke, ON

    I installed a flow though GeneralAire Model 1042LH Legacy Humidifier about 5 years ago

    It has helped with the humidity levels in my home.
    I do not use a smart stat just a regular programmable digital one from LUX.

    “If you don’t pass on the knowledge you have to others, it Dies with you”
    — Glenn Botting

    #604037

    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    @boschmanbrian do you have a newer house? at one point I thought i might need the air exchanger as well as a whole house humidification but was told since my house was older, it didn’t need the air exchange since it wasn’t built as airtight as newer homes are.

    I just determined the humidier is very much contrllable via the furnace control pad. Didn’t realize that prior to now.

    What kind of thermostat is that? I’m considering going with a Nest or similar unit when I make this upgrade.

    There have been comments on smart thermostats before, I believe. Seems to me the consensus then was towards the Ecobee. Nest is now part of Google and product support and updates to the software are in question.

    nest isn’t bad, I’ve only ever had one problem with it being some sort of software update issue where it messed with all the nests causing them to shut down and not work.

    #604040

    Boschmanbrian
    Pro
    Montreal , QC, Canada

    @r-ice, the house was built in 2005,
    But it’s been a law in Quebec for anyone building a home after I think it was 1993 that because of the tightly built new standards,
    You have to have a air exchanger,

    #604250

    Doobie
    Pro
    Ajax, ON

    But one thing I have noticed that was concerning me a tad, and maybe somebody else can answer this one for me, when the unit is on, the drain off water that runs thru the system drains into my main basement water floor drain via an underground buried plastic pipe which also drains the water from the furnace during the summer months when the A/C is on. I find the amount of water going thru is kinda a lot when it is running. We hear it regularly as this drain is in our laundry room, so I was saying to my wife this morning that come this week I’m gonna call the company we bought all this from and ask whether the water is set on too high a flow rate.

    Just a follow up from my previous concerns about our flow-thru humidifier and the water flow rate being too high possibly. I just got off the phone with a service tech at the company from where we had ours installed and she said that there is no flow rate adjustment and that is was rated as passing up to 12 gallons a day.

    So I guess there is nothing to do in that regard and now we’ll wait to see if our water bill when it comes in is super high for this time of the year versus last year when we had the old pan/drum style.

    Kevin.

    Support your local VIKING.

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