Air at home too dry? Have family members suffering from prolonged issues like dry skin, cracked lips, respiratory troubles or seasonal allergies?
Well, you probably want to get an air humidifier that can efficiently humidify your whole building or apartment.
Getting a whole house humidifier installed in your home can help you keep the atmospheric moisture under control in all seasons.
But before you consider buying one for your home, you should be knowledgeable enough about how these home appliances work, benefit and help eliminate all these issues.
Here in this guide, we will try to address all your questions you may have in mind.
Also, we list down the top available models on the market and their detailed reviews. So without any delay, let’s jump in…
- What Is A Whole House Humidifier?
- 7 Best Whole House Humidifier Reviews
- Factors to Look At When Buying
- Whole House Humidifier Benefits
- Types Of Whole House Humidifiers
- How Do Whole House Humidifiers Work?
- How Much Water Does a Whole House Humidifier Use?
What Is A Whole House Humidifier?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (epa.gov), normal humidity that serves the comfort level in our home should be around 30 to 50 percent.
Below 30 percent may cause dryness in the air while above 50 percent may lead to the growth of mold, fungi and other microbes due to over-humidity.
Keeping the humidity levels under strict control is therefore very essential.
To achieve this, having a good humidification system in our home and office premises is a must-have.
Whole House Humidifier, as the best humidification system, can help you greatly to make your indoors most suitable to breathe.
Whole House Humidifier or a Central Humidifier is basically a unit integrated and installed directly between your home’s central heating and cooling system (HVAC).
By pumping out the JUST right amount of moisture into your ducts, these units help in humidifying your home or apartment completely.
The most advantageous part of installing these types of humidifiers is, they are highly efficient and powerful to address the entire house instead of a single room or an individual location.
While the whole house humidifiers that can be installed with your HVAC system are most common, there are also few portable units available on the market which may be referred to as console humidifier or pedestal humidifier.
These portable stand-alone whole house humidifier units also come with an ability to humidify larger spaces (and even a whole house) when installed in your living area.
Since these units do not need to be linked to the HVAC system, you can choose your best-preferred location in your home to get the best humidity around.
By maintaining proper moisture levels throughout the day and night, not only it helps in eliminating allergies (caused due to dry air) but also in promoting the productivity in homes and offices.
7 Best Whole House Humidifier Reviews
Honeywell, Aprilaire, and AIRCARE are few of the best whole house humidifiers you can look at while choosing one for your family.
Below are the top models and reviews which will help you in making the wisest decision.
You can choose one from these top models or can find one for yourself after comparing their best features online.
1- Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier
Aprilaire 700 Automatic Humidifier is a great digital controlled whole house humidifier which is efficient enough to handle big humidification for large-sized buildings.
In fact, it is designed perfectly to humidify up to 4,200 square feet in tightly constructed homes.
The digital controls in this smart Aprilaire 700 Humidifier come with temperature and relative humidity indicators which can be accessed in manual mode as well.
With this unit, you can get 50 percent more humidity in an automated controlled way, than as compared to other models available in the same price range.
Furthermore, this humidification system works quietly in your home without you knowing that you even have a humidifier in your home installed.
With just simple annual maintenance you can actually keep all the irritating health issues away from your family members which are usually caused due to dry stale air.
2- Aprilaire 500 Whole House Humidifier
Aprilaire 500 Automatic Humidifier is designed to cover up to 3,000 square feet of area. With its output capacity of 12 gallons per day, it can humidify tightly built homes and apartments very efficiently.
Being manufactured by the leader in indoor air quality solutions “Aprilaire” this automatic humidifying device comes with dual sensors for monitoring and responding very fast to outdoor temperatures.
According to the necessity, it delivers the optimum amount of moisture into the air to control the indoor relative humidity levels 24/7 – simply set it and forget it!
This Aprilaire 500 Humidifier also features convenient to use digital controls and indication lights. Also, it tells you about when its time for a water change and servicing.
It also comes with a Blower Activation switch that enables you to set the humidifier to run continually OR only when the furnace is running.
Overall, this is one of the best whole house humidifiers for a furnace you can rely on to ease all your infections and winter allergies.
3- AIRCARE Whole House Humidifier MA1201
AIRCARE MA1201 Humidifier is a premium quality console-style humidifier that is designed for humidifying your whole house (up to 3600 square feet).
The AIRCARE MA1201 Humidifier device comes with a digital humidistat to maintain the desired humidity levels automatically at home with digital preciseness.
Furthermore, as this Essick Air whole house console humidifier shuts down automatically (when the desired levels are reached) you need not worry about the safety and extra power consumption.
This quietest whole house humidifier device also features an evaporative wick functionality to trap the mineral deposits, which is easy to clean.
4- AIRCARE Pedestal Evaporative Humidifier
An AIRCARE Pedestal Style Evaporative Humidifier is meant for humidifying your whole house as it can cover up to 2,400 Square Feet of area.
This AIRCARE pedestal humidifier comes with a digital humidistat control to facilitate attaining the desired humidity levels with digital accuracy.
It also features a Digital Readout Display which enables you to read the actual humidity level inside your home and an automatic shut off functionality when the water gets empty or the desired humidity level has been achieved.
Furthermore, this impressive humidifier is absolutely noiseless, environment-friendly and decorative – you can replace the tile on the top with any standard 12″ x 12″ size tile or a decorative piece to match the décor of your room.
One great thing that people love about this device is its 9 fan speed setting which allows them to select an ideal performance level – you can choose the setting based on your personal convenience level and requirement.
5- Honeywell Whole House Humidifier HE360A
As a brand speaks of itself, Honeywell HE360A is one the best whole house humidifier you can ever have for your home.
Honeywell HE360A Whole House Powered Humidifier with its flow-through humidification process makes your home environment better to breathe in very efficiently.
As it is compact in size installing this Honeywell HE360A humidifier is easy in your house.
It can be easily mounted on either warm air supply or return air duct of any forced-air furnace.
The flow-through design of this best console humidifier demands very less maintenance as compared to other models and is therefore much affordable and easy to use.
This stand-alone whole house humidifier is the best choice for those who want to get the variable speed and multi-stage systems in homes up to 4,200 square feet.
6- Aprilaire 800 Residential Steam Humidifier
Aprilaire 800 Residential Steam Humidifier is basically a steam whole house humidifier which helps you to achieve the right level of warm moisture by controlling the level of humidity in the indoor air.
This Aprilaire whole house steam humidifier is an ideal device for larger homes up to 6200 sq ft.
It easily fits with your existing HVAC and runs independently to leave you with total comfort you desire without producing much noise.
As this is a steam type whole house humidifier, all the water that is delivered to the humidifier will either evaporate or go down the drain.
This will leave humidifier dry when it’s not working thereby reducing the chances of mold growth.
Aprilaire 800 Residential Steam Humidifier comes with digital controls and it requires very little maintenance.
The humidifier is also backed with 5 years of warranty on parts.
You just need to ensure that you let the humidifier gets installed through a licensed technician to claim the warranty without any hassle.
7- Emerson Whole House Steam Humidifier
Steam humidifiers are most efficient in controlling the humidity in your house.
As soon as the humidistat detects low humidity levels, this White-Rodgers HSP2000 humidifier is turned on automatically.
This 120-Volt steam-powered whole house humidifier comes with flushing timer, automatic humidistat, water filter, fan control relay, blower safety switch and mounting frame.
Suitable for a minimum 1400 square foot house it can deliver 13-Gallons of output per day.
White-Rodgers (from Emerson Climate Technologies) is a globally trusted name that provides precise solutions when it comes to heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration for residential, industrial, and commercial applications.
As they are dedicated to providing systems that can improve human comfort, you can rely on their energy-efficient products and services offered without any second thought.
Factors to Look At When Buying
Buying a correct home appliance, like a whole-house humidifier, can be a real headache.
Worse is the condition when you buy a wrong device that does not get installed correctly to provide you the desired results.
Here are a few important tips for you to look at, prior to purchasing your whole house humidifying unit and getting the installation done.
✓ Quality and brand:
Purchasing an expensive air maintenance device does not mean that it can offer the best performance to you for decades.
You have to research the available humidifier types thoroughly, check the most reliable brands and decide on whether to choose a centralized cool or warm mist humidifier.
Since these whole-house humidification systems do not come cheap, you also need to check whether it comes with a proper warranty or not.
Although the above brands and units are best to opt for, there are many more popular manufacturers that are popular for making these appliances.
Some of the popular names are Bryant, Bionaire, Kenmore, Holmes, Lowes, Lasko, Lennox, Menards, Sears, Sunbeam and Trane.
✓ Size of the area covered:
This is important for you and can be done by investing a few minutes prior to your purchase.
You just need to figure out the right cubic footage of your home and accordingly buy a device that meets your requirements perfectly well.
At times if you do not want to humidify your whole apartment, you may simply opt for a large-sized humidifier which is good enough to cover a large room in your home.
Instead of investing huge amounts on installing a whole-house humidifier, investing in this type of unit can save you good bucks which you may have spent uselessly.
✓ Your Location:
For many of you, this may sound to be awkward.
But this is one of the most essential factors you may need to consider when buying a whole house humidifier for your HVAC system.
Installing an HVAC humidifier is usually not recommended at the areas where the Mercury may drop below the freezing point during cold winters.
Freezing water can cause failure in your ducts, pipes, seals, and joints and it is therefore important that you do not install this type of device at basements or attic where the possibility of dropping the temperatures is quite high.
✓ Maintenance needed:
It is often very tempting for people to choose a device that needs very less maintenance.
While there is no harm to choose such a unit, at the same time, you have to ensure that the system you are buying is user-friendly. It should also come with the latest features and proper warranty.
Most of the branded humidifiers mentioned above are easy to use, install and maintain. These may require annual maintenance which should be done by hiring an experienced professional.
Whole House Humidifier Benefits
Central humidifiers (or so-called whole-house humidifiers) are most recommended for home use in winters to improve the indoor air quality.
As these are specifically designed and hard-wired into a home’s plumbing and air heating systems, these let you enjoy balanced moisture in the home ambiance without any risk.
Some of the best advantages of getting these system installed into your central air ducts are:
✅ Do Not Over Humidify:
As these duct based home humidification systems work automatically to provide the necessary humidification only when it’s needed, it does not over humidify your room.
This saves you from all types of mold, mildew and dust mites that may grow due to increased humidity in the air.
It has been seen that many portable units do not stop humidifying the air even when the necessary humidity level has been achieved.
This is due to the fact that these room humidifier lacks the humidity control regulators or regulating feature.
Whole house humidifiers being a smart device saves you from all these troubles of getting air highly humid.
✅ Low Maintenance:
One of the disadvantages of using a portable room humidifier is it requires changing the water every day.
Cleaning the reservoir (and other parts) along with thoroughly drying the tank is also required with these stand-alone devices to prevent viruses and mold from growing.
Regular cleaning of filters is also essential for getting the white dust mineral deposits removed which are deposited as a result of evaporated tap water that contains minerals.
Whole house humidifiers, on the other hand, saves you from all these troubles of getting the unit cleaned and regular maintenance.
You can get your unit serviced once in a year which makes it run smoothly all the time.
✅ Low Operating Cost:
As mentioned before, many portable room humidifiers do not include a built-in hygrometer to stop the unit after they have delivered optimum humidity in the room.
This can lead to wastage of power and hence higher electric bills.
However, in the case of central humidifying systems, these humidifiers with built-in humidistat come with a sensor to control humidity.
This enables them to run automatically only when required (to achieve the targeted humidity). It does not keep running all the time 24×7!
This controlled feature to humidify the home saves a good monthly amount on your electricity bills.
Besides the power bills, room humidifier units need expensive distilled water to operate efficiently and to prevent the depositing of white dust minerals.
Whole-house humidifiers, on the other hand, does not require any such purified water for operation and can save on your water purifier bills.
✅ Good Health and Maximum Comfort:
Whole-house humidifier at your place keeps the humidity levels of the air intact thus making it easier for you to breathe comfortably.
Even when you are suffering from respiratory issues (like sinus, bronchitis, snoring and many more) you can keep yourself healthy, no matter in which room you are present.
Other than the human aspect, air humidifiers are required to save indoor plants, pets and porous materials in your home.
Dry air can actually draw out moisture from the items (such as wooden furniture, wood floors, wooden musical instruments like guitars, etc.) to make them damaged soon.
And for this reason, installing a good whole house humidifier that takes good care of all these items makes a sense.
✅ Most Convenient As It Works Automatically:
One of the greatest benefits of installing a central humidifier is it can be connected to the heating, ventilating or an air conditioning system (HVAC).
These are hence bound to supply the optimum amount of humidity to the whole house through your ductwork (including all the rooms, kitchen, bathroom and even your small wine cellar at home).
As many of these standalone whole house humidifiers work in an automated way to provide optimum humidity it is also considered as “install it and forget it humidifier device for your home”.
Simply speaking you never have to worry about the water tank getting dry as in the case of portable tabletop humidifiers installed in bedrooms or baby room.
Types Of Whole House Humidifiers
The main objective of installing a whole-house-humidifier (central) is to maintain the ideal humidity level inside your home in an automated way.
However, based on the difference in how they pump the moisture into the duct system, these are categorized differently into various different types.
Some of the major types are as follows:
1- Drum Type Humidifiers
This type of whole house humidifier comprises a belt (made of foam or fabric) that takes up water when it rotates on a drum over a water reservoir.
When the air is blown by your HVAC system it passes over the drum which carries the evaporated water into your home for optimum humidity control.
Drum whole house humidifier systems are the cheapest and easiest to install. You can even get them in a DIY way, without any need of professional installation service.
However, the drum needs regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure there is no growth of molds and bacteria inside it. Also, you need to replace the belt periodically for smooth working.
2- Flow-Through Humidifiers
Flow-through or bypass whole house humidifiers are among the most common ones which can be installed easily to your water supply line for efficient home humidification.
The air from your AC or furnace when blows through the dripped filter pad pick up the necessary moisture to force deliver it into your home.
Like a drum-type humidifier, these also work by evaporating the water. But as these units do not use a drum, there is no stagnant water and therefore very fewer chances of developing the molds and bacteria.
Based on the above, the best advantage of installing a flow-through humidifier is the reduced cost of maintenance.
However, it is to be noted that periodic cleaning and maintenance is required to clean away all the dust and dirt that gets clogged up to the filter pads.
3- Fan Powered Humidifiers
The working pattern of a fan-powered whole house humidifier is the same as that of a bypass humidifier except for the fact that they contain a fan that blows air to the internal panel.
This is done to ensure that there is increased water evaporation and the electricity consumption stays at reduced levels.
Such kind of powered whole house humidifiers do not require much space for installation and are perfect for the home built on slabs.
4- Steam Humidifiers
Warm mist whole house humidifiers use steam for adding humidity to the home. These require very little maintenance and should be installed on your supply line.
Electricity and water together work to create warm steam at atmospheric pressure, which is then pushed into your ductwork in the form of fine mist – when your HVAC system is switched on.
Steam whole house humidifier uses the fastest and most efficient method to create and maintain a comforting level of humidity at home in the most affordable way.
However due to the risk of mold growth you need to inspect them regularly and get them serviced on time.
5- Evaporative Humidifiers
Evaporative whole house humidifiers generally work bypassing the warm air through an evaporator pad which is saturated with water.
As this warm air passes through the pad it absorbs the water and gets moistened. This moisture-rich air is then passed throughout the home with the help of a powerful humidifier.
Since these types of evaporative whole house humidifiers are also powered by the furnace’s fan, these should be installed in your ductwork.
Unlike steam whole house humidifier (which requires very little maintenance), evaporative humidifiers for your whole house should be replaced once or twice a year based on the usage.
If not the system’s evaporator pads may become a breeding ground for molds and bacteria due to over-saturation.
As compared to other models, these evaporative units use lots of water but little electricity.
6- Ultrasonic Humidifiers
Whole house humidifier models that use ultrasonic technology (based on transducer) are usually less common.
Water when passed over the vibrating transducer, excites the water molecules to break them into fine microscopic water droplets. These droplets are forced into the HVAC system to disperse into your home evenly.
Ultrasonic whole house humidifier systems are often costly as compared to other models and require frequent cleaning due to the produced white dust.
7- Console Humidifiers
Console whole house humidifiers are one of the bestselling in the market due to its low cost and portability.
Although these are not integrated into your duct system these are highly efficient in humidifying the larger areas, most of the time which may cover your whole home.
Just place them at the most convenient location in your home or building, sit relaxed and forget you even own a humidifier device to care for on a regular basis.
Some of these console whole house humidifier models can also be installed like a window or a wall mount unit much like your room air conditioner.
As these are portable in nature, people also prefer using them for a single large room, living room, large business meeting or conference space, banquet halls, etc.
Which Whole House Humidifier Is Best?
While the above are the most common types of whole house humidifiers used, there are also few additional types of whole house humidifiers for baseboard heaters, geothermal, air conditioners or gas furnaces.
Well, if you are confused about which whole-house humidifier is best to pick?
It may again depend on various different factors.
Based on your specific requirement, space and budget; you can pick the type of whole house humidifier that is best suited for your living.
In general, if you are looking for a portable whole house humidifier I recommend picking the Honeywell HE360A.
But if you need a good central device that can be connected to your HVAC you can go for Aprilaire or AIRCARE devices.
# FAQs and Buying Guide #
Unlike whole-house humidifiers that are furnace-mounted, console humidifiers are not connected to the main water supply. Instead, these include a tank to supply the mist of humidity in a room.
For this reason, console humidifiers are not much efficient to humidify your open floor-plan that has a living room ceiling (opening to the second floor). Use a whole house furnace humidifier in this case.
When it comes to placing a portable console humidifier version, remember these are much bulkier than your regular table-top versions.
Hence it is good to place them on a floor (and not on the nightstand) at a location that is far from the reach of your kids and at-home pets.
The cost to install whole house humidifiers can range anywhere from $400 to $750.
The highest installation cost being reported as $1000 in very rare cases when the area of installing is a bit complex.
While getting it installed remember that your total cost may be influenced by the type of whole house humidifier you are installing.
Installing steam type humidifiers can be a bit expensive than compared to other types.
It is best to get a rough estimate from 2 to 3 different professionals and choose the one who is most reliable and affordable.
Your humidistat on furnace needs to be set at an appropriate level before you can enjoy its maximum benefits in winters as well as in various other seasons.
While for most of the homes the comfortable relative humidity level is between 30 percent and 50 percent, it may also sometimes depend on the outdoor environmental conditions and temperature.
Based on the temperature you should, therefore, set the humidistat on your furnace in between these ranges.
How Do Whole House Humidifiers Work?
Investing in one of the above devices can help eliminate the need for several humidifiers around your home—saving you money.
But how do these more energy-efficient humidifiers work?
Unlike traditional humidifiers that are plugged into separate rooms, whole house humidifiers are installed directly into heating ducts.
This provides whole house humidifiers access to every room in your house, giving you ultimate control over the humidity of your home.
To control the humidity, your whole house humidifier will add water vapor into the air. This water vapor rests inside your home’s heating ducts and waits for traveling air.
When the system is running, this traveling air will make its way through your heating ducts and join with the water vapor.
The result is that the air being dispersed throughout your home has a higher humidity content.
Because this moisture-filled air travels through your heating ducts, it can effectively reach every room in your house. This makes it a much more energy-efficient option over traditional portable humidifiers.
It also means that you can enjoy even humidity levels throughout your house for your ultimate comfort.
But for those looking to install a whole house humidifier, one question remains.
How Much Water Does a Whole House Humidifier Use?
How much water does a whole house humidifier need to serve your whole house?
It’s a reasonable question for anyone wishing to cut down on their water bill—and for those concerned for the environment.
The good news is that whole house humidifiers are incredibly efficient in both areas.
But before we answer the question, let’s take a closer look at how whole house humidifiers get their water.
These systems are typically installed to tap straight into your water source. When the humidifier is on, it will be able to automatically draw water from your system.
This saves you the time and hassle of having to manually fill the tank yourself.
But does it take too much water? Are you going to be paying for this added convenience with high water fees?
The truth is that your humidifier’s water usage will vary.
If your home is rather dry, or if you haven’t used a humidifier before, you can expect the humidifier to use more water at first.
Many first-time whole house humidifier users are shocked at the initial amount of waste water produced—with some claiming it can be in excess of five gallons.
The good news is that once the home has adapted to a more humidified state, you can expect this to drop to two gallons or less per day.
This helps to make the whole house humidifier an incredibly-efficient product.
Overall, it is important that you get the most affordable device online, after checking various consumer reviews, while ensuring that it offers you the best performance and quality results for long.
Meen Smith is a nurse by profession who loves writing online, spending time with her family and caring for the elderly. She has already worked as an associate editor on various moms, babies, home appliances, kitchen, and healthy living blogs. In her spare time, she also enjoys drawing, reading/writing kindle eBooks and improving her skills a bit.