When it comes to heating season, we have the opposite problem that summer gives us: super dry air. Now because of COVID-19, the problem of having dry indoor air is a much bigger concern than before, because it is said that the virus thrives in low humidity conditions.
Having a Central Air Humidifier installed can be a helpful solution to this
This blog will explore what a central air humidifier does
Why would it be good to consider a central air humidifier?
If you were to invest in a central air humidifier you could say good-bye to a lot of things because it would help tremendously with itchy eyes, flyaway hair, dry skin, and irritated sinuses or sore throats caused by dry air. Not to mention you will not miss those static electricity shocks you normally get when walking across carpet in your home or business. All the annoyances mentioned above can be reduced or eliminated with the installation of a central air humidifier.
It is also said that a central air humidifier can also work in helping to protect occupants of your space from COVID-19. Reason being is the fact that during the winter months our spaces are closed and heated so the humidity levels tend to drop to extremely low levels. Those are ideal conditions for COVID-19 and unfortunately gives the virus what it needs to thrive as well as remain viable for longer periods.
A central air humidifier adds moisture to the air and research presented has shown that it may make the “droplets” often spoke about less likely to linger in the air or helps limit infections during times when window ventilation is not possible as stated here in his blog article when you follow this link.
What is a Central Air Humidifier?
When people hear the word humidity, they often think of the summer months and the notion of too much moisture in the air. However, too little humidity can be a problem, too especially during the winter months. It is a central air humidifier’s job to ensure the air has a moderate amount of humidity in it (generally between 40 and 50 percent humidity or higher).
Very similar to a thermostat the system contains a humidistat which monitors the amount of moisture in the air. This is where the signal comes from that tells the humidification system to maintain the optimum humidity level in your home or business. The humidifier adds moisture (water vapor) to the air pushed throughout your space by your central HVAC system when the air is uncomfortable dry. The central heating humidifier produces humidity by using water and heat from your furnace. It can achieve this because it is connected to your furnace, HVAC ductwork and your plumbing system. This allows the central air humidifier system to improve air quality conditions through your entire home or commercial space unlike portable humidifiers that only do a small surrounding area wherever they are placed.
Pros and Cons of Central Humidifiers vs. Portable Units
Like mentioned above you also have portable or standalone humidifier units that are also available for purchase besides Central Air Humidifiers. We will look at the pros and cons of these two types.
Central Humidifier Pros/Advantages
- The correct level of moisture can be maintained throughout your entire home or business by a central air humidifier. Portable units can only provide moisture properly in the room where the unit is located.
- Less maintenance than portable units because a central air humidifier is connected to your plumbing system which automatically supplies water needed. Portable units contain a reservoir which could be a hassle because they could require daily manual refilling.
- Less noise comes from a central humidifier system because it is quiet and out of sight. Portable humidifier systems can be noisy not to mention they can be a tripping hazard because of being a stand-alone object stationed somewhere in a room. Do not forget they would also have a cord needing to be plugged in and you would also need to be careful, so you did not get scalded by steam.
- Central air humidifiers are more energy efficient. They often use less energy to humidify a whole house or small business than a standalone unit uses to moisturize a single room.
Advantages of a Portable Humidifier
- Portable Humidifiers/standalone units can be moved from room to room and placed anywhere in the room (if it can be plugged in).
- Portable units can help someone who is sick or suffering from allergies
- Portable units are a good option for people who live in residences that do not have central air.
- Portable units are a good option for tenants that do not own where they reside even if where they reside does have central air.
Central Humidifier Types
Basic central humidifier types:
Flow-Through: The most common used central air humidifier is the flow-through. The flow-through device is a type of device where water trickles into an aluminum panel. The water evaporates into the air because air blows through the panel.
Drum-Type: This type has a foam or sponge like surface that rotates collecting water from an underneath tray. The absorbed water evaporates.
Steam Humidifiers: This type can handle barren environments and are more powerful but usually are more expensive. They create moisture for the air by heating water electrically until it boils which creates steam. The steam humidifiers blower system extracts the steam and then passes it on throughout the home or businesses vents.
Spray Mist Humidifiers: With this kind of humidifier, water is sprayed directly into the air supply in the form of mist which is then picked up by flowing air.
STEAM HUMIDIFIERS/SPRAY MIST HUMIDIFIERS. Steam humidifiers can handle arid environments and are more powerful and usually more expensive. Steam humidifiers add moisture to the air by heating water electrically until it boils and creates steam. The system’s blower extracts the steam and then pushes it throughout the home vents. With a spray mist humidifier, water is sprayed directly into the air supply as a mist and picked up by the flowing air.
When choosing which system would be the right fit you need to take into consideration 3 things:
- Extent of your dry air problem
- Commitment level to performing maintenance
- Your budget
Maintenance with Central Air Humidifiers
Drum type may be least expensive up front, but it also requires a decent amount of routine maintenance. The reservoir tray must be emptied and cleaned on the regular because if it is not the stagnant water can possibly be a breeding ground for bacteria. You certainly would not want contaminated air blown throughout your home or business.
Also, another possible maintenance issue with the drum style is hard water can cause mineral sediments to deposit on the pad which would cause the pad to become hardened and lose its absorbency. It would take routine inspections to know if the pad became encrusted with the minerals and if the pad did have the minerals encrusted it would need to be replaced. If the pad were rendered ineffective and it was not changed it would result in problems with the performance of your air conditioner such as impeded airflow.
The flow-through type of central air humidifier units would require far less maintenance. However, every heating season or winter they would need to see the replacement of its evaporative screen pad.
The steam central air humidifier type automatically flushes out the water tank on the regular during humidifying season. Although it flushes out the water tank automatically it would still need to be manually cleaned out each heating season.
If you chose a spray mist central air humidifier it would have the potential for the spray nozzle to become clogged with mineral deposits, which would then require manual cleaning.
Central Humidifier Units Cost
Drum-Type: Roughly $75 to $275 or more.
Flow Through: $100 to $300 but a high-end model could cast as much as $500.
Spray Mist: About $150
Steam Humidifiers: Between $300 and upwards of $1,200
(Keep in mind this does not include installation charges from a HVAC professional)
A-1 would love to help you choose the best system to fit your needs for your home or business as well as work with you to get it installed. Do not hesitate to give us a call at any time!!
A-1 Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, & Refrigeration Services