While everyone longs for a white winter, the problems associated with dry winter air can be unpleasant. Low humidity can dry out our skin, our mucous membranes, and our nasal passages. It can also cause undue drying of the wooden structures of our home. What’s more, our well-intentioned efforts to heat our cold, wintry space often make the problem even worse by removing any moisture remaining in the air. This causes nosebleeds, cough, sore throat, and more.
A humidifier can help alleviate many of the problems associated with dry air. Humidifiers work by sending moisture into circulation in the air, raising the humidity level. Tabletop humidifiers are good choices for humidifying a small space, such as a nursery or bedroom. Console humidifiers are larger and are effective for humidifying multiple rooms or small apartments. For humidifying large spaces or a whole house, however, it is much more cost-effective to use a whole house humidifier. These generally attach to either the air-conditioning or heating system and circulate moisture throughout the entire home.
Furnace humidifiers, as the name suggests, are connected to the furnace system. It is installed in the ducts and works with your home’s heating and cooling system to humidify your entire house. A furnace humidifier uses your home’s water system.
With prices starting around $100, furnace humidifiers are initially more expensive than the other models. However, they are more energy efficient and cost less to operate over the long haul. Annual maintenance costs, including filter changes, run from $2 to $30.
When purchasing a furnace humidifier, look for a model than has a humidistat. This will allow you to set the desired humidity lever. When that level is reached, the humidifier will shut off. This feature is important as it helps avoid the problem of over-humidifying.
As with other types of humidifiers, your furnace humidifier will need to be cleaned and disinfected according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Failure to follow the instructions can lead to the growth of mold and bacteria. These would then be sent circulating through your home.