Now that the furnaces are running we are remembering what dry, winter air feels like. Is anyone else but me shocking themselves multiple times a day? It’s time to think about adding a humidifier to your home’s heating system.
Humidifiers are accessories added to a furnace that add moisture into the air during the winter. Lack of moisture in the air causes problems like dry skin, static electricity/static shocks, nosebleeds and reduced comfort. It can also lead to increased illness as viruses and bacteria thrive in drier air.
In Cleveland homes we normally see two types of humidifiers, bypass and power.
With a bypass humidifier, when the furnace turns on water is added to a panel similar to your furnace air filter. The air blows through this panel, adding water vapor into the warm air blowing into your house. The excess water is drained away. A power humidifier is similar but has its own fan built in. This allows it to put more moisture into the air since it can run whether the furnace is currently running or not. This type of humidifier is often needed in larger homes to allow them to reach comfortable humidity levels.
Room humidifiers can’t add as much water to the air as these ducted humidifiers can. In addition, mold/bacteria growth can be an issue for the free standing units because as soon as you add the water, mold and bacteria start growing in it. Anything in the water ends up blowing through the air in your home. Humidifiers installed in your ductwork don’t have this issue because there is no standing reservoir of water.
The water panel should usually be changed annually, possibly more with hard water or well water. A technician will clean out any sediment and clean the drain tubing as part of a humidifier maintenance tune up and make sure all parts are moving freely. A power humidifier, because of its blower motor, requires a little more maintenance.
Watch your windows
Unless your humidifier is tied in to an outdoor temperature sensor, you’ll need to monitor your windows. If you notice condensation on your windows, that means you have too much humidity in the air and you should turn your humidifier down a bit so you don’t damage your window frames. You can’t add as much humidity to your home as you would like to when it is very cold outside without causing condensation on the windows, especially if your windows aren’t well-insulated. Humidifiers with automatic controls can make these adjustments for you, and they can sometimes be added to an existing unit.
If you would like more information about humidifiers, or to get help choosing the proper system for your home, contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We provide preventive maintenance, repair and installation of humidifiers for greater Cleveland homeowners.
Kim Nemecek works at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. After growing up in Cleveland, she lived in Florida for many years, working at an air conditioning company there. Kim has four grown children, two grandchildren and two spoiled dogs. She lives in Solon with her husband, Todd.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.