Humidifier Settings, Installation and Maintenance Tips
During extremely cold weather, your home loses humidity to the outdoors. Depending on the time of year the humidity levels may drop to as low as 10%. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommend that your home maintain a humidity level between 30-60%. As the exterior air temperature changes so do the optimal interior humidity levels of your home. Therefore, post-setup/installation, your maintenance settings will be based on what’s happening outside.
Without any equipment or expert knowledge, one easy way to tell if your settings are too high is with a simple visual inspection to look at the condensation forming on your windows. If excessive moisture collects on windows your humidistat is set to high. Excess humidity over a prolonged time can damage windows and walls especially when outdoor air temperatures are very low. As the temperature drops outside so must the humidity levels in your home. If the weatherman calls for a prolonged cold snap be sure to lower your humidistat.
In general, we recommend setting the dial on your humidifier at 35%. You may want to raise or lower it slightly because each home and preference is different. To ensure the proper humidity level for your home have been reached, raise the setting until you see a small accumulation of water droplets forming on the bottom half inch of your window panes then back it off slightly (a few percents).
Depending on the model you choose and the size of your home, a humidifier uses from 1 to 15 gallons per day when the furnace is operating. This minimal amount of water is enough to raise the humidity to your desired level.
Whole-House OR Room?
A whole-house humidifier will make sure the humidity is consistent throughout your home. The main unit is installed in the ductwork, right beside your furnace. While it may be installed by a skilled do-it-yourself homeowner, proper installation requires knowledge of HVAC, plumbing and electrical. Therefore, to ensure the equipment is installed correctly, most homeowners should hire a professional
Tip: leverage ServiceLive to find a pro in your area.
For localized comfort or smaller houses, a console/room humidifier should be sufficient. Simply purchase one at your favorite retailer, and follow the instructions to set it up.
One of the most important aspects of a humidifier is the filter. The filter allows air to circulate through the wetted media trapping particles and adding clean water to moisten the air. Depending on your water’s hardness and mineral content you may need to change your filter twice during each season.
Tip: if you have the humidistat on max and the air in your home is still dry and/or your console/room humidifier doesn’t need refilling as often, it’s probably time to replace the filter.
Whole-house humidifiers are recommended for their lower maintenance and because they evenly distribute the humidity across the entire home. Because of lower water requirements, a whole house humidifier can run for eight to twelve weeks before needing a thorough cleaning.
Tip: replace the filter yourself by purchasing a compatible filter sold at home improvement stores and/or local hardware stores. Simply write down the make/model and an associate can help you find the right filter. Then, changing it out is similar to swapping out your furnace filter.
Console/room humidifiers, on the other hand, need to be refilled daily and may need to be cleaned out weekly during the season to remove any mold and bacteria build up.
Regardless of the type of unit you have we recommend installing a new filter at the start of the season and then once again after the first of the year (every 2-3 months depending on the hardness of water in your area).