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  1. #1

    bypass or fan-powered humidifier?

    We plan on installing Carrier Infinity ICS furnace soon (3 stage 95% 120,000BTU). The Carrier dealer recommended a bypass humidifier but most of the contractors we talked to seemed to recommend a fan-powered one, We are confused by all these different opinions. What really matters when making a decision like this? We have a 3300 sq. ft. house in IL. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    (3 stage 95% 120,000BTU).
    How did you arrive at the conclusion that you need a 120k BTU furnace?

    Does the house of no insulation in it? Ductwork may not be sufficient to for the 1700+ CFM that furnace will need to move on high.

    If the house only requires an 80 or 100k BTU furnace, a cheaper properly sized 2-stage unit may perform in a similar manner to the 3 stage ICS.

    The Carrier dealer recommended a bypass humidifier but most of the contractors we talked to seemed to recommend a fan-powered one
    Bypass humidifiers work fine - might want to consider using hot water to boost output.

    Draft proofing and installing direct vent equipment (combustion air from outside) can reduce the need for humidification.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by amd View Post
    How did you arrive at the conclusion that you need a 120k BTU furnace?

    Does the house of no insulation in it? Ductwork may not be sufficient to for the 1700+ CFM that furnace will need to move on high.

    If the house only requires an 80 or 100k BTU furnace, a cheaper properly sized 2-stage unit may perform in a similar manner to the 3 stage ICS.

    Or a 3 stage 100,000 BTU will perform better yet.


    Bypass humidifiers work fine - might want to consider using hot water to boost output.

    Draft proofing and installing direct vent equipment (combustion air from outside) can reduce the need for humidification.
    Bypass humidifiers are somewhat safer to use then powered ones. Since you can mount the humidifier on the return. So that if it ever leaks water. the water doesn't run into the controls and destroy them.

    A powered humidifier works best if its installed on the supply plenum. Doesn't work real well installed on the return.
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  4. #4
    kenney t Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Bypass humidifiers are somewhat safer to use then powered ones. Since you can mount the humidifier on the return. So that if it ever leaks water. the water doesn't run into the controls and destroy them.

    A powered humidifier works best if its installed on the supply plenum. Doesn't work real well installed on the return.
    some powered ones can be remotely installed like honeywell true steam

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by esj View Post
    We plan on installing Carrier Infinity ICS furnace soon (3 stage 95% 120,000BTU). The Carrier dealer recommended a bypass humidifier but most of the contractors we talked to seemed to recommend a fan-powered one, We are confused by all these different opinions. What really matters when making a decision like this? We have a 3300 sq. ft. house in IL. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
    With variable speed fans many suggest powered humidifiers. I always like setting a water sensor alarm by the furnace-humidifier. $12.00 at hardware stores.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenney t View Post
    some powered ones can be remotely installed like honeywell true steam
    The Truesteam, is a steam humidifier. Its not a powered humidifier. Even though it uses a lot of electric.

    A powered humidifier, is one that has its own fan inside of it. To circulate the air through its pad.
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  7. #7
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    Similar question. How do I install an Aprilaire bypass humidifier on a Rheem RGRM (ecm motor) furnace?

    Seems they suggest a model 50 current sensing relay to be jumped to the AC motor common lead, but how would I do this with an ecm motor?

  8. #8
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    I should add: I've ordered a Honeywell IAQ for this system. Is it possible that the current sensing relay is not necessary? Will the IAQ coordinate the humidifier with the fan/ heating cycle?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by e999999 View Post
    I should add: I've ordered a Honeywell IAQ for this system. Is it possible that the current sensing relay is not necessary? Will the IAQ coordinate the humidifier with the fan/ heating cycle?
    Residential HVAC: Questions and discussions pertaining to HVAC for the home. No pricing, NO DIY, please read Site Rules!

  10. #10
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    I like the tru steams performance and ability to humidify without the heat operation as do some of my customers. The bypass units work well, but I don't like the recirculation through the system.
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  11. #11
    Thanks for all the inputs! We have no background in HVAC so any suggestion is appreciated! Regarding the BTU, it seems only one or two contractors suggested 100k is enough. But we have a sunroom (300 sq ft, new addition) and a finished basement. In order to heat the sunroom, the impression we got from some contractors is that we need 120k BTU. Any downside by going to 120k vs.100k? (not sure about the duckwork, we just moved in to this 93' house)
    As far as humidifier, if we go with a fan-powered one, it does not seem we have enough space to install it above the coil location since the furnace is located under a sunken family room. Will this be an issue? That's the main reason holding us back from getting a fan-powered one. Any thoughts?

  12. #12
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    If you don't have enough room to install it on the supply plenum. It won't humidify your house very well.

    Sun rooms don't heat or cool evenly when they are on the same system as the rest of the house. In the summer they gain heat quicker then the rest of the house, and in the winter, they lose heat quicker then the rest of the house.

    Its works best to have its own system. A mini split usually works well for them.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith73 View Post
    I like the tru steams performance and ability to humidify without the heat operation as do some of my customers. The bypass units work well, but I don't like the recirculation through the system.
    I use to be a big fan of these but....several customer complaints about hydro consumption and no servicable components......if it breaks throw it away and start again, Imagine that.....1 1/2 years old, sensor goes for a s*** and you have to tell the customer to buy a new unit ! YIKES

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