Humidifier and Media Filter for New Carrier Heat Pump
Thanks to hcong, RyanHughes, tedkidd and motoguy128 for your comments and recommendations. I've decided on the Carrier Performance 25HCB636 outdoor unit and the FV4CNB005T variable speed fan coil. The Carrier Performance components are priced at the top of my budget while the Infinity components are just more than I want to spend at this point.
I asked each of the 4 contractors that has given me an estimate about a whole house humidifier. Several included a by-pass humidifier and a steam type in their estimate. The contractor I am leaning toward didn't include the steam type, just the Carrier HUMCCLBP2417 by-pass type. When I asked him about the steam type. He replied that he doesn't like them because "they don't hold up, we have had problems with every brand of steam humidifier plus they need a lot of maintenance." Is a by-pass type a better choice? The steam types are all twice the cost or more than the by-pass units. Everything I have read indicates that a steam type humidifier is more efficient and doesn't waste water like a by-pass unit does. What do you guys think about them? Do you think they are worth the cost and possible trouble? Any experience, good or bad? Would you stay away from a steam unit?
I also asked that same contractor about an additional housing for disposable filters. He said "if you're talking about a media filter they are very restrictive to air flow and can reduce air flow." I guess he recommends just using the filter that comes with the unit. Are the larger 4" filters a bad idea? My current duct work configuration includes a 24" x 8" drop from the main return trunk line that runs parallel to the fan coil and turns 90 degrees and terminates directly under the fan coil housing. That enables the return air to enter the fan coil from the bottom and not through the side. I think one of the contractors said that the bottom or underneath entrance is better. Would an additional filter housing fit in my current configuration and be desirable? Maybe it would be installed between the horizontal part of the return and the bottom of the fan coil housing? In that configuration the fan coil housing would sit directly on top of the additional filter housing.
Bypass units are cheap, simple, easy to install and minimal maintenance that any homeowner can do. They do use a LOT more water. Steam units need a dedicated eletrical circuit, often 220VAC. They use a fair amount of eletctricity.
With a heat pump, I would connect the humidifier to the hot water line, instead of the cold, although you'll get a little more scaling, but you'll get more capacity.
I'd lean towards bypass myself. That's what I've always used at my home.
For the installed price of a steam unit, I'd think you'd 1/2 way to a Infinity system if you matched it with a performance series condenser.
It might matter what you water price is vs. electrical rates and whether you care about water conservation. Where I am water conservation is irrlevant, it's relatively cheap and it's a nearly endless supply out of the largest river in the country and commerical and industrial users consume probably >90% of the municipal water anyway. If all residences stopped using water, it would hardly be a blip.
We don't sell "steam" humidifiers for same reason he quoted. Very little problem with bypass, and you'll never notice the water usage at all. If you connect to the hot side, you will improve the performance (using hot water), but you'll also increase your hot water usage/cost. So it's six of one/half dozen of the other. We simply use cold water for all bypass humidifiers. Once it get cold, then back ups will come on and evaporate the grid water faster and therefore output will increase. So in really cold weather, the output will go up since run times increase and back up strips/furnace come on, raising the air output temp and therefore improving evaporation.
Thanks motoguy128 and wahoo. Sounds like the by-pass type humidifier is the way to go. How about an add on media filter. Do you guys have an opinion about them. I would think that any type of filter could be restrictive especially if it is dirty. I'm pretty good at setting schedules and following them so I'm sure I can stay on top of the need to change a filter when needed. Also, I would think that the larger filters have a larger surface area that would allow more airflow. Logical? Are the media filter racks or frames substantial enough and come in sizes that allow them to be installed under the indoor unit?
It's starting to get cold at night here in PA so I've needed to run the emergency heat in the morning. I'm ready to move forward with the HP replacement as soon as I can resolve the media filter issue.
Thanks again to all for your advice and recommendations.