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What You Need to Know About a Furnace-Mounted Humidifier

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Curling up under a blanket near the fireplace while watching the snowflakes gather haphazardly on the window sill is just one of those things that makes winter magical. But while the cold season may seem magical, the dry air and low humidity it brings is far from it. In fact, exposure to low humidity and dry air is not only uncomfortable, it can also lead to a host of health issues for many people, including an increased likelihood of getting colds, flu and other upper respiratory problems. Dry air also strips the skin of moisture, leaving the skin dry and cracked. This is why it’s essential to maintain proper levels of humidity at home.

One of the best ways to relieve discomfort and deliver the perfect amount of moisture to your home during the winter is by installing a furnace humidifier. To help homeowners learn more about furnace humidifiers and why it is beneficial to install one, we’ve put up a guide to include all the things you need to know about this important home equipment.

Why Choose a Furnace-Mounted Humidifier

Also known as central or whole house humidifiers, furnace-mounted humidifiers help maintain the proper levels of indoor humidity by dispersing moisture into dry air. They are typically used during winter, but some models are good for year-round use. Furnace-mounted humidifiers are generally installed directly to a home’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. There are also standalone or portable humidifiers, however, these units do not have the ability to continually monitor relative humidity levels throughout the entire home.

There are plenty of advantages for choosing whole house humidifiers. These include:

Operating cost

Room humidifiers usually need distilled water to function more efficiently. This can prove expensive in the long run. A whole-house humidifier, meanwhile, is plumbed into your household water system - no need for special and expensive water.


Having a whole-house humidifier means that the air you and your family breathe is healthier, no matter which room you are in.


Unlike portable units, whole-house humidifier will require cleaning once or twice a year only to clean the white dust mineral deposits often left by the evaporated water.

Types of Furnace-Mounted Humidifiers

There are essentially three main types of central humidifiers used for the home: reservoir, steam, and flow-through humidifiers. Choosing the right type of humidifier for a home depends on a number of factors including the homeowner’s needs and budget. Reservoir and flow-through humidifiers are the most common and also need the most maintenance to ensure proper operations.


Reservoir humidifiers are also called drum-style humidifiers because they feature a drum-styled foam pad that rotates to pick up water from an actual reservoir. It then gets funneled into the air (evaporation) to provide the ideal humidity level. This type of humidifier is the least expensive, but it is also the least reliable. This is because sediments and minerals may accumulate in the foam pad, making it harden quickly and lose effectiveness. When not regularly cleaned and maintained, water may also accumulate in the water reservoir. Stagnant water can pose health risks as it can easily be a breeding ground for bacteria and mosquitoes. In addition, the foam evaporator pad also needs monthly cleaning and yearly replacement.


Flow-through humidifiers adds humidity to the air by using the water that drips onto its specially coated metal or plastic screen. This type of humidifier is usually mounted directly to the air return duct and is connected to the hot air supply via a supply takeoff duct. (Nevertheless, some models connect directly to the hot air supply duct, foregoing the supply takeoff duct.) Unlike reservoir humidifiers, flow-through units are cleaner, require less maintenance, and are more competitively priced. They aren’t prone to mold and bacteria growth, making them more reliable. The only advantage to this type of humidifier is that they consume the most water than any other humidifier styles.


Steam humidifiers, meanwhile, provide the most humidity but are usually more expensive than other types. A steam humidifier works by monitoring the level of humidity in the home via a humidistat. The unit will then start raising the humidity once the humidistat determines that the level of humidity inside the space is lower than the ideal level. As the name suggests, steam humidifiers heats the water in the reservoir and releases the warm steam into the room. This process continues until the desired humidity level is achieved.

Homeowners that seek to enjoy comfort and convenience in their home all year-round should consider installing furnace-mounted humidifiers. Whole home humidifiers do not only help improve indoor air quality, but they also ensure that people stay healthy every winter month.

Written by Accurate Heating & Cooling, one of the top heating and cooling companies in Columbia, MO has to offer.

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