Thanks for your help Kim. We considered window units for the hottest areas, but whole-house humidification was one of our critical goals. Our main floors are routinely in the 15-25% humidity range with the basement usually about 10% higher. I’ve given up playing my wood guitar except in the basement, because repaired dryness cracks always open up again. There are major problems with some wood furniture as well. We need to keep the house up to at least 35-40%, so we no longer need to worry about wood items self-destructing in our dry climate.
We looked closely at high velocity systems in the first go-round with contractors. It looked great for our house at first, but after talking to some people who’ve had high-velocity installed we had to reconsider. My wife is so sensitive to moving air that if we sit near a ceiling outlet in a restaurant we have to ask to be reseated. She will start shivering in 70 degree air if there is any kind of constant breeze. This is kind of hard for most people (including me) to imagine, but it is a fact for her. The owners of Unico, etc. systems that we corresponded with all complained about noticing strong air movement., We felt it would be unwise to gamble on my wife’s comfort, since the whole point of a modern climate control system is to make you more rather than less comfortable.
This is why we bit the bullet on traditional ductwork, and this is why we’re slowly tearing bits and pieces of our house apart and putting them back together again with duct inside.