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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Toronto
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    Humidity in house is still low even with 2 whole-house humidifers

    Hello,

    I live in a 2 year old house in Toronto that has 10 feet ceilings (1st + 2nd floor = 3650 sq ft and basement adds another 1400 sqft). There are 2 adults and two children (3 year old and 3 month old) living in the house. When I moved into the house it was already equipped with a GeneralAire 1042 on my single furnace house. I read that it is rated for only 2,800 sq ft so I added an AprilAire 600M to the furnace and now I’m running who humidifiers simultaneously with cold water supply. I’m finding that the humidity is still around 30-35%. My wife and I still get dry and itchy skin and dry throats. The crown mouldings and caulking are cracking and hardwood floor is creaking (which they don’t in the summer). The house has an open concept design (i.e. not many walls on the first floor and the basement opens to the staircase of the house. I have hardwood floor throughout the first and second floor and laminate in the basement. I have 10” ceiling throughout the house. I found that the 2nd floor is usually 2.5 to 3 degrees C cooler in the winter and it’s nearly impossible to get the humidity above 30% in the winter, especially when it’s -20C outside.

    I put my Honeywell temp/hygrometer on my register when the furnace is on and the humidity reading drops by 14%. This proves that my house will never have the right humidity if the supply air has a lower humidity than the room and the room humidity is already low at ~30%. Both whole-house humidifiers are working properly but I’m frustrated how they don’t provide sufficient humidity. I understand that when it gets to -20%, it’s hard to add humidity. I can’t imagine a lot of moisture is added in the whole-house humidifiers when it’s a portion of the heated air is diverted back to the supply side via water vapour pad. Now I’m thinking of getting a console humidifier (evaporative type) with a built-in hygrometer.

    Is there anything I can do to improve the humidity with what I currently have or should I go and buy a console humidifier, possibly two because the basement is open to the rest of the house. I could put one in the 1st floor and 2nd on the second floor.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
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    Both of those humidifiers are flow-through models. A steam humidifier is much more effective. I have used the Honeywell Trusteam but they require a lot of maintenance. I've read great things about the Aprilaire 800 but I have not yet installed one.
    One of our members, TeddyBear, is the humidity guru here. When he contributes to this thread, pay attention to his advice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
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    Get you blower on 24/7 to max the amount of humidity in the air. 30%RH is near max to avoid condensation on windows and in walls.
    Blower on higher will get more moisture from humidifiers.
    Keep us posted.
    Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Toronto
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    Thread Starter
    I thought about getting the Trusteam but didn't like the price. Thanks for the tip. I'll read TeddyBear's post and learn.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Toronto
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    Thread Starter
    I believe my humidifier works only when the furnace is on. If I turn the fan on on the furnace the humidifier isn't on. I do get condensation on the bottom of my window some times but I think it's due to the drop in the outdoor temperature that's causing the condensation and not because it's too humid inside of the house. This lasts only for a day and then the condensation is gone. Overall, I believe the humidity is too low in my house.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
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    Condensation on the windows is a sign that you at the max humidity you can handle.
    There is no logic in your assumption.
    Keep us posted.
    Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Richmond, VA
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    I would advise not to get the Honeywell TrueSteam if you do choose to go with a steam humidifier. The Aprilaire 800 is much more reliable and allows for greater capacity. While both are expensive, they will most certainly meet your needs.

    But as teddy bear pointed out, condensation forming on your windows is a sign that the humidity is too high. Perhaps the humidity in your home isn't consistent throughout, maybe due to leakage. Placing a hygrometer on the register doesn't prove anything because the air coming out of the register is much hotter than the average temperature in your home; warmer air has a higher capacity to hold moisture, so RH is naturally lower.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Toronto
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    Thread Starter
    Good point about placing a hygrometer on the register as not being an accurate measurement of the humidity. I have 3 digital Honeywell hygrometer/thermometer units and they give me a range of 11% Perhaps I need to calibrate it some how. There's no adjustment feature on the unit.

    I'll look at air leakage in my house. Would it help if I have a few fans about the house to improve circulation and move the more humid supplied air around? How about I leave the blower running all the time rather than setting on auto. Does the blower draw air into the house when the furnace isn't running, in other words it's re-circulating the air that's already inside the house? Any experience with console humidifiers? I'm thinking of possible adding this to supplement the whole-house humidifier.

    Thanks for your input guys.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockhopper View Post
    I believe my humidifier works only when the furnace is on. If I turn the fan on on the furnace the humidifier isn't on. I do get condensation on the bottom of my window some times but I think it's due to the drop in the outdoor temperature that's causing the condensation and not because it's too humid inside of the house. This lasts only for a day and then the condensation is gone. Overall, I believe the humidity is too low in my house.
    Some inept contractors connect the humidifier control to the furnace signal. That is the wrong way. Some thermostats and humidistats are capable of forcing the blower on along with a call for humidification. That's the right way. You'll need to have that checked by a good contractor.

  10. #10
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    Jan 2015
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    Toronto
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    Thread Starter
    I don't have a humidistat connected to my Honeywell controller. The controller monitors only the temperature. On the Aprilaire 600M the humidistat is located on the humidifier itself and I control the dial on the unit. I part of the reason why the humidity in my house is low is because the furnace does not run for very long. Also, I found out I have cold air leaking into the house at my front and rear door. Need to seal this leakage points. I see condensation on some windows (at the bottom) but not all. Perhaps, like CircusEnvy stated, the humidity in my house is not consistent. I should think about add some fans or leave the blower on.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockhopper View Post
    I don't have a humidistat connected to my Honeywell controller. The controller monitors only the temperature. On the Aprilaire 600M the humidistat is located on the humidifier itself and I control the dial on the unit. I part of the reason why the humidity in my house is low is because the furnace does not run for very long. Also, I found out I have cold air leaking into the house at my front and rear door. Need to seal this leakage points. I see condensation on some windows (at the bottom) but not all. Perhaps, like CircusEnvy stated, the humidity in my house is not consistent. I should think about add some fans or leave the blower on.
    Your moisture content is uniform because moisture moves quickly through space. The temperature of the window surface and the %RH is the variable. At the surface of the glass condensation, the %RH is 100%. A ribbon of moisture without dripping is acceptable. This minor condensation is taking place where many place where the air is leaking out of your home.
    Forget the fans. Open blinds to warm cold windows which allows higher dew points inside the home. People like 45-55%RH for comfort. Cold climate homes will have condensation problems when the outdoor temps are <32^F.
    Humidifier and dehumidifiers needed with normal homes and normal occupancy with healthy air change rates.
    Keep us posted.
    Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockhopper View Post
    I don't have a humidistat connected to my Honeywell controller. The controller monitors only the temperature. On the Aprilaire 600M the humidistat is located on the humidifier itself and I control the dial on the unit. I part of the reason why the humidity in my house is low is because the furnace does not run for very long. Also, I found out I have cold air leaking into the house at my front and rear door. Need to seal this leakage points. I see condensation on some windows (at the bottom) but not all. Perhaps, like CircusEnvy stated, the humidity in my house is not consistent. I should think about add some fans or leave the blower on.
    I just looked at the manual for the Aprilaire 600M. It states "Your Aprilaire Humidifier Control is installed in the cold air return duct." If your controller in mounted on the unit that explains why is doesn't run much. As soon as the water valve opens and starts raising the RH, the sensor detects the increase and turns if off again.
    I say again, have a good technician assess it to see if it is properly installed.
    Who installed your humidifiers, you or a contractor?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Ocean County, N.J.
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    In my limited experience I've learned the humidifier is only part of the problem. The other parts are insulation and infiltration related. If the last two parts of the problem are not addressed correctly, you'll never get it right.

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