What kind of whole house humidifier should I purchase

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Old 12-16-19, 07:04 AM
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What kind of whole house humidifier should I purchase

Ok, I've made many purchase mistakes and I'm now at a loss for what I should purchase and I've come looking for advice.

My house is 4800sqft with 2 adults and 1 baby. It's 20 years old with decent double pane windows and storm windows but either it's gotten quite leaky in 20 years or the 3 of us just don't produce near enough humidity for the space. I suspect it's a little of both, though I'm not sure, what I do know is that the relative humidity in the house (at 72 degrees) is 15.5% and it's getting rough.

Last winter (first winter) we dealt with it, not really realizing how bad it was until we noticed huge separations appearing in our hardwood flooring. This winter with a 6 month old I wanted to do something about it. My parents live in an old farm house, about 2500-3000 sqft and have the exact same 100k btu York 96% furnace that I have. about 15 years ago my dad installed a mister humidifier to the supply line of their furnace being fed with DI water to prevent the nozzle from clogging and from crap getting all over the furnace and vents. It has worked flawlessly for that whole time, we've had the panel off and cleaned the AC multiple times and it's still very clean without any mess. So naturally I did the same thing and bought a mister mini and installed it (you can see it in the pictures still :( ). What I didn't realize was that it's best used with old oversized furnaces that have a lot of heat (makes sense now that I think about it since it's that intense heat that allows the water to vaporize. While my parent's furnace and mine are the same, I have a 5 ton AC unit and his is 2.5 ton. My evaporator coil is much taller, forcing my mister a lot further away from the furnace and I believe it never turns on as I don't think the air there is ever 120 degrees to trip the solenoid. Purchase mistake one.

I then bought the Honeywell HE360 because I personally didn't like the idea of the high humidity air being dragged through the furnace filters and the heating components by the bypass units. Well, the only place I can mount the HE360 is on the back of my furnacebut it'd be 70% covered up by the evaporator coil. While there was a decent amount of air coming out of the whole I drilled smack in the middle of where I'd cut the opening, I'm just not sure how this humidifier works. Like, I had originally assumed that like a console humidifier the filter would be saturated with water and the fan would blow the warm air through it causing it to pick up moisture on it's way. I think that this could still work then as there is still positive pressure, though I'm not sure how much of the air would just bounce back to the humidifier vs going up and out of the supply. The other concern I had was that the filter on the HE360 seems to be hard, like it wouldn't really soak water but more like water would just run down it, does the fan indeed just blow droplets of water into the supply of the furnace?

Regardless I'm looking for options to humidify my large house. Can I go with an HE280 with the humdifier on my return, will it be large enough? My water is very hard and I prefer to continue to use the DI water I have vs running warm water into the humidifier like some have suggested. Do I need to go with a larger and more expensive steam option? From the looks of those and my needs I believe I'd need to run them off of 220v. I've already had an electrician out to look at adding a 220v for my garage heater and he's going to have to add a sub panel because we're out of space in our current panel. So If that's the direction I should go, I should let him know that so he can not only wire up 220 for my where I need to install the steam one, but also make sure my sub panel is large enough or if my main 200A service is even enough for all of it.

Sorry for the long ramblings, just been reading stuff all night and I'd just like someone's opinion before I make a 3rd purchase mistake.

Davey

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Last edited by PJmax; 12-16-19 at 11:32 AM. Reason: imported pictures
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Old 12-16-19, 11:45 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

I use primarily Aprilaire products. Easy to install and service.
A bypass type can go on either duct but is definitely most effective on the supply side.

15% is pretty low. That would indicate a lot of cold air infiltration from outside.
Just adding a few percent of humidity makes a big difference.

The other concern I had was that the filter on the HE360 seems to be hard, like it wouldn't really soak water but more like water would just run down it, does the fan indeed just blow droplets of water into the supply of the furnace?
Not really a filter. It's called media. It gets saturated with water and the hot air blows thru it picking up moisture. No water droplets are blown anywhere.

Did you already cut the full size hole for the HE360 ? That should work in that location. The humidifier is a sealed unit so it's internal fan draws air thru the filter. It's not affected by positive pressure.
 
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Old 12-16-19, 03:15 PM
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Thanks for the quick reply and for importing those pictures for me.

I have not cut the full size hole for the HE360. Are you saying that I'd be fine mounting the HE360 there facing the solid side of the AC a-frame evaporator coil? If that's the case, I'll just do that tonight, I just wasn't sure if it'd work correctly blowing that humdified air not directly into the air stream.

I'll believe you on the "cold air infiltration", maybe one of those cheap thermal cameras is in order for Christmas and I can start scanning to see if I have any bad spots in the house that I'm not aware of.

If you think I should just go with the HE360, and I can replace it with an Aprilaire 700 later on if the HE360 works there I'll just go for it. Otherwise, do you have any opinions on steam humidifiers for the furnace? I don't want to use that much power if I don't have to, but I also don't want to lose air flow to a bypass humidifier while I barely have airflow going to the farthest 2 bedrooms as it is.

Thanks
Davey
 
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Old 12-16-19, 04:46 PM
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Were into our second house (12 years) using Honeywell humidifiers, they have never had any issues.

Replace the media every couple of years and clean them out at same time, not much to them.

We've got close to 4000 sq ft and they produce more than enough moisture!
 
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Old 12-16-19, 05:09 PM
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You have a furnace. Stay with a standard humidifier.
A steam type is most beneficial on a heat pump system where the airflow is just warm.
 
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Old 12-16-19, 06:02 PM
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Thanks guys. So just so I'm clear, you think I'll be fine installing that humidifier I bought on the back towards the evaporator coil on the AC? If so, great I'll get it done tonight :).

Thanks
 
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