Humidifiers are the number one choice for dealing with the problems of dry skin, allergies, and even energy inefficiency. Believe it or not, inside our homes can have a lower relative humidity than the middle of the desert! But there are so many humidifiers on the market, how do you know which to choose?
When selecting a humidifier for your home, you must consider a few different criteria you may have. Don’t worry about features you won’t use – if you aren’t going to use it, it’s unnecessary.
- How easy is the unit to install? Many whole-house humidifiers must be installed directly to your furnace and water line. While they can be installed by those with a little know-how, the average person would be better suited by a professional installation.
- How much room does it cover? It’s important to note that the ratings given to the product from the manufacturer will be dependent on a few factors. They will assume that you have standard 8-foot ceilings and that you have your home properly insulated.
- How easy will it be to find and change filters? The filters are a necessary part of the running of your humidifier, and generally they cannot be cleaned and reused.
- What is your budget? Of course, a higher budget will generally net you a higher quality product – but there are models available for every price range.
Top Whole-House Humidifiers
This humidifier comes from one of the biggest names in the industry. Honeywell is well known for creating quality products at reasonable prices. The product description states that you’ll need an “installation kit” – but in reality this just refers to the copper tubing and other plumbing materials. Users with previous plumbing and DIY experience were able to handle the installation with the included instructions in just a few hours. More modest DIYers should call a professional to ensure that there are no problems.
That being said, many users reported that the instructions included were confusing – which is generally a sign that you should solicit the help of a professional if you have any doubts. Even with perfect installation, this unit is known to have dripping problems due to the process it uses. With a professional installation, it’ll be out of your sight, so this inconvenience is minor – just make sure you keep a bucket under it.
One of this humidifier’s strongest features is that it can be installed to either the warm air supply (hot) or return air duct (cold). However, it should be known that the supply side will yield more efficient results and less leaking. It is rated to handle up to 4200 square-foot homes (assuming 8-foot ceilings) and comes with a one-year warranty. This warranty may come in handy as many users have reported that the transformers are notorious for going out. It’s not the majority of the users, but there is a sufficient enough number to consider it a downside.
Those who have previously used the Aprilaire 760 will notice that this is the perfect upgrade/replacement for when your old unit isn’t meeting your needs anymore. Like the Honeywell, this unit can handle up to 4200 square feet with 8-foot ceilings.
It requires a minimal amount of maintenance that can be performed by any adult in the household – check your filters about once a month, and replace them when they get grimey. (Remember that these filters are an important part of the functioning of your humidifier, and neglecting to change them can cause permanent damage to the unit.) You should also examine the inner fan and check all the pipes and wires to ensure that nothing has happened to them since your last check. If anything looks wrong, replace it – it’s cheaper to replace a single part than to have to install an entirely new system.
In fact, Aprilaire has included with this product an impressive 5-year warranty that covers all parts. It doesn’t cover the labor necessary to fix them, but a little bit of knowledge can go a long way. Of course, if you do not feel confident in your ability to make the repairs, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact someone more qualified.
AirCare EP9 800
Unlike the other humidifiers on our list, the AirCare is a stand-alone unit – no installation is required. Simply take it out of the box, fill it with water, and program your settings. Naturally this pedestal-style humidifier will take more day-to-day maintenance than “permanent” models, but it’ll all be things you can handle yourself – even if you live alone and have no prior experience.
It is rated up to 2800 square feet of usage, but its efficiency will vary depending on many factors. It is incredibly effective as a humidifier in a large single room, but it may take a few hours to cycle through your whole house if your rooms are smaller. This isn’t a flaw in the design, exactly, just a consideration you’ll need to factor in. For those with larger houses or many separate rooms, you may be better suited with one of the more permanent models.
This particular humidifier has a 3.5-gallon capacity in the water tank, which on the lowest setting will run for about 60 hours. There are 9 different fan settings to choose from, and you may notice that you’ll need to turn the fan down when you are watching television or trying to enjoy quiet time. However, the highest setting will make it fill your home with nice, fresh-feeling air much quicker, and is hardly noticeable if you aren’t right in the room with it.
Overall, if you’re unsure of which humidifier would best suit you, it’s vital that you consider your individual needs. If you need something that will competently handle your entire house and you don’t mind paying someone to install it for you, the Aprilaire may be the best choice for you. If you don’t mind doing a little extra maintenance, the Honeywell is widely regarded as a trusted model. However, for those who want to make sure they can competently handle their humidifier on their own without any professional help, the AirCare is a stylish choice that will help you find peace in your newly-refreshed air.