BVS Home Experts

How Does a Humidifier Work on a Furnace?

Are you considering adding a humidifier to your furnace? Call BVS Experts at (281) 609-3650 to learn more about your options and how we can help you make your home more comfortable. 

Adding a whole-house humidifier can help keep your home more comfortable when the heat is on, but how does a humidifier work on a furnace? These add-ons take advantage of the heat from the furnace to produce additional moisture and raise the humidity levels inside your home to the recommended 35% to 50%. Although Texas summers are typically hot and humid, the dry air during the winter can be uncomfortable, contributing to extra static electricity, itchy skin, and a dry nose and throat. 

Whole-home humidifiers solve this problem and can even help your house feel warmer when the temperatures drop. To help you decide whether to install one, BVS Home Experts, Katy’s furnace installation services leader, explains the different types of furnace humidifiers, how they work, and the benefits of making the investment. 

The Basics of a Furnace Humidifier 

The first question many homeowners ask is, “How does a humidifier work on a furnace?” 

Furnace-mounted humidifiers distribute moisture through the ductwork with heated air. When the relative humidity inside your home drops below the desired level, the water supply feeds water into the unit, then the furnace heats it and produces water vapor that flows into the air ducts. You can control the humidity using the thermostat or a humidistat, ensuring the ideal amount of moisture at all times. 

The Types of Furnace Humidifiers 

Homeowners can choose from three primary types of furnace humidifiers: Steam, flow-through, and reservoir.

Steam Humidifiers 

As the name implies, a steam humidifier adds steam to the furnace airflow. Low maintenance and efficient, they only boil water to create steam on demand. However, they are also the most expensive furnace humidifiers to install.

Flow-Through Humidifiers 

A flow-through furnace humidifier relies on water from a cold-water line. As the water drips across an evaporator screen, the furnace blower creates vapor that flows into your home through the ducts, and the extra water drains away.

Flow-through humidifiers are more affordable upfront than steam humidifiers and typically require minimal maintenance. They are also less susceptible to mold growth than other options, making them the most hygienic choice. 

Reservoir Humidifiers 

Reservoir humidifiers rely on a rotating, water-filled drum to create moisture. As the interior of the drum gets wet, the heat from the furnace creates vapor. 

Although these are the least expensive whole-house humidifiers, they are also the least efficient. They also require more maintenance than other types of furnace humidifiers, and because the drum stays full of water, it’s prone to mold growth and requires regular disinfection. 

The Parts of a Whole House Humidifier 

Regardless of type, all whole-home humidifiers have the same general components. These include:

  • Water supply. Flow-through and steam humidifiers connect to an existing water line, with a valve to control flow as needed. 
  • Water collection medium. In a flow-through humidifier, this is the evaporator pad. In other styles, water collects in a reservoir or drum.
  • Blowing air. Hot air comes from the furnace blower and creates water vapor. 
  • Drain pan. The drain pan collects extra water from the humidifier and directs it to the household drain.
  • Humidistat. This controls the relative humidity. When the indoor humidity reaches the desired level, the humidistat triggers a solenoid, a small electric device that turns off the water flow and stops the humidifier from making any more moisture. 

Other parts of the humidifier depend on the type of humidifier and other components of your HVAC system. For instance, if you have central air conditioning, the humidifier needs a damper to control airflow between the cold air return and the hot air supply duct. 

The Benefits of a Whole House Humidifier 

Now that you have an answer to “how does a humidifier work on a furnace?” you may still question whether you need to install one. 

As mentioned, maintaining indoor relative humidity levels of 35% to 50% is most beneficial to your health and well-being. Humid air tends to feel warmer than dry air, so using a humidifier during the colder months may allow you to lower the thermostat temperature and save energy. Keeping the humidity at the recommended level can also help protect your home from the effects of dry air; for example, when the air lacks moisture for extended periods, your home’s wood structure and furnishings can dry out and split.

Allowing the indoor relative humidity to fall too low can also be detrimental to your health. Research shows that humidity helps reduce your risk of colds and flu and prevents dry, itchy skin and cracked lips. Adequate humidity also helps reduce symptoms from asthma and allergies, in large part because it helps minimize dust build-up inside your home.

Still, not every home needs a furnace humidifier. If you rarely turn on the heat, portable humidifiers may be an acceptable solution on those days when humidity levels fall below comfortable levels. Using a humidifier to raise the moisture level in your home when the air is already naturally humid can encourage mold growth, so it’s best to reserve them for drier days. 

Talk to BVS Home Experts About Whole-Home Humidifiers Today 

If you’re concerned about the humidity levels inside your home, talk to the home heating and cooling experts of BVS Home Experts about convenient and affordable furnace humidifiers. We can help you determine whether installing a whole-home humidifier can help you maintain a more comfortable environment and recommend solutions that fit your budget. We understand the effects of low humidity and how high humidity harms homes and provide expert advice and insight to ensure you make the best decision.  

To learn more about humidifiers, ask additional questions about how a humidifier works on a furnace, or get more information about our heating and cooling services in Katy, TX, make an appointment online or by calling (281) 609-3650

Author Bio:

Ronald Via

Ronald is one of the key contributors to BVS Home Experts, a family-owned and operated full-service air conditioning and heating company serving the Katy and West Houston areas. With a deep understanding of air conditioning and heating concerns, Ronald brings a wealth of knowledge to our readers.

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