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A Closer Look at How a Whole-House Humidifier Works

Earlier in the fall, we discussed why it’s advantageous to have professionals install a whole-house dehumidifier to prepare your home for the winter. Cold weather tends to draw moisture out from the air, and furnaces can also make the air in a home uncomfortably dry. A humidifier can counteract this so you have better comfort, less need to run the heater, and a decrease in the health issues associated with low humidity.

We’d like to examine how a whole-house humidifier works, as this well help you understand why it’s more effective to have one installed rather than rely on a simple room humidifier, which is really not much more than a steamer.

The Basics of the Whole-House Humidifier

A flow-through whole-house humidifier, the most common type installed in homes, is integrated into the ventilation system so that all the conditioned air from the heater and AC passes through it. A water feed line connected to a fresh water pipe carries water into the humidifier, where it is then spread through a large evaporator pad. This pad allows for the maximum surface area for the water, and this makes it much easier for it to evaporate and enter into the conditioned air passing through the humidifier. The water raises the relative humidity of the air that then enters the living spaces of the home.

To avoid bacteria and algae developing in the pad, leftover water inside it drains down into a pan, where a drain then removes it. However, the pad will still need to be replaced once a year, usually after the season when the humidifier does the most work. The pad will also catch some impurities from the water supply.

Controlling the humidifier is a device much like a thermostat, called, appropriately, a humidistat. The humidistat should be set between 30% and 45% relative humidity, and the humidifier will remain on until it reaches this level, after which it will shut off until needed again. This maintains the humidity level you want without your home’s air becoming too damp.

Malek Heating & Cooling offers installation of humidifiers, as well as many other indoor air quality services, in Winnetka, IL and throughout Chicagoland.

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