Do I need a humidifier?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3

    Do I need a humidifier?

    Wow- great site! Found you while researching humidifiers.

    Our problem: We seem to have the typical problem of extremely dry winter air, making me, my husband and kids dry out when the forced hot air is on. Our skin and hair gets dry, and worst of all our nostrils dry out and we get sore throats. We keep the heat turned lower than we'd like, just so the heat won't blow as often. I thought that the relative humidity must be very low in the house, but i just bought a gauge that shows the RH to be in the 40's, which I read is in the comfort target range. This seems odd to me, and the RH doesn't change much when the heat has been on. BUT, our comfort changes so much when the heat is on and the air feels so dry and uncomfortable.
    My initial thought was that we needed to add humidity, either through a whole house humidifier or individual units, but do we need to add humidity if our RH is in the 40's? Or should I trust our bodies and not the gauge (which is new and seems to work)?

    What to get. If it seems that we want to add humidity, what do you recommend? I've read here that people love steam, but according to a neighbor it's a bit too pricey for us. I'm told that a bypass whole house unit would be about $5-600 installed, which seems okay if it would do the job. Alternatively, 3 high quality warm air units would cost me about $300. I know $ is not supposed to be mentioned, but I'm not asking for a comment on price, just stating the relative prices.

    If it helps your recommendations, we live in an old farmhouse. I see on this board that people discuss air infiltration when talking about winter humidity levels; as in these old new england farm houses, we have a decent amount of air coming in, but a blower door test done 2 years ago when we insulated showed us to be in the average range, and all obvious air sealing has already been done.

    THANKS for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    S.W. PA
    Posts
    3,298
    i would guess if your noses and skin is drying out you dont have 40% but not there to check it

    i recommend bypass humidifiers they do a good job but they are not the cats meow by any means

    it shoudl still help a lot when your heat is running
    the first step is to find a local contractor to get out there and take a look at what you have

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    7,680
    I agree, if'n it were me, a whole house humidifier would be my next move. I can tell you from personal experience that when we lived in the northern climates, our kids were sickly more often prior to installing a humidifier and once it was installed, they simply didnt get that way anymore. Was worth it's weight if you ask me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5
    Janice,

    If you can wait a few more months, Honeywell is about to ship a new humidifier that has a few people on this board excited. It is a steam humidifier (called the TrueSteam) at a new price point.

    Here is some more information:
    http://www.forwardthinking.honeywell...%208.13.07.pdf

    Pricing on this should be close to that of a bypass unit, for the humidifier alone. Installation costs may be higher though, as you might need a dedicated electric line put in for it.

    Just an idea to bounce off your contractor.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by DanYoung View Post
    Janice,

    If you can wait a few more months, Honeywell is about to ship a new humidifier that has a few people on this board excited. It is a steam humidifier (called the TrueSteam) at a new price point.

    Here is some more information:
    http://www.forwardthinking.honeywell...%208.13.07.pdf

    Pricing on this should be close to that of a bypass unit, for the humidifier alone. Installation costs may be higher though, as you might need a dedicated electric line put in for it.

    Just an idea to bounce off your contractor.
    THANKS. The TrueSteam sounds like a great product. In order to operate independently of a call for heat, I assume that the unit has its own fan? Any idea why this steam unit would be significantly cheaper than those currently on the market (neighbors told me steam would be about $2700-3200 and bypass $5-600)?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3
    Sorry to post again right after my own, but I have a follow-up question that you can hopefully help me with. I looked at the truesteam and it looks like a strong possibility. If possible though, I'd like to get a unit in sooner and cheaper, so I'm seriously looking at the bypass units as suggested. I took a look at the online manual and read discussions on the Aprilaire 600. It looks like the unit is typically mounted on the supply with the bypass to/from the return.

    Unfortunately, we have far too few returns (typical for old antique around here). Will this affect the performance of a bypass unit?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Rochester, MN
    Posts
    80

    no fan included

    Quote Originally Posted by janicem View Post
    THANKS. The TrueSteam sounds like a great product. In order to operate independently of a call for heat, I assume that the unit has its own fan? Any idea why this steam unit would be significantly cheaper than those currently on the market (neighbors told me steam would be about $2700-3200 and bypass $5-600)?
    There is no fan for this unit so I think it should be interlocked with the furnace fan. However I'm just a homeowner eagerly awaiting my TrueSTEAM HM512 to ship. Here are some info links about the install.
    http://www.forwardthinking.honeywell...eam_video.html
    45 minuntes???? my butt!! I doubt many contractors would bid the job at that time.
    http://www.hotfreshcool.com/truesteam_installation.html

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