Do Furnace Humidifiers Really Work?

Most people notice they get dry, itchy skin in the winter. For some, sore throats and “perpetual colds” are an issue. Dry winter air can aggravate asthma, dust allergies, and even cause nosebleeds for some people.

Properly humidified air can help alleviate some of these dry air symptoms. It can be tempting to buy a small tabletop or portable humidifier. But the only way to really solve the problem is to get a furnace humidifier installed. A whole house humidifier installed in your HVAC system is the only way to truly change the humidity level of your entire home at once.

How Do Furnace Humidifiers Work?

As you might guess, furnace humidifiers install right onto your main heating and cooling system, usually in the ductwork leading out from your furnace. The hot air leaves the furnace, passes through the fan that pushes it through the ducts, and then flows past the humidifier and out into the rest of your home.

There are 3 main types of furnace humidifiers:

  1. Steam humidifiers produce either a warm or cool mist, and therefore produce the most moisture. A steam humidifier heats water using electricity to create steam, and they’re quite easy to maintain. There is almost no risk of mold.
  2. Flow through humidifiers expose the hot air from your furnace to a constant trickle of water. The water naturally evaporates into the air leaving your furnace. While there is a humidifier filter pad that needs to be changed periodically, flow through units are low maintenance overall. Again, these have almost no risk of mold.
  3. Drum humidifiers have a pan of water, and a rotating belt that passes through the pan. The water from the moistened belt evaporates into the air leaving your furnace. Because this type of humidifier has a standing pan of water, you need to be diligent about cleaning it or mold can form. This is the least expensive type of furnace humidifier.

You can install a humidifier on almost any kind of furnace system, even older ones.

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