View Full Version : Humidifying a house with hot water baseboard heat!
03-01-2005, 02:44 PM
I'll be honest and say that I'm a home owner looking for some advice on how to humidify a 2 story house with hot water baseboard heat. I've talked to a few HVAC guys and they said to use the individual room humidifiers. I want to do the whole house. Does anyone have any experience with the AprilAire 360?? Thanks.
03-01-2005, 03:05 PM
Having not installed this unit before, as a whole house claim with no ducting leads me to beleive that some areas may not benefit from the humidifier. Advertised for over 4k sq ft for homes with radiant heat I would have to see the install specs to really know for sure the coverage area. You may have to install a ducting system.
03-01-2005, 03:13 PM
Humidity distribution is one of my concerns with that AprilAire 360 unit. One of the HVAC guys I talked to stated that humidity will travel throughout the house no matter where the unit is placed. If it is mounted in the basement, up thru the 1st floor, will the humidity reach the 2nd floor?? Will it over humidify the first floor??
03-01-2005, 09:04 PM
Humidity will travel to the driest point.
03-02-2005, 07:54 AM
You can use this with a separate supply and return, like in a closet, behind a wall, or under a floor
03-02-2005, 08:00 AM
Have you installed one of these Skuttle units??
03-02-2005, 12:20 PM
Every Skuttle steam powered humidifier I have experience with has been trouble. Problems so far are elements that burn out in a few years, rotted duct work, and plugging. Now no doubt, if the units had flushing timers on them, maybe these issues would not occur. Steam humidifiers are expensive to buy and very expensive to operate. Years of experience lends me to agree with the HVAC contractors that say to install a freestanding unit in the living area. That way you get to see the unit and maintain it.
03-07-2005, 08:10 AM
The ones I buy have a flushing timer, but I still need to do a service call once a season to clean it. And I charge for that. The steam units are the only ones that will keep the humidity at a level, all the bypass units ride the furncae run. Just depends on whether or not your customer wants to pay a little extra to have the comfort level.
03-07-2005, 10:44 AM
Are you getting nose bleeds? I'm wondering why you need the Humidifier if you have hotwater heat??? Hotwater heat auto. puts humidity in the air. Maybe whomever installed the baseboard under sized it. Post a sq ft of a room and location in US and I will be able to tell you approx how much base you need...
03-07-2005, 11:00 AM
We're not getting nosebleeds, but we have a lot of static electricity and the dog is scratching up a storm!! How can hot water baseboard heat produce humidity?? It's not steam heat.
03-07-2005, 11:28 AM
Steam is produced from hotwater as I'm sure you know. That water in the boiler is anywhere from 180 to 190 degrees when running. Water boils at 212. You still get steam before the boil, just not as much. Easiest way to say it without getting all technical on you, lol.
Your static problem still leads me to believe you are undersized in baseboard. I live in upper PA where it gets extremely cold and dry, in fact you get shocked when getting out of your vehicle in the winter if you don't ground yourself first, lol. I have installed many hotwater heat systems ranging from 1200 sq ft homes to 3200 sq ft homes. Most have carpeting and all and atleast half have animals. I haven't had one complain of no humidity, but I have had some say they need a de-humidifier. With furnaces you get dry air hitting the cold air causeing low moisture which causes static electricity, dry nasal passages, respiratory problems, etc. Here is a link to answer your questions about the Aprilaire 360.
Very good reading there. Hope things work out for you.
03-07-2005, 11:30 AM
One more for you:
03-07-2005, 11:47 AM
I live is SE PA!! Where in PA are you?? Maybe I'm missing something in your explanation. My heater and heating system is a closed system. I don't see any steam coming from my heater, so how do you explain the humidity?? My house is about 2500 sq. ft. and the majority of the perimeter, on each floor, is lined with hot water baseboard heat(not cast iron).
I've looked into that AprilAire unit, but I really don't have a place to easily install it, except in the basement and cut thru the first floor with ductwork.
03-07-2005, 12:07 PM
Originally posted by kc_srvs
Are you getting nose bleeds? I'm wondering why you need the Humidifier if you have hotwater heat??? Hotwater heat auto. puts humidity in the air.
Hot water heat, using baseboards, doesn't add any moisture to a house whatsoever. I think you are talking about steam heat, that adds a little moisture (or alot if a steam air vent is leaking).
Leaky houses are dry houses in the winter. Insulate the house, close the chimney flue, or replace old windows to increase humidity. I run a stand alone humidifier (copper baseboard heat in my home) and it's able to put upwards of 4 gallons a day into the home.
03-07-2005, 02:38 PM
I agree with Cas. A well sealed house will not allow humidity to escape and dry outdoor air to enter. Cooking, showering, etc. should add moisture to the envelope. A small humidifer should be all you need for a home. If you have AC ductwork, you might be able to add the humidifier with a small hydrocoil to keep the air flow warm with just keeping the blower running. This will add greatly to your electric bill though.
03-07-2005, 06:12 PM
yes, kc, please tell us how a sealed hydronic ststem puts humidity in the home..? ;)
03-07-2005, 06:21 PM
there is no happy medium you want humidity in the house go with portable humidifiers if not happy with that put in ductwork a warm air furnace with a humidifier, no other answer but that if you put in ductwork you could add ac for the hot summer days
03-07-2005, 08:17 PM
Let me clarify a bit... I'm not saying it will do the job of a humidifier. You can see approx 3% increase of humidity, nothing astronomical. I am sure it is because of the fact it IS a contained system and it allows for the home to maintain a more natural humidity level. People that have hotwater systems are unlikely to need humidifiers, atleast the ones I have come in contact with. That's probably a better explanation. Sorry for the confusion everyone.
And I am in the NW of PA.
03-07-2005, 08:48 PM
Yup, that sounds better:)
There is less infiltration with bb than with scorched air belching. Less infiltration means the drier winter air stays outside, and the moisture from showers, driers, and cooking humidify..
03-08-2005, 12:11 PM
How come warm air systems need humidifiers at all? How does warming the air with a furnace dry the air, and warming air with an air handler or baseboard heat does not? A warm air furnace cannot remove moisture, right?
03-09-2005, 11:39 AM
I live in SE PA also, with hot water heat. I have about 150' of bb in a 2400 sqft house. It's the dryest house I have ever lived in. And, "Yes", I get nose bleeds. (No one else in the family does, just some dry skin.) I use single room humidifiers. I need to fill them twice a day, and I hate buying the those absorptive filters every month.
Is that enough bb?
[Edited by mark115 on 03-09-2005 at 11:48 AM]
03-09-2005, 02:17 PM
Based on that VERY vague info :)..you have too much bb, 50 feet too much wouldn't surprise me..
Why don't you do a load calc and know for sure!
03-09-2005, 03:18 PM
hydronicsman: Thank you for your reply. I actually replied to this thread before reading through all the posts. Now I understand that a hot water/bb system doesn't really add humidity (maybe a little if any), it just doesn't lower the humidity as much as a hot air system.
On the other hand, I am in the middle of sizing my house for a new boiler, but I'll start a new thread to discuss.
talk to you soon.
03-09-2005, 08:52 PM
Nah, bb doesn't add any humidity, it just minimizes infiltration. In a perfect world, scorched air systems would be tightly sealed, perfectly sized and create no pressure imbalances in the building envelope, thus keeping the interior air less "dry".
It's really important to have the right amount of bb, but not too much for comfortable heating curves ( I don't want to say "swings", because that implies hot/cold extremes).
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