Humidifier

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  #1  
Old 11-28-00, 06:10 AM
pon1
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Unhappy

I live in a new home (less than 1 yr old) in Michigan. Last Spring I had a household humidifier installed on my furnace (80% effeciency furnace- not sure of the maker). The humidifier is a General 1042 (trickle down type - no drum). With the temperature below freezing outside, the damper on the humidifier all the way open and, the humidistat at the highest setting, I'm only able to get my home humidity level to 30%. My home is around 2400 sq/ft (not including an unfinished walk-out basement). I was assured by the installer that this model would be able to humidify a 3600 sq/ft home. I've since had the installer back who has examined the humidifier and, found nothing wrong. I'm not sure what my next course of action should be. Any tips/info would be greatly appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-28-00, 08:43 AM
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The first thing I would do is verify what the installer said
about the rating. Either call another company or call the factory to confirm that it is a properly sized unit. If it is then mention your problem and ask for suggestions, the factory in particular should be interested in getting your problem resolved, think of all the bad publicity now that we know what brand it is. Perhaps another serviceman at the installing company may find what one missed. Do not let them off the hook because they came out and said it checked out fine. If they sold you the unit and installed it should be working like it is supposed to. If you cannot get results, complain to the factory about the poor service you are getting from their rep.Tenacity usually pays off. Remember,if you start fiddling with it and it is still under warranty they may accuse you of mucking it up. Good luck.
 
  #3  
Old 11-28-00, 08:53 AM
pon1
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Humidifier

Schiejr,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I have written the manufacturer and, received a form with additional "questions" about my home, etc. This was four months ago and, I've heard nothing from them since. I guess I'll have to continue on to the "mud slinging" phase?!? One thing I do find peculiar though is that my neighbor (same style house) is having the exact same problem with a different humidifier (drum style). Just coincidence?
 
  #4  
Old 11-28-00, 09:16 AM
pon1
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Hi Schiejr,

One other thing I forgot to ask: Could the problem be that my furnace isn't hot enough to get the proper evaporation out of the humidifier filter? In other words, if the humidifier I have is based on a 140 degree Plenum temp and, my furnace is only putting out a 100 degree Plenum temp, wouldn't the unit have a harder time fulfilling it's stated claims by the manufacturer?
 
  #5  
Old 11-29-00, 06:06 PM
fjrachel
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30% humidity at +20F sounds about right. It is the recomended setting for Aprilaire by-pass type humidifiers. The unit may be doing what it is sopposed to. If your installer used a current relay to supply power to the humidifier, you may increase your humidity level by allowing the fan to run. Dry air will absorb humidity without the heat on.
 
  #6  
Old 11-29-00, 08:03 PM
pon1
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Thank you for your reply fjrachel. I have tried running the fan constantly and, it has only resulted in about 1 to 2 percent increase in the total humidity level. I have hardwood floors in the house and, the warranty for them could become invalid if the household humidity level is not kept between 35 - 50 percent. Also, the manufacturer's website (for my GeneralAire humidifier) recommmends a total household humidity level in this same range. I would expect that the unit (which also is supposed to be able to reach this humidity level for my size home) should be more than capable of handling the job. I guess I'll have to contact my installer again and see what he can do about getting me a humidifier that will properly humidify my home. After all, he installed it and, recommened this unit as one that could do the job properly.
 
  #7  
Old 11-30-00, 04:02 PM
fjrachel
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Is your humidifier wired to come on with the fan only? If it was wired to the humidifier option on your furnace control board or to the W leg of your control wiring, the humidifier is only on when the heat is on and burners heating. I've always installed them with a current magnetic relay on the common leg of the fan which will allow the humidifier to work with or without the heat.
 
  #8  
Old 12-01-00, 06:16 AM
pon1
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That's a good idea. I'll check the wiring. I still think it's rediculous to go through all of this junk after paying someone to do the job in the first place. I don't want to mess with the unit because I'm currently trying to get the installer to accept the repsonsibility of making it "right". When/If the installer comes out I'll ask them to wire the humidifier so that it comes on when the fan comes on. Thanks for your input.
 
  #9  
Old 12-08-00, 12:44 AM
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fjrachel- thanks for the expert advice on this. Let us know what happens pon1.
 
  #10  
Old 12-09-00, 06:02 AM
pon1
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Here's an updated status so far: I called the installer and, as usual, they tried to blame the problem on something else. This time they suggested I replace the filter. I assured them that wasn't the problem because the unit never worked as promised in the first place. Anyhow, I replaced the filter (which was pretty nasty and needed replacing anyway) with zero improvement in the humidity level so far. I replaced the filter yesterday and, will give it a few days to do it's job. So far it's 20 degrees outside and, the humidity level is at 27% today. My children are walking around with Christmas tree tinsel stuck to their backs! I assured the installer that I'd be calling them on Monday (I spoke with them on Friday) because I would still be having problems at that time. They just told me to replace the filter and, we'd go from there. We'll see what they say next. I just don't get it?!? There's air flowing through the filter and, the water supply is sufficient.
 
  #11  
Old 12-09-00, 06:46 AM
fjrachel
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Very sorry about your delema.. Go to General's web site: http://www.generalfilters.com Click on humidifiers. They have a very through spec. sheet on yours and other humidifiers they sell. Plus installation pictorals and instructions, how to figure out what type of unit you may need. Too many HVAC companies do not calculate specs. for humidifier installations and figure that one size fits all. For an average house your humidifier will do close to 3000sq. ft., but for a loose house only alittle more than 2000 sq. ft.
Please go to their site. Be an informed consumer.
 
  #12  
Old 12-09-00, 07:39 AM
pon1
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Thanks for the input fjrachel. However, I've been to their website several times and, I'm using their spec sheets as the basis for my argument. They say the model I have should be able to maintain a humidy level of 35 to 50 percent. I'm using the 'tight' to 'moderate' measurement for judging my home because it's less than one year old and, I personally made sure (during the construction) that there was adiquate insulation/caulk used throughout the house (some of which I did personally). Acutually, I would call my house 'extemely tight'. But, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I value it as 'moderate'(by the way, I do have a make-up air unit which is, by law, necessary in Michigan). Based on these measures I should easily be able to maintain the humidy level claimed by the manufacturer (which is all I want!). By the way, the humidy level is now down to 25 percent! Thanks to you and all who have contributed to my post. It's been very helpful to me and hopefully, others who have read it as well. I'll keep you all posted on the progress and, update you with the remedy (if I ever get there!).
 
  #13  
Old 12-09-00, 08:55 AM
fjrachel
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I would think that if your home is very tight and you have fresh air make up on your return, your problem may very well be furnace run time. Your home sq. footage comes no where near the spec. for their tight home. Your furnace probably does not run long enough. Yes, it heats the house quickly and saves on fuel bills, but may not run long enough to humidify. In their tight specs, your unit will do up to 4500 sf. A house that large would cause a single furnace to run quite abit longer and not many homes that large have a single system. Their would be two systems and each one would have a humidifier. Which brings us back to having a current sensing relay installed on the blower common so that you may run your fan w/o the heat to reach proper humidity levels. I've run into this problem before with very tight homes and that did solve it.













 
  #14  
Old 12-09-00, 02:00 PM
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Not emough humidity,
I was surprised at how high a humidity the floor guy says is needed.
As it gets Colder in Mich you will need LESS Humidity.
Very Few Structures can handle 35 to 50 percent humidity when it gets real cold out. Watch your windows for condensation forming. This will be an indicator that you have TOO MUCH HUMIDITY, if it continues water will form in your walls and damage the house.
Now to get more humidity for the warmer weather fine.
Make sure the humidifier is able to run with just the furnace blower on. Then set the fan switch on the thermostat to ON. Also using Hot water to supply the humidifier helps(April Air suggested that one).
Lower temptures in the house will increase the humidty right away.
Good Luck
Mr Foster
Chicago Heating Conractor
 
  #15  
Old 12-09-00, 06:15 PM
pon1
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Thank you both for your input. I've heard that argument before (furnace not running enought to humidify home). I still believe that I should be able to achieve water on my windows if needed. I'm not coming close to this humidity setting! (there is no way I would get water on the windows at this point! My skin is like sandpaper!) I think that I'll have to take fjrachel's advice and set the humidifier to go on when the fan goes on. I don't believe that the furnace doesn't run enough (I had a technician set it for me to cycle properly because it was coming on too much! The builders are a bit sloppy sometimes.) Even so, shouldn't the installer have asked me these questions and, recommended a unit that would do the job?!? Maybe he/she should have recommended the humidifier one greater than the GeneralAire 1042?!? What it comes down to is that I paid $275 for nothing! The humidity level was roughly the same before I had the unit installed. Also, I have a 60 gallon aquarium in my living room that pretty much is contributing to what little humidity level I have!



 
  #16  
Old 12-10-00, 04:38 AM
fjrachel
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I am sorry your having such a bad experience with the humidifier. You may just have to go for the big guns and call general and have them send a company rep. out. You will have to be very insistant, but they will send one. Then they will check the installation, water, sizing, etc. I have dealt with Aprilaire reps and they have solved all problems. Sometimes it was a minor problem with the install or water. Others it was a recomendation to upgrade from by-pass to the power vented model. Either way you will be able to know exactly whats going on with your home. Good Luck.
 
  #17  
Old 12-11-00, 12:57 AM
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60 gallons? What kind of fish?
 
  #18  
Old 12-11-00, 01:19 AM
pon1
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Fresh water tropical. Gold Severums, Red Parrot fish, Bala & Irredencent sharks and, a few others here and there.
 
  #19  
Old 12-11-00, 02:27 AM
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I have several tanks myself, mostly african cichlids and live plants/livebearers right now.
 
  #20  
Old 12-11-00, 02:58 AM
pon1
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Very cool. I used to have an African cichlid tank myself. It was probably the nicest set of fish I ever had (if you ignored the occasional battles!) One of the fish was a beautiful blue & red Peacock (the likes of which I have not seen since). Unfortunately, I got sloppy in my weekly tank maintenance duties and they all succumbed to disease.
 
  #21  
Old 12-16-00, 05:18 AM
pon1
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The installer came out and inspected the unit. He's not sure what the problem is but, has ordered a new humidistat. He (the technician who came out) said the humidifier I have should easily be able to get the humidity level of my house to 50 - 60% if so desired (not that I want it that high!) He'll install the new humidistat sometime next week. I'll post an update after the install.
 
  #22  
Old 12-19-00, 09:32 AM
pon1
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Update: New humidistat was installed on 12/18 (in the AM). I also had the technician wire it to come on with the fan. I have been running the fan constantly and, the humidistat is set to 60% (I have to crank it all the way up to get anything at all). It's now 12/19 (in the PM) and, the humidity is at a whopping 24% (25 degrees outside). I told the technician (and I use this term loosely) that I'd like to have at least 35 to 40 percent humidity (if it were too much then I could turn it down). He said "Well, the human comfort level is 30% and my humidistat says it's 31% in here." I said "Yeah, that's because you're holding it! My humidistat (I have a hand-held unit as well) does the same thing when I hold it." He then said "You have a lot of wood in this house. The wood will absorb all the humidity that the humidifier is putting out." I informed him that the person I talked to on the phone (that sold me the unit) said this unit would be able to handle the job for my house/conditions. Sounds like more excuses to me. Should I tell them to take the piece of junk back and, give me a bigger unit? Also, I'm going to try and hook up the hot water to the unit as well.
 
  #23  
Old 12-19-00, 05:01 PM
fjrachel
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Ahh, phone sales... No one came to check it out first. Junk it. Try the Aprilaire 768 series power humidifier. It will put moisture on the windows.
 
  #24  
Old 12-19-00, 07:49 PM
pon1
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Actually, it wasn't a phone sale. We called around and found an installer near us that could do the job (suppossedly). I'm now going to attempt the impossible and, ask for my money back. I'm not holding my breath. I'm going to try your recommendation and get the Aprilaire humidifier. Also, I'm going to get EVERYTHING in writting before the installation of the Aprilaire. Thanks.
 
  #25  
Old 12-20-00, 05:32 AM
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If it was my house, I would just add more fish tanks. Good luck fighting them.
 
  #26  
Old 12-20-00, 05:44 AM
hp500efi
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Get another unit

As another member suggested, I would get an Aprilaire 768 humidifier. This is a fan powered humidifer that has an automatic control that senses outside air temperature as well as indoor humidity and automatically adjusts the humidifier to maintain a preferred humidity.

I would tell the installer that if he can not get the unit to achieve 45% on a 25 degree day, that you demand another brand such as the 768.



 
  #27  
Old 12-20-00, 06:10 AM
pon1
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Thanks for the input everyone. Along with the additional fish tanks I could also stock up on Vaseline & Chapstick! In fact, I do believe I have some Vaseline left over from when the installer reamed me. Now...who wants to call the installer for me?!? Anyone? Darn it! By the way, how much more expensive is the AprilAire 768 compared to other humidifiers (like the piece of junk I paid $275 for)?
 
  #28  
Old 12-20-00, 06:36 AM
hp500efi
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Pon, you didnt here it from me but contractors cost on the Aprilaire 768 is around $ 160.00. I am sure that this unit is more $$ than the one you purchased. But why not have something that is going to work. I would even be willing to pay the contractor the extra $$ for the unit ONLY and have him absorb the labor.



 
  #29  
Old 12-20-00, 06:43 AM
pon1
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Good point hp500ef. I'll see what I can finagle out of the installer. You may be right. I may have to purchase the unit separately from an AprilAire dealer and, have the installer put it in for free.
 
  #30  
Old 12-20-00, 07:10 AM
hp500efi
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pon, let me know if you are getting reamed on the Aprilaire 768. I may be able to help another homeowner out.

You may run into a problem as contractor B may not want to just sell you the unit without installing it. As his profit is into labor as well.

That or, get all your money back from contractor A and then hire contractor B to put in the 768. I would tell contractor A that if he refuses to work with you in solving the problem, that you will take it to the media etc....

I cant see the contractor debating the issue over a few $$. He has already lost more money than he made. He may just want to bow out of the situation. You as a consumer should be able to get much satisifaction by contacting the manufacture and let them know that you are displeased. With todays technology (internet) manufactures cringe when bad tastes hit the internet as it spreads like wild fire. Your (1) post proves that.

Good Luck.

 
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