Humidifier for Whole House

Humidifiers are employed to give additional moisture to the air, so if you’re dealing with dry skin, dry throat, or other respiratory symptoms, this device can assist in making your home a little more comfortable. Nevertheless, regular humidifiers are usually only powerful enough to regulate the air in one room at once. If you wish to add moisture to each room in your house, a whole-home humidifier is your best option.

Whole-home humidifiers are stronger units designed to add moisture to the air in spaces 1,000 square feet or larger. There are different types of whole-home humidifiers on the market today, featuring freestanding units and furnace-mounted models. Whichever style you choose, make sure the device is large enough to humidify the square footage of your home.

Do you need a whole-house model?

Whole-house humidifiers usually function in combination with your HVAC system to maintain your indoor humidity at appropriate levels by dispensing humidified air throughout your house through air ducts. You only need a one-time installation and minor maintenance because, unlike portable models, whole-house humidifiers do not need constant refilling since they are connected to your water supply and drain for constant performance. Initially, they might cost you a small fortune due to the technology involved and the professional installation, but ultimately they are a lot cheaper to maintain. They are fitting for large spaces or a multi-level house.

Whole House Humidifier Types

There are two main distinctions:

Built-in humidifiers, also called ducted humidifiers and whole-house humidifiers, are installed in the supply (hot air) plenum or the cold air plenum adjacent to the furnace.

Stand-alone whole-house humidifiers do not attach to the ductwork, so they can be put at any place in the house.

Ducted Humidifiers

Built-ins come in three distinct types:

Drum whole-house humidifiers

It uses a rotating drum, an absorbent drum pad, and a water tray. When the furnace is active the drum rotates and acquires water. The water then evaporates into the warm air passing over it on its way to the ductwork of your homes. Because of this drum humidifiers are called evaporative humidifiers.

Pros and cons: Drum humidifiers use less water than steam humidifiers and types that use drain humidifiers. More maintenance is required because mineral deposits and mold can form in the tray with the absence of regular cleaning.

Bypass whole-house humidifiers

Bypass ones employ a metal pad that water trickles over as warm air passes over it. These are also evaporative humidifiers. The air is directed from the furnace using a damper, and hence the name “bypass.” They are also sometimes called “pass-through” humidifiers. Larger bypass humidifiers often have their own fan to ease drawing in air and pushing it into the ductwork.

Pros and cons: These humidifiers require less maintenance and are rarely infested by mold. Certain bypass water heaters splurge water because what isn’t evaporated goes down a drain. Other models cut water bills by reducing water waste.

Steam whole-house humidifiers

They come with a small boiler that produces steam. The unit is wired to the furnace so that the blower motor turns on while the steam humidifier is creating steam.

Pros and cons: Steam whole-house humidifiers help you reach your desired humidity level the fastest way, and they produce the most humidity. They also utilize a lot of water, for steam and for flushing sediment out of the unit at certain intervals. If you have metered water instead of a well, watch out for higher water bills. A drain is needed for this type to flush the water.

Stand-alone Whole House Humidifiers

The two types are: Console whole-house humidifiers and pedestal whole-house humidifiers. The names actually refer to their shape and size. They are both types of non-ducted humidifiers.

Non-ducted whole-house humidifiers are often intended for use in homes without a forced-air system. There are two options to be considered:

Homes with forced-air HVAC: These units are also fitting in homes with forced air systems. The moist air is pulled into the cold air, it returns when the furnace is running and evenly distributed to all rooms. They are very effective in these types of homes.

Homes without forced-air HVAC: No ductwork means a non-ducted unit is usually the best option. Nevertheless, in multi-story homes or ranches, you may need to put a fan or two in strategic locations to get the humidified air properly scattered. Moisture will ultimately even out in your home, but if you want to facilitate it, position a fan in a hallway leading to bedrooms or at the top of the stairs.

Ducted vs stand-alone whole-house humidifiers

Both have their upsides and downsides

Advantages of a ducted whole house humidifier:

  • They don’t require to be refilled
  • The cost of bypass and drum types is competitive with non-ducted whole-house humidifiers
  • The best way to evenly disperse the humidified air is the ductwork
  • They use less electricity
  • They are superior in two-story homes
  • Ducted humidifiers are usually quieter

Disadvantages of a ducted whole house humidifier:

  • The installation costs are quite expensive, especially if you hire a professional
  • Steam furnace humidifiers are very expensive and use a lot of water
  • Steam models can over-humidify spaces, so manufacturers state the minimum and maximum square footage of your home
  • They are not portable, so if you move out of your home you’ll lose them

Advantages of a stand-alone whole house humidifier:

  • Easy transport from room to room
  • Can be taken with you

Disadvantages of a stand-alone whole house humidifier:

  • They are noisier
  • Without a forced HVAC system, they rely on natural airflow, that can sometimes be tricky


With our thorough review, you surely have gathered enough information to see whether you need a whole-house humidifier. These powerful appliances are quite useful for both you and your living space and even though some types might lighten your wallet initially, they certainly are worth in the long run.


If you require more information, please check these references

Indoor particle concentrations associated with use of tap water in portable humidifiers , article, "", retrieved on, Sun 18-October-2020

Tackling misconceptions about mold , article, "", retrieved on, Sun 18-October-2020

Humidifiers Increase Moisture--and Sometimes Bacteria , article, "", retrieved on, Sun 18-October-2020

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