Pad type units rely on temp in side the duct and run time of the unit to evaporate water. With the low temp of a HP, 95 degrees, these units will not put out much water, even hooked up with hot water.
For that reason, a steam humidifier is the only way to go. They mount inside or under the duct. If the heat is not running and the humidistat is calling, the steamer will turn on its heating elements, heat the water and then turn the fan on to distribute the humidity. They have a auto flush mode that can pipe into a condenstate pump. And best of all, they put out 16 gals for the 120v model and 22 gals for the 240v model.
I am now very interested in the steam option. This sounds better for a heat pump unit. Sounds like it would use less water. Not sure about electricity. I have a tempstar system.
I will look at possible drafts around my house, but where are some common areas where people loose moisture out of their home??
Who makes some steam humidifiers? I know about honeywell. Who else makes steam humidifiers?
Which would you recommend?
zoneit was giving you the steam rates for EWC Autoflo steamers.
Worn door seals, around windows, switches and receps on outside walls.
Fireplace dampers that don't close proper.
BT does know EWC
Originally Posted by beenthere
Speaking from high desert experience (central Oregon):
The air here is almost always very dry. In Winter it can get to below zero (F) occasionally, and is usually below freezing.
Cold dry air heated to "room temperature" gets extremely dry, which can affect the wood in the building as it shrinks and expands. Here, if you have a lot of wood, especially expensive wood, you want humidification in the heating months.
I service a lot of humidifiers. The steam ones are good, but can cause a disaster if there is any airflow problem (think water dripping off a ceiling). Another consideration for all humidifiers is, what if they leak? If they're installed above stuff that can be damaged expensively, such as a furnace or zone control board, leaks can be a major deal.
April Aire's humidifiers, at least the ones I work on, are the most reliable in my experience. Steam ones are harder to service and can cause a lot more problems if there is an airflow issue. They push humidity into the air whether the airflow is good or not, and that can be a problem, big time. Think condensation dripping off a ceiling.
In a place like here, I recommend the "water panel" type rather than the steam type. If the airflow has issues, less water will be evaporated and that's almost a fail-safe way to prevent condensation problems in the living space.
If you are in a part of the country that's not so dry and/or cold, and you don't have expensive wood such as fancy flooring or whatever, you might not benefit much from a humidifier.
Yes I was quoting the EWC steam cap. And focko is right, if you don't have airflow you will get condensation in the duct. There are different manuf. of steam units and each has addressed the issues that steam humidifiers had 15 years ago.
Now, steam units are made out of SS and they have overflow drains. They also have logic built into the unit that looks at how long it takes to fill. If the unit see's the fill valve open to long, it will shut it down. It also flushes the water every 8 hours of the day and does not fill back up untill it see's another call for humidity. So most of the time, unless there is a need, the unit is dry. The steamers also do not have a float on the fill side anymore. The unit wires directly to the fan, so on a call for humidity it will bring on the fan to distribute the moisture. They also have provisions for an airflow switch, so no airflow means no humidity. Service is required once a year, and the average increase in elect. is about $40 per month As you can see, all of the concerns of the past have been addressed.
Steam units are the most expensive way to put water in the air. But, they rely only on themselves to put out the water, so you are guaranteed the RH you want.
You also want to make sure you have the right size unit, there are models that put out 6 gals a day to models that put out 30 gals per day. But remember, humidity seeks it's own level, so even if you can only duct the humidifier to the first floor, it will travel at about 7 feet per sec. trying to equalize throughout the entire house. We figure 22 gals per day does about 3800 sq ft.
As far as the need for humidity. Anytime you heat the air, weather it's with a HP, hydronic, gas, or geo you increase the air's ability to hold water, so the RH decreases. Also, the more RH the warmer the air feels, so a house with a 40% RH @ 68 degrees feels alot warmer than the same house @ 72 degrees and a 20% RH.
The different manuf. are Honeywell, EWC, Aprilaire, General, Nortec, and skuttle.
Last edited by zoneitewc; 10-21-2008 at 03:00 PM.
Edit out your prices.
They are not allowed here.
Not even ball park prices.
Please read the rules, Thank you.
Thanks, didn't see that one.
zoneitewc, good info, TYVM
I'm a service tech and almost all of the systems I see in my area are either old steamers or newer water panel types. I'm glad to see that past problems are being corrected.
Question on terminology: Is a bypass humidifier a water-panel type, flow thru type, etc?
Originally Posted by Focko
The different types of humidifiers are; Steam - they boil water and introduce it into the duct. Flow thu/bypass - they have a water panel the water drips onto, hot air from the furnance pass over the wet panel to evaporate water and introduce it into the duct. Drum - uses a wheel with a sponge material that rotates in standing water to make the warm air water contact. Nozzel trype - they spray atomized raw water into the duct. Self contained Room style - the type you buy at a hardware store.
Each has advantages/disadvantages.
Hope that helps