Furnace Humidifiers. Do They Work?
In Canada, winter lasts almost six months or more, and because the price of energy goes up every year, Canadians are now excessively insulating their homes. This heating is a significant inconvenience for the occupants, as the heat dries out the air in the house and reduces the humidity level too much. However, there is a solution to this problem: furnace humidifiers. But what are they, and how do they work?
What is humidity?
Humidity means the quantity of water that is in the air. “Relative humidity,” on the other hand, describes how much moisture there is in the air in comparison to the maximum quantity of water the air can hold before saturation happens. This top humidity level is related to air temperature, so the warmer the air, the more moisture it can absorb.
What are humidifiers?
Humidifiers are devices that humidify the air to provide comfort to the inhabitants of a house or apartment. The humidifiers for central heating systems are permanently connected to the plumbing and the forced air heating system of the living space. They will deliver moist air throughout the house and make it more comfortable to live.
Pros of Furnace Humidifiers
The furnace humidifier improves the quality of indoor air. Dry air irritates the eyes, nose, throat and dries up the skin. Dry air is also a challenge for a home, drying out wood floors, furniture, and plants. Comfort is felt when humidity levels are at 50%. However, a rate between 35 and 60% can do the trick. If it’s very cold outside, at 50%, you see condensation building up on the windows; you can then lower the rate to around 40%. Equip yourself with a device to measure the humidity in your rooms (hygrometer). They are inexpensive and handy.
Cons of Furnace Humidifiers
Furnace humidifiers can cause damage due to moisture when it has condensed. Condensation of water from excessively humid air will be visible on the interior surface of windows and any relatively cool surface. Excess moisture on windows can damage glass and walls. But what’s more serious is when moisture builds up in the interior surfaces of exterior walls. Moisture can damage the insulation, and the wall will rot. Besides, the paint may chip, crack or blister; and an accumulation of mold. Mold can be dangerous for people with compromised immune systems. All that being said, you can avoid most of these problems by cleaning your humidifier well every week, using spring water, and making sure to control your room humidity levels so that it isn’t too high or too low.
Types of Humidifiers
There are three types of humidifiers you can use. Here are their strength and weakness:
The Hot steam humidifier
Hot steam humidifiers are mini-kettles with a heating element that releases a jet of hot steam. This type of humidifier allows the addition of inhaled medication to relieve nasal congestion. But specialists claim that these products may contain elements that irritate the respiratory system of sensitive people. Hot steam furnace humidifiers have the advantage of being much easier to maintain. The water is boiled, and the steam escapes without any bacteria. Also, this type of humidifier will warm the room, handy in the cold season. But watch out for burns if you have children. Never place your device on a piece of furniture or a table, but the floor, away from people. The bubbling noise can also make you uncomfortable if you are a light sleeper.
Cool mist humidifier
These are the first furnace humidifiers on the market. They used to be huge water tanks on wheels, which looked like a piece of furniture, where a big wheel was spinning, moistening a large synthetic sponge. You would need to fill the tank once a week. These types of humidifiers are smaller and easier to use today. Always on the same principle, with an air inlet that pushes the humidity of the wick filter out.
However, the device must be cleaned every week to eliminate bacteria and their transmission in the room. Wash your appliance with vinegar and the filter in the washing machine. The filter will deteriorate over time, and you will need to replace it every winter.
These devices are quiet and robustly constructed. They will last for several years if properly maintained. You should always empty the water between two refills to eliminate microorganisms that may accumulate inside it.
In this device, there is no vapor, but only a little mist is displayed by the high frequency of oscillation. Like the cool mist humidifier, because the water is not boiled, the tank becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, and you need to maintain it religiously every week. They are also very quiet and more expensive than the other two.
Their disadvantage comes from the quality of your water. If it is limestone, then you will find a fine white powder on the floor and furniture.
Why do you need to use a humidifier?
Like those that cause influenza, some pathogens spread more quickly when the air is dry than when it is humid. When the air is moist, the irritated and inflamed airways seem soothed. If a person has a cold and has thick nasal secretions, the furnace humidifier may help reduce the secretions and facilitate breathing.
When the indoor air is too dry, the following problems can occur:
- damage to anything made in wood-like instruments;
- will make your skin dry;
- exacerbate eczema or psoriasis and other skin conditions;
- static electricity that can be annoying for both humans and pets
What Should You Set Your Humidifier At?
Here are the different humidity levels and what they mean:
- 70% and more: Feeling of heaviness, discomfort, a proliferation of viruses and bacteria
- 60% and more: Possibility of mold growth
- 50%: Comfort, condensation on the windows all winter
- 40%: Sensation of dry skin in the most sensitive people
- 30%: Dry skin, condensation on windows
- 25% and less: Chapped skin, sore sinuses, itchy eyes, and other symptoms
- 20%: No condensation on windows, even at – 29 ℃
To track the relative humidity in the air, all you need to do is get a hygrometer, at less than $ 15 at the hardware store.
How to Set a Furnace Humidifier During Winter?
In winter, the humidity should be kept between 30% and 50%. This level is healthy for the occupants and the house. This prevents, among other things, the phenomenon of shrinkage of hardwood floors, which leaves spaces between the planks and causes squeaking.
At 50%, there will frequently be condensation on windows, even those recently installed. Too frequent and abundant, condensation water can rot the frames.
How Often You Need to Replace a Furnace Humidifier Filter?
Sometimes evaporative humidifiers are fitted with disposable floating filters that drain the water to the fan. Clean or change a filter as often as your manufacturer recommends. Ultrasonic humidifiers can be equipped with disposable mineral filters housed in a cartridge. Replace the humidity pads on the humidifiers installed on the heating system every year.
How to Clean a Furnace Humidifier Filter?
The furnace humidifier is equipped with a wheel fitted with a sponge tape that absorbs the water in a tank. The furnace model requires service and maintenance because of mold and dirt that can accumulate in the water. The continuous flow or “flow” humidifier is a better quality device, but it is more expensive than the drum model because fresh water will flow into an aluminum panel. The excess water is drained from the board using a drainage tube.
In summary, humidifiers for central heating systems serve to humidify the air to increase residents’ comfort. Still, they can cause health problems and property damage if not properly maintained. If you need a new furnace humidifier or to maintain your existing one, contact Smile HVAC for the region’s best and fastest service.
Contact Smile HVAC!
If you need to install or repair your humidifier don’t hesitate to call Smile HVAC at (+1) 437-777-4555 or contact us online. Our specialists will take care of your HVAC equipment providing the best service at the affordable price in GTA