Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    204
    I've been meaning to post this for some time (forgive my laziness). I did a search of this site to ensure I wasn't about to beat a dead horse and was surprised to see not one thread addressing this issue. Since my earlier days of working for a company that does alot of new residential construction I have made it my mission in life to make customers aware of the importance of keeping their humidifiers cleaned and that if they can't they should get rid of their drum type humidifier and replace it with a drip style such as a Aprilaire 550.
    What prompted me to, finally, start this thread was, just recently, I had a no a.c. service call on a system that had a drum type humidifier mounted on the return of a furnace and before I even looked at it I mentioned to the customer how she should get rid of it. When I did look at it it only reaffirmed my commitment to inform the public of how disgusting these things are. The muck was so thick in the pan you could see how the drum was dragging thru it. The customer gagged when I showed it to her and she told me to take the thing out the system which I was more than glad to do even though I hate having to handle these things.
    It makes me wonder why these things have not been outlawed. Time and time, again, I find this type of humidifier full of what looks like pond scum. You have to wonder what type of mold spores and other potential diseases these things are subjecting the customers to. I know from what I read on this site that most of you are professionals. If you sell this type of humidifier and doubt what I say I dare you to go back to several of earlier installs and see, firsthand, what I am talking about. You may say that it is the customer's responsibility to keep up with the proper maintenance of their equipment, but as anyone knows who has worked in this field for any length of time most customers don't want to be bothered with the very regular required cleaning of these things. This is, also, why I don't sell electronic air cleaners. They are a pain in the ass to clean and customers couldn't be bothered and both items are only good to have if they are regularly cleaned. And to the customer's defense I have been told by them many times that no one bothered to explain to them what was required to properly maintain their system. (Maybe, if someone had, beforehand, they would never have opted to buy these things.)
    Sorry to be long in the tooth, but I felt it too important to allow this matter to go ignored any longer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    172
    AGREED!! Also had a few calls due to the float getting stuck down in the muck and overfilling and dumping water into the furnace/ductwork/everything else under and around it. And of course they never catch it unless it frys something in the furnace or has dumped a ton of water all over their basement.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    23

    Cool humidifier

    I had a contractor put in an Aprilaire for me after my first winter in my house. Best investment ever. Do you see similiar problems if the homeowners don't change the pad inside these units. I change mine yearly but I know some people never bother.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    172
    When the pad gets old or really heavy laden with mold/gunk, it falls apart and either plugs the drain in the humidifier (and then it overflows) or it falls into the ductwork and pieces get sucked through or into filters, blowers, etc. You are wise Nick M changing yours yearly!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    23

    Smile

    PM is a good thing!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,513
    could not agree more. they should be outlawed.
    i hate working on them and even touching them
    april air are the only type i install

  7. #7
    Humidifiers need to be cleaned yearly.

    At the time of cleaning, they get a new pad... PERIOD.

    I have seen a film cover the top of the pad and not allow water to penetrate the filter. Not a good scenario.

    The cost of a pad is nothing compared to the cost of a flood!

  8. #8

    I totally disagree

    I am amazed that HVAC contractors have such a hard time with drum type humidifiers. I had one of these when I first moved into my house and it was great. But of course, I am the type of person who does do maintenance on things that need it and I always kept a descaler tablet in the reservour and cleaned the unit and changed the pad at least once a year. I assume the horrors you have witnessed were on drum type humidifiers that have not been cleaned in several years.
    I finally got a new more efficient furnace that had an AprilAire flow through humidifier on it. The first winter I was surprised to find that I could not get the humidity in the house any higher than about 28% With the old furnace I kept the humidity at about 35 to 40% and the house was much more comfortable. Later on in the winter I noticed a significant spike in my water bill. I live in a suburban area that has very high water rates. I put a bucket under the drain hose and it filled up in a matter of hours. I think this stupid April Aire unit wastes more water than it evaporates. So I am now looking for a good drum type unit that doesn't waste any water to replace this almost useless April Aire unit.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by arcdude View Post
    I am amazed that HVAC contractors have such a hard time with drum type humidifiers. I had one of these when I first moved into my house and it was great. But of course, I am the type of person who does do maintenance on things that need it and I always kept a descaler tablet in the reservour and cleaned the unit and changed the pad at least once a year. I assume the horrors you have witnessed were on drum type humidifiers that have not been cleaned in several years.
    I finally got a new more efficient furnace that had an AprilAire flow through humidifier on it. The first winter I was surprised to find that I could not get the humidity in the house any higher than about 28% With the old furnace I kept the humidity at about 35 to 40% and the house was much more comfortable. Later on in the winter I noticed a significant spike in my water bill. I live in a suburban area that has very high water rates. I put a bucket under the drain hose and it filled up in a matter of hours. I think this stupid April Aire unit wastes more water than it evaporates. So I am now looking for a good drum type unit that doesn't waste any water to replace this almost useless April Aire unit.
    I am having the same problem since I had my Lennox SLP98 installed. With the very low fire rate and blower speeds most of my water is going down the drain. I am contemplating replacing my current honeywell bypass with the new Aprilaire 400 bypass that does not waste water. I did install a 2 gallon per hour landscape drip emitter on my current humidifier line that runs to the pad and that has cut water waste substantially. I know it's rigged but if anyone has a better idea I am all ears.
    Last edited by srm077; 01-31-2011 at 01:53 PM. Reason: kant spell...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    999
    Around 40 years ago, in my first house, I installed a Sears drum type humidifier. The media was black, similar to a washable furnace filter.

    At the end of a heating season, I would remove the media and soak it in straight vinegar. After 4 or 5 seasons, I would replace it.

    Used it for many years, until something broke. Never saw any scum, slime, or whatever. Never had a float problem. Was considering a Skuttle drum unit for my present home.

    Amp

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    93
    i like the steam humidifiers the best. use alot of heat pumps in my area they do ok with evaporative style humidifiers but the steam will add moisture even if the hp is not running and they dont waste very much water and the new models are easy to clean

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Las Vegas,NV
    Posts
    745
    I always struggled with having somewhere to mount a whole house humidifier, because my unit is on the roof. I ended up mounting a drum unit in the laundry room and ran a supply and return down to it, worked out well. I also added a skuttle automatic drain timer that dumps the water every twelve hours.
    So far this winter, the unit is staying really clean. My biggest problem is, I am running it with a heat pump and as we all know, the air is not quite hot enough. So far this winter, I have been able to keep the humidity in the 30 to 35 percent range. It's not as high as I would like but it's better than the usual 20 percent of years past and the static shock problem is gone.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    204
    Quote Originally Posted by arcdude View Post
    I assume the horrors you have witnessed were on drum type humidifiers that have not been cleaned in several years.

    I finally got a new more efficient furnace that had an AprilAire flow through humidifier on it. The first winter I was surprised to find that I could not get the humidity in the house any higher than about 28% With the old furnace I kept the humidity at about 35 to 40% and the house was much more comfortable. Later on in the winter I noticed a significant spike in my water bill. I live in a suburban area that has very high water rates.
    Sir, you raise a valid point about April Aire drip thru's......They do use quite a bit of water, but with the fact that most are on a well system that's not metered in this area, water is less of a concern than in your area. There should be some kind of self filtering, float controlled recycling catch bucket for this type.Problem with well systems is the wide range water conditions that come along with them and practically no one adds , at least, a basic whole-house water filter on their incoming water supply into the house. I have well water and a filter is a must when you have old 2" galvanized pipe.

    Yes, I have seen some very disgusting drum type water pans, but "if" you have decent water and "if" you are like yourself conscientious enough to maintain a regimented cleaning schedule, then, yes, you will do alright with a drum type humidifier, but experience as service tech in this field has shown me that the average little old lady or home owner wants nothing to do with maintaining these things and once every six months when we come by to inspect the system is not enough maintenance on these things.

    Steam type humidifiers make the most sense in that they kill bacteria and mold spores that love to grow in warm standing pools of water, which is why I prefer the drip thru's .....no standing water, but even these get scuzzy depending on water conditions. Bottom line....they all need regular maintenance.

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