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  1. #1

    Confused Are Whole House Humidifiers bad?

    I am having a new Reem forced air furnace and Reem central air conditoner installed in my home. My HVAC contractor has advised against installing a whole house humidifier on the new furnace stating that they are really bad for circuit boards. We just had a whole house humidifier installed for the first time on the old furnace last winter and really love the difference. We really don't want to go back to the dry air the home used to have, but also don't want to damage the new equipment. Is the risk of damage really that great?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Missouri
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    We sell them on about 65% of all installs. Why would he say they are bad?? Must be something to do with how his company installs them. We use the air bypass type, and they have their own drain. Never install the float type units, as corrosion will cause unit to over fill and run down the furnace!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    6,627
    Omg they are so bad they sell millions of them , made by lord knows how many manufacturers , and they all blow up circuit boards and rust the units out in 3 years.
    Seriously , there are more types and brands of humidifiers out here to shake a stick at. I like the Honeywell True Steam but there are others just as good.
    And if they blow up circuit boards , maybe someone should check the wiring or the tech.
    Humidification is a leading factor in indoor comfort in the winter and could very well save you money in Gas.
    No they dont burn up boards
    You sure are cocky for a starving pilgrim.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
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    To directly answer your question, a properly installed and maintained humidifier should NOT pose any danger to the furnace or its circuitry.

    To encourage you to look a little wider, consider why you need a humidifer in the first place. It is because your house leaks too much air in from outside in winter. If you slow this leakage down, you won't need to humidify as much. A double blessing is that your furnace may not run as much, either. You get comfort and lower operating cost to boot.

    Properly tightening up a house does not lend itself easily to DIY approaches. While it may initially sound unappealing to hire an energy rater or consultant to determine the best course for your house, it is a course that will render cost of overhead savings for the near and long term, and provide better comfort for the occupants.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2002
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    If humidifiers didn't exist, people would be forced to address the cause of the problem as opposed to applying silly band-air solutions. (Which either breed mold/bacteria and leak, or waste an enormous amount of water)

    Don't get a humidifier - if it's too dry, draft proof. Also make sure that the new furnace take's its combustion air from outside. A humidifier should only be installed as a last resort.
    General public's attitude towards our energy predicament: "I reject the reality of finite resource depletion and substitute it with my own; energy is infinite, we just need an alternative storage medium to run the cars on. The economy can grow indefinitely - we just need to "green" everything! Technology is energy! Peak what?"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Humidifiers that are improperly installed, or not properly maintained.
    Are hazardous to furnaces.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  7. #7
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    May 2008
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    Missouri
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    When I started dating my wife @3 years ago, she had an 80% furnace without a humidifier. Once our relationship went to the point of my moving in and our subsequent marriage, I installed a 95% gas furnace (with both intake and exhaust pipes!) and a central whole house humdifier. Amazing how much more comfortable the house is!! No more waking up with dry or bleeding noses, and dry skin!! The house (@20 yrs. old) would only get into the mid teens of humidity in cold weather, and after the addition of the humidifier, it stays about 30%. Much, much better!! I can only assume amd's post is some kind of joke!? As posted by others, make sure and keep the humidifier maintained!! I would worry about the professionilism of a HVAC contractor who would give you such poor advice! Unless you don't live in a conventional construction house such as an earth contact.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoo View Post
    When I started dating my wife @3 years ago, she had an 80% furnace without a humidifier. Once our relationship went to the point of my moving in and our subsequent marriage, I installed a 95% gas furnace (with both intake and exhaust pipes!) and a central whole house humdifier. Amazing how much more comfortable the house is!! No more waking up with dry or bleeding noses, and dry skin!! The house (@20 yrs. old) would only get into the mid teens of humidity in cold weather, and after the addition of the humidifier, it stays about 30%. Much, much better!! I can only assume amd's post is some kind of joke!? As posted by others, make sure and keep the humidifier maintained!! I would worry about the professionilism of a HVAC contractor who would give you such poor advice! Unless you don't live in a conventional construction house such as an earth contact.
    Amd's post is no joke. A tight house needs little to no additional humidification, as interior humidity generation tends to keep moisture levels higher than nose-bleed level. However, even a tight house must be ventilated to keep the indoor air from becoming stale, and this can affect indoor humidity levels.

    My own house has been tightened to where humidity levels that once ran in the teens during cold weather now take a good while to drop below 30 with the passage of a cold, dry air mass (aka a cold front). Morning showering and breakfast prep often boost humidity levels above 30% even during extended periods of very dry outdoor air. If I run a portable humidifer in my bedroom on cold nights (at wife's request) the remaining single pane window will be fogged solid by sunup, whereas it used to show little to no condensation at all under similar conditions.

    Make it tight, ventilate it right. Someday more folks will understand this, as energy costs rise again (which they will).
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Missouri
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    serpt70- already had a humidifier on old furnace, and "loved it". Common sense would indicate his new HVAC contractor should have just put his newer humidifier onto the new furnace (and sold him a scheduled maintenance agreement to make sure it's kept working). All this "tight house never needs a humidifier" stuff just completely confuses the issue. A properly maintained humidifier will not "damage" control boards. I won't argue that a really tight house will maintain humidity (along with CO2), if he was happy with the newer humidifier, just put it back on.

  10. #10
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    Fort Worth, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoo View Post
    serpt70- already had a humidifier on old furnace, and "loved it". Common sense would indicate his new HVAC contractor should have just put his newer humidifier onto the new furnace (and sold him a scheduled maintenance agreement to make sure it's kept working). All this "tight house never needs a humidifier" stuff just completely confuses the issue. A properly maintained humidifier will not "damage" control boards. I won't argue that a really tight house will maintain humidity (along with CO2), if he was happy with the newer humidifier, just put it back on.
    My responses were not intended to dissuade the OP from proceeding with a humidifier for his new system...he may still need one even if he performs weatherization on his house. I already addressed the matter in stating that properly installed and maintained humidifers should pose little risk to the furnace/air handler.

    It was an attempt to encourage homeowners, many of whom read these posts for general information/education, to expand their thinking beyond the most common approach of throwing energy at a problem when a more passive approach is neglected. It happens all the time, and not just with humidifiers. Weatherized homes don't need as much energy for the occupants to remain comfortable...that is a fact. We're conditioned to solve problems with equipment alone vs. more comprehensive cooperation between equipment and the structures said equipment is to keep comfortable.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago IL
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    167
    Quote Originally Posted by amd View Post
    If humidifiers didn't exist, people would be forced to address the cause of the problem as opposed to applying silly band-air solutions. (Which either breed mold/bacteria and leak, or waste an enormous amount of water)

    Don't get a humidifier - if it's too dry, draft proof. Also make sure that the new furnace take's its combustion air from outside. A humidifier should only be installed as a last resort.
    someone in their home for five to seven years will never recoup an investment as significant as weatherizing their home. as disappointing as that might be, it doesn't make the option for a humidifier silly. If the humidifier damages the board, some greater problem exists.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Kansas City, Kansas
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    I can see both sides of your argument, but not every house will be tight, and not every HO will spend the money to "tighten" it up. If the OP loved his humidifier, Put it back on. If your hurting circuit boards your seriously doing something wrong. If your originally using a bypass humidifier I would seriously upgrade it to a true steam, But I really havent seen any issues with a bypass humidifier.
    Thomas aka...spymoocow
    Quote Originally Posted by garya505 View Post
    Ah, sorry I thought that's what he meant. An inch shouldn't make that much difference (at least that's what I always tell my wife).

  13. #13
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    Jan 2004
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    PA
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    Some home owners won't spend the money to improve their home to eliminate the need for a humidifier. Or reduce the amount of added moisture they need.

    However. Not pointing out the potential for savings on both their heating and cooling bill, along with the minimizing of a need for a humidifier if they do improve their homes envelope.
    Is also a disservice.

    As the customer. They deserve all the information, so they can make the choice how they spend their money on their home and comfort.
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