Not enough humidity

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Old 01-12-11, 09:48 AM
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Not enough humidity

I'm having the same problem as described in post "Aprilaire 600 - not enough humidity / operation questions" but I don't want to hijack that post so I'll start a new one (not sure of proper etiquette). My furnace only runs in short bursts and does not appear to run long enough for the humidifier to effectively raise the humidity in the house. I hooked this unit up only 4-5 hours ago and confirmed that it is in fact running but, the humidity in my house has either stayed exactly the same or, at one point, actually went down. Any suggestions on how to remedy this or should I just wait a few days for the humidity to slowly rise? How long does it normally take to increase the humidity? Would it be better to use my EAC terminal rather than my HUM terminal so then I can run the fan and humidifier all day, until the desired humidity level is reached? Thanks for any guidance!
 
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Old 01-12-11, 06:27 PM
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you can do that but there are concerns when doing so. such as the humidifier running too much and slimming the pad and creating a water leak. also not remembering to shut it off during cooling season
 
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Old 01-12-11, 09:33 PM
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You need to wait a few days for the system to catch up. Wood, carpet, and other stuff in the house needs to soak in the humidity.
 
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Old 01-13-11, 05:17 AM
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Ok, thank you. I'll give it a few days to see what happens.
 
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Old 01-22-11, 04:36 AM
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Good Morning,

It has been about 10 days since I installed my humidifier and while the humidity level has increased, it has done so very slightly. When I installed the unit our house was 27% and now, after 10 days, it has risen to 31%. I have the dial turned all the way up on the humidistat, just trying to get anything extra that I can. I can't image that it should take this long for a humidifier to raise the humidity in my house. If anyone has any suggestions for me I would greatly appreciate the ideas. I should note that we have a relatively large house at 4,600 sq/ft and we have two HVAC units, one up and one down. I only installed one humidifier which was labeled as sufficient for 4200 sq/ft. Could that extra 400 sq ft make that much difference? Is it possible that the one HVAC unit that does not have a humidifier is just drying out the air that the humidified unit is creating? Thanks again!
 
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Old 01-22-11, 05:13 AM
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If the duct in the attic units are not sealed, it could very well dry it out on you. A leaky duct pulling in cold air will dry out the house like crazy.

Does this furnace that the humidifier is on, does it run long or a lot of short cycles?
 
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Old 01-22-11, 05:40 AM
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To me it seems like it runs a bunch of short cycles. I'm not sure what the industry definition of long or short would be but I'd say at most it will run for 5-10 mins each time it comes on. It will do this multiple times an hour.
 
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Old 01-22-11, 06:22 AM
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To me that's kinda short. What brand/model of t-stat do you have?
 
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Old 01-22-11, 06:52 AM
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It is a Honeywell and is the Pro3000 model series.
 

Last edited by ddonia; 01-22-11 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 01-22-11, 07:30 AM
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I just timed it and it ran for 6mins and 40secs. That included the 90 sec "cool down" cycle. Total "heat on" time was only 5mins and 10secs.
 
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Old 01-22-11, 07:39 AM
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And now it is running again, only 7 minutes after it ran the last cycle....that seems excessive to me. I've never really paid any attention to it in the past. The t-stat is only set to 67 degrees right now so it's not as if we are asking it to maintain a high temp.
 
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Old 01-22-11, 05:29 PM
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That seems pretty short.

Go into the t-stat's installer set up menu, starts on page 6 of this manual. and go to set up #5, and see if it's set to 3. then exit the set up menu.

Let the stat relearn for a few days to reset the cycle time.
 
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Old 01-22-11, 05:51 PM
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Thank you. It was/is set to 5, so I'll change to 3. What exactly will that do?
 
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Old 01-22-11, 06:09 PM
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This will run the furnace a bit longer. On avg of 3 times an hour vs 5 times an hour. So when the furnace runs longer it will have a chance to warm up and allow the humidifier to do it's job too.

Do you have the same stat on the other one? If so, i'd suggest setting that one to 3 as well.
 
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Old 01-23-11, 06:26 AM
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Thank you. I'll give it a shot. Yup, same t-stat on the other unit so I'll change that too.
 
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Old 01-23-11, 10:58 AM
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I made the t-stat change last night, around 8:30pm. The furnace ran all night in this 3 cycle mode and my humidity actually went down by 4 percentage points. I was around 31% and now I'm back down to 27% which was where the house was before I ever installed a humidifier.

I'm willing to give it a couple more days but my gut is telling me that either the humidifier isn't working properly or something else is wrong, leaky ducts, etc. Any other thoughts on what I can do to test/troubleshoot?

I did place a handheld humidistat right next to the unit, over the humidifier fan louvers, this morning and while running the % jumped to over 60% but when I put that same humidistat right in direct fire of one of my registers within about 1 minute the % reading dropped out of range of my handheld humidistat resulting in "Lo" showing on the screen. I think that it measures down to 20% so I must have been lower than that. Any ideas on why this would/could happen? 60%+ at the humidifier but then less than 20% at one of the registers?
 
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Old 01-23-11, 11:19 AM
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Turn off the furnace upstairs for awhile and see what happens.

You are going to get a false reading on the vent cuz of the heat.
 
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Old 01-24-11, 09:16 AM
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I left it off for a number of hours and it rose to 31% and has been holding steady at that number.
 
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Old 01-24-11, 09:55 AM
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Hi ddonia, I don't want to side track you, but understanding where that moisture your adding is all going may help you resolve/improve the basic problem. The air leaking out of your house, either through construction features or leaky air ducts as Jay mentioned is carrying moisture with it. As air goes out, cold dry air is coming in to replace it. Relative humidity (RH) is a funny number as it changes with temperature, so outside air at 50% RH will become very dry when heated to inside temps. For a typical home, ALL of your heated/humidified inside air leaks out of your house and is replaced every 1 to 2 hours. Through some very simple air sealing fixes, that number can be cut in half, thus greatly increasing the amount of moisture that remains inside. And, it will reduce the cost of heating as an additional benefit. There is more information on this, but I have drifted too much already.

Bud
 
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Old 01-24-11, 10:13 AM
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Thank you Bud. I appreciate the various view points. I have already started looking for areas where I might be leaking air, windows, doors, duct work, etc. The problem is, how do you find them effectively on your own? Any additional info you or others might have on this is very much welcomed!

I do have a call into a home energy audit company that will do blower door and duct pressure testing so hopefully that will be the effecitve process to identify leaks that I am looking for. You would think that a home that is less than 3 years old would be relatively tight...
 
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Old 01-24-11, 10:52 AM
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An audit should be very helpful. Be sure they use an IR camera and that they provide before pictures of where the leaks are. Two approaches for an audit. Audit only and then you do or contract as you wish. Others come in with the anticipation that THEY are going to do ALL of the work. Their reports tend to be less informative as they do not want you to take the information elsewhere. They have it, but all you get is the summary.

Since all homes, people and appliances, must have a minimum amount of fresh air, all you are really looking for are the big leaks. Where the house rests on its foundation, plumbing and electrical openings, drop ceilings or overhangs, knee walls, attic hatches or pull down stairs, recessed lights, under bath tubs and showers, are a few. During these cold months, your hand can identify many in the lower half of your home. In the upper half, warm air is leaking out so not as easy to detect.

When you turned one system off and ran just the other the numbers went the wrong way. That may be related to leaky air ducts, especially any that are outside the conditioned space, ie the attic or a crawl space.

The blower door number they get will tell you/them/us how leaky the home is. If you can be there, ask them for the CFM50 reading, rather than waiting for their report. Being there with them will also let you see immediately where problems exist. I ALWAYS insist the home owner follow me around as I do audits only and they need to know where the problems are. Some of the discoveries are real shockers.

Here is a link from Efficiency Vermont that does a great job of explaining and identifying all of the possible leak areas. It opens slow, but is worth the wait.
http://www.efficiencyvermont.com/ste...ide_062507.pdf

PS, even a tight home will exchange all of its air every 3 hours. Super tight homes may need dehumidifiers and will need an outside source of air added to the home.

Bud
 
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Old 01-24-11, 11:40 AM
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Yeah, figured it may be the duct leaking and other areas of the home. I had an audit done on mine last year, and it was an eye opener where air can find itself into the home. I made the improvements and noticed better comfort and savings.
 
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Old 01-25-11, 03:23 AM
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Jay/Bud,

Thank you both for the help and suggestions. The audit company is coming out later this week so hopefully I'll be able to get some insight as to where I might be losing this air and humidity. I'll keep you posted if you are interested in hearing the outcome.

Thanks again,
Doug
 
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Old 01-25-11, 06:22 AM
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Please do keep us posted on your audit on your home.
 
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Old 01-25-11, 11:16 AM
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Double check your damper on your bypass duct. I have basically the same exact issue as you are describing and I was at the point of trying a duct fan. When I opened up the humidifier I realized I had shut the damper at some point after the install.
 
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Old 01-25-11, 12:20 PM
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Thank you however this is a powered fan unit, and not a bypass style so there is no damper.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 06:52 PM
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Jay/Bud,

The results of the energy audit are in and overall the house is pretty tight. We do have some areas where we can improve but according to the report we are not out of the range of normal for a house this size. We are going to seal up some spots and we'll see if that helps with the RH levels.

But...new development....It appears that I am no longer getting any water flow to the unit. Water was flowing without any issues when I checked it last week but I was just up there and noticed that nothing was coming down the overflow tube. I opened the unit up and sure enough, nothing, not a drip. The fan is running so I'm getting power to it. I also check the humidistat and it appears to be working as it shuts the fan on and off as I turn the dial. Could my solenoid be bad? Already? The unit is only a couple months old so I would hope not. Is there any way to quickly test the solenoid to see if it works, independent of everything else? I do not have a multimeter to check voltage, etc but I can get one if needed.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 07:20 PM
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Check to see if you are getting water to the valve, and if you are, then check the screen make sure that's clean.

If all is ok, then check for power at the valve.
 
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Old 02-14-11, 07:34 AM
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Thanks Jay. I am getting water to the valve and I checked the screen. It did not look dirty or clogged but I cleaned it just to be sure. I do not have a multimeter to check power at the valve so I'll head out today to buy one. Probably a good thing to have around the house anyway.....if you know of a cheaper way to check for power that would be great, otherwsie I'll just buy the cheapest meter I can find.
 
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Old 02-14-11, 12:34 PM
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Yeah, there' no way to check power with out a meter.. A meter is needed.
 
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Old 02-14-11, 03:10 PM
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Oh well, an excuse to buy a new tool... I check with the meter and I get noting at the humidistat when it is on but when it is off I get 28.3. At the solenoid, when on I'm getting 27.7. So it looks like I'm getting power.did my solenoid just quit on me?
 
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Old 02-14-11, 06:54 PM
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Do you hear it "click" on and off when you turn the humidistat up and down?
 
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Old 02-15-11, 07:38 PM
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I'm having the same issue in a 4 year old house (~3600 sq ft) with a Honeywell 265A Bypass Humidifier. We have two furnaces, one for each floor, and both have this humidifier. Our downstairs hardwoods show a bit more separation in the winter than I would expect, which is what made me purchase a hygrometer (I've now bought two). Our humidistats are set at 45%, but downstairs the humidity reads around 33% on one hygrometer (cheap one from Lowes) and 25% on the other (nicer but actually made for a humidor). I'm not sure which is accurate, but the humidity seems too low overall. The upstairs humidity seems a little higher, and the floors have not seemed to separate as much. I've verified that water flows properly into the humidifier pads.

The humidifiers are hooked up to cold water. The furnace doesn't turn on very often, but will only stay on for a few minutes (just timed it at 4.5 minutes last cycle).

The humidistats are installed right next to the humidifiers; upstairs, it is above the humidifier on the cold air return, and downstairs (in the crawl space) it is installed just below the humidifier.

Thanks for any advice.
 
  #34  
Old 02-15-11, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by cltucker View Post
The humidifiers are hooked up to cold water. The furnace doesn't turn on very often, but will only stay on for a few minutes (just timed it at 4.5 minutes last cycle).
this is your issue.

Short run time is not going to let it have a chance to add humidity in to your home. What is the make/model of your t-stat?

Also, I perfer hot water too.
 
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Old 02-16-11, 05:24 AM
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The thermostat is a Honeywell TH5220D - I changed setting 5 to 3 minutes last night after reading this thread. Humidity this am so far is about 2% points higher. Would changing to a hot water supply make a big difference?
 
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Old 02-16-11, 06:19 AM
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I think the hot water helps.

Give your stat a few days to readjust itself from the change on the CPH.

Where are you out of?
 
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Old 02-16-11, 06:22 AM
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Another question - the humidistats are located right next to the humidifiers (just below on the downstairs furnace, just above on the upstairs furnace). After each furnace had run for about 5 minutes, I turned the humidistat knob to see where the "click" was (ie. what rh the humidistat was reading). Downstairs, it clicked at about 40% while upstairs it was at just over 45%. Since I had the humidistats set at 45%, the upstairs humidifier had actually turned off.

I increased the setting to 60% on both. Is that ok, or would it be better to turn it to "On?" I assume that the humidifier would then activate regardless of the humidistat reading (Humidistat is Honeywell H8908B). Or do I need to move the humidistats, and if so, where?

Thanks again for the help.
 
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Old 02-16-11, 06:27 AM
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We're in the Charlotte, NC area.
 
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Old 02-16-11, 06:47 AM
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Small world.....we are too!
 
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Old 02-16-11, 06:51 AM
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Is it up stream, or down stream from the humidifier. Another word, it has to read the humidity in the air before the humidifier mixes the humidity into the air flow.
 
 

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