What is a whole house humidifier and what does it do?

A Comprehensive Guide to Whole-House Humidifiers

Humidifiers are employed to give additional moisture to the air, so if you’re dealing with dry skin, dry throat, or other respiratory symptoms, this device can help make your home a little more comfortable.

Regular humidifiers are usually only powerful enough to regulate the air in one room at once. If you wish to add moisture to each room in your house, a whole-home humidifier is your best option.

Table Of Contents

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If you require a humidifier and do not want to read the entire article, below are the recommended items from the article.  (Low, Medium and High Price)

Which Is the best Humidifier for The Whole House

When dealing with The Whole House, the best humidifier is the Aprilaire - 800Z 800 Whole Home Steam Humidifier

However, this will depend on several things, like if you want it to do several tasks – like Dorm Room, or Cold and Flu symptoms.

There will also be costs for the humidifier - like Mist Type, Water Tank Capacity, Coverage Area and Noise Level. So as you can see, there is a lot in picking the right humidifier!

Whole-home humidifiers are stronger units designed to add moisture to the air in spaces 1,000 square feet or larger. There are different whole-home humidifiers on the market today, featuring freestanding units and furnace-mounted models.

Whichever style you choose, make sure the device is large enough to humidify the square footage of your home.

Do you need a whole-house model?

Whole-house humidifiers usually function in combination with your HVAC system to maintain your indoor humidity at levels by dispensing humidified air throughout your house through air ducts. You only need a one-time installation and minor maintenance because, unlike portable models, whole-house humidifiers do not need constant refilling since they are connected to your water supply and drain for constant performance.

Initially, they might cost you a small fortune because of the technology involved and the professional installation, but ultimately they are a lot cheaper to maintain. They are fitting for large spaces or a multi-level house.

Whole House Humidifier Types

There are two major distinctions:

  • Built-in humidifiers, also called ducted humidifiers and whole-house humidifiers, are installed in the supply (hot air) plenum or the cold air plenum adjacent to the furnace.
  • Stand-alone whole-house humidifiers do not attach to the ductwork, so they can be put at any place in the house.

Ducted Humidifiers

Built-ins come in three distinct types:

Drum whole-house humidifiers

It uses a rotating drum, an absorbent drum pad, and a water tray. When the furnace is active, the drum rotates and acquires water. The water then evaporates into the warm air, passing over it on its way to the ductwork of your homes. Because of this drum, humidifiers are called evaporative humidifiers.

Pros and cons: Drum humidifiers use less water than steam humidifiers and types that use drain humidifiers. More maintenance is required because mineral deposits and mold can form in the tray with the absence of regular cleaning.

Bypass whole-house humidifiers

Bypass one's employ a metal pad that water trickles over as warm air passes over it. These are also evaporative humidifiers. The air is directed from the furnace using a damper, and hence the name “bypass.” They are also sometimes called “pass-through” humidifiers. Larger bypass humidifiers often have their own fan to ease drawing in air and pushing it into the ductwork.

Pros and cons: These humidifiers require less maintenance and are rarely infested by mold. Certain bypass water heaters splurge water because what isn’t evaporated goes down a drain. Other models cut water bills by reducing water waste.

Steam whole-house humidifiers

They come with a small boiler that produces steam. The unit is wired to the furnace so that the blower motor turns on while the steam humidifier is creating steam.

Pros and cons: Steam whole-house humidifiers help you reach your desired humidity level the fastest way, and they produce the most humidity. They also use a lot of water for steam and for flushing sediment out of the unit at certain intervals. If you have metered water instead of a well, watch out for higher water bills. A drain is needed for this type to flush the water.

Stand-alone Whole House Humidifiers

The two types are: Console whole-house humidifiers and pedestal whole-house humidifiers. The names actually refer to their shape and size. They are both types of non-ducted humidifiers.

Non-ducted whole-house humidifiers are often intended for homes without a forced-air system. There are two options to be considered:

Homes with forced-air HVAC: These units are also fitting in homes with forced air systems. The moist air is pulled into the cold air, it returns when the furnace is running and dispersed to all rooms. They are very effective in these types of homes.

Homes without forced-air HVAC: No ductwork means a non-ducted unit is usually the best option. In multi-story homes or ranches, you may need to put a fan or two in strategic locations to get the humidified air properly scattered. Moisture will ultimately even out in your home, but if you want to facilitate it, position a fan in a hallway leading to bedrooms or at the top of the stairs.

Ducted vs stand-alone whole-house humidifiers

Both have their upsides and downsides

Advantages of a ducted whole house humidifier:

  • They don’t require to be refilled
  • The cost of bypass and drum types competes with non-ducted whole-house humidifiers
  • The best way to evenly disperse the humidified air is the ductwork
  • They use less electricity
  • They are superior in two-story homes
  • Ducted humidifiers are usually quieter

Disadvantages of a ducted whole house humidifier:

  • The installation costs are quite expensive, especially if you hire a professional
  • Steam furnace humidifiers are very expensive and use a lot of water
  • Steam models can over-humidify spaces, so manufacturers state the minimum and maximum square footage of your home
  • They are not portable, so if you move out of your home you’ll lose them

Advantages of a stand-alone whole house humidifier:

  • Easy transport from room to room
  • Can be taken with you

Disadvantages of a stand-alone whole house humidifier:

  • They are noisier
  • Without a forced HVAC system, they rely on natural airflow, that can sometimes be tricky

Buying Guide to Find the Best Whole-House Humidifiers for every Home

Humidifiers have been a popular method for combating dry air in homes for hundreds of years. Humidifiers can be found in homes all over North America. It's estimated that there are about 55 million humidifiers currently being used; almost 5 billion gallons of water are consumed per year, which is something to think about when considering the relative cost of this device".

In general, whole-house humidifiers work by adding moisture as humidity to the entire atmosphere of rooms throughout your home while you sleep.

1) Where to place the humidifier

Most homes contain various rooms, each with a different temperature. For example, bedrooms stay relatively cool throughout the day and heat up as the sun sets. The hot, warm air of these rooms is perfect for humidity, but where do you put that device? The answer is probably in every room of your home.

The location of the humidifier should be a personal decision. First, you need to consider which rooms are going to be getting a lot of use. Some people will choose to set up their unit in their bedroom because it is where they sleep and usually spend the least amount of time there; others will want to have it there because they work from home or play video games a lot.

2) Measure the humidity in your home

The next thing you need to do is measure the humidity level in your home. Some people choose to invest in a device that does this for them, which usually consists of a small, desk-sized unit with several sensors. You can also do the measurement yourself with a simple hygrometer, something you have probably seen in most office buildings and stores.

Houses tend to have varying levels of humidity. Putting the humidifier where it doesn't usually get used will give it little help and may cause additional problems because other rooms will not be able to get what they need from it.

3) What percentage of humidity is best?

What percentage of your home's atmosphere should be reserved for the humidifier? A common recommendation is between 15 and 25 percent. A higher amount will allow the device to discharge more moisture and therefore last longer, but too much can cause condensation in the air. Too much humidity can also cause problems with mold, as well as other issues, so it is good to have a compromise between these two numbers.

4) How do you keep track of the difference?

When you are running a humidifier, one of the biggest challenges is keeping track of how much moisture it produces. The only way to do this is by measuring the humidity level in your home. A hygrometer is a good investment because it can tell you exactly how much moisture is in the air.

5) How much water will you use?

Many first-time humidifier users are surprised to find out that they actually use more water than they did before they had the machine. It's easy to overlook all of this extra humidity when you are filling your humidifier, especially since you may not notice a change in performance right away.

Be sure to closely monitor the amount of water that you put into it so that you don't accidentally overflow it.

6) How long should you run it?

If you keep a close eye on the water level, you will know when to replace the old filter with a new one. You should frequently check the filter to make sure that there are no leaks and that there is not too much debris around it. When this happens, you can either take the device out of use for a while or, if you prefer it to run longer, simply change the filter more often.

7) What type of filters do I need?

You will need to find out what type of filters are best for your humidifier. The first step is to find the one that fits your water flow. During the winter, most units have a lower flow rate, but during the summer, you may want to have a higher one.

Filter replacements will be needed every month or so. Cheap filters are not recommended because they can block water flow or cause the device to spit out debris. Each type of filter has a different purpose, so it's good to know which one is right for your humidifier.

8) What are the basic differences between filters?

There are three main types of humidifier filters:

1) Polyester - These filters are meant for use in evaporative humidifiers and work by forcing air through several layers of fibers. They are easy to clean, but need a bit more maintenance than other forms of filters.

2) Milliohm-micron - These filters are used in ultrasonic and air ionizers, but can be used with any type of humidifier. They work by emitting energy that breaks up the molecules in the water into a fine mist that evaporates at an increased rate.

3) Carbon - These filters work by absorbing moisture from the air and trapping it inside. They need to be regularly replaced because they can clog if not cleaned properly.

Humidifiers usually come with different types of filters for different purposes, so you should take some time to observe your device closely to figure out which one it has on it.

9) How do I clean filters?

Filters need to be cleaned regularly to ensure that they are doing their job properly. There are a few different methods of doing this, but you will usually find that a warm water and vinegar solution is the safest choice. Avoid using any type of bleach because it can corrode the humidifier and surrounding surfaces.

With some humidifiers, you can simply remove the filter and wash it in your sink with soap or make another solution in a bucket and rinse it out. If not, you can remove it from the humidifier and clean it in your kitchen using a dishwasher.

10) What kind of noise should I expect from it?

A humidifier will often make a gurgling noise when you turn it on for the first time, but this usually only lasts for a few seconds. Once you turn it off and let the water settle in the tank, it will not make much noise at all. You should just be able to hear the sound of running water from your faucet or sink.

11) What do I do with leftover steam?

Some people choose to use their humidifiers during showers so that they get a nice cover of steam while they wash their hair or bathe. However, sometimes this steam gets trapped in your bathroom and makes things very foggy.


With our thorough review, you surely have gathered enough information to see whether you need a whole-house humidifier. These powerful appliances are quite useful for both you and your living space, and even though some types might lighten your wallet initially, they certainly are worth in the long run.

Please Note: Just because a humidifier is marked, for example “Baby Room”, it will still work for other things, for example “Living Room” or “Plant Humidifier”

Items To Buy

Again, the humidifiers below are probably the ones that you will need to buy!

The prices of these are low, medium and high. This will give you the best range. The lower prices will not have all the bells-and-whistles, and the higher price one's will.

  • [Household, Commercial & Industrial Humidifiers] 4.2Gal large humidifier long lasts for 48 hours humidification in one refill. 800mL/h high moisture output is designed to humidify the air for spaces up to 2000 sq.ft for whole house, greenhouse. Perfect multiple humidifier for bedroom, home, large room, office, greenhouse, plant or extented use in kitchen.
  • [Dual 360° Nozzles & Dual Mist Output] Features two 360° rotatable nozzles and two rotatable mist outlet pipes. You can individually set 3 mist levels for each mist outlet pipe! With 1500mL/H humidification with even and fine mist, you can quickly add moisture to the air in a short time.
  • [Top Fill Humidifier & Casters Support] Features a detachable 4.2Gal four casters, you don't need to add water frequently and it's easy to move the water tank with the casters support. NOTE: Open the lid add water and don't add water to the mist outlet tube directly.
  • [Whisper Quiet & Water Shortage Protection] This large capacity 4.2Gal humidifier with humidistat operates under 26dB, ensuring a full night of sleep for your family especially your babies. If reach your customized humidity or no water in the humidifier, it will automatically turns off to prevent damage and keep you safe.
  • [30 Days Free Replacement & 1 Year Warranty] We stand behind our products and the best after-sales service team is always with you. Please feel free to contact us for assistance.
  • BUY WITH CONFIDENCE This humidifier was designed and manufactured in the USA by AprilAire – the inventor of the whole home evaporative humidifier, and the leader in indoor air quality solutions
  • FULL COVERAGE up to 5,300 square feet in tightly built homes with a capacity of 18 gallons per day
  • AUTOMATIC HUMIDIFIER with dual sensors to monitor and respond to both outdoor temperature and indoor relative humidity to deliver optimum humidity 24/7 throughout the home – simply set it and forget it
  • BUILT-IN FAN pulls heated air directly from the furnace through the humidifier
  • HUMIDITY FOR HEALTH AprilAire Humidifiers can help you maintain optimal humidity in your home of 40% – 60% which has been shown to reduce the incidence of respiratory infections and symptoms related to allergies and asthma by minimizing the formation of bacteria and viruses, fungi, and dust mites. In addition, you’ll feel more comfortable while also preserving items in your home susceptible to damage from changing humidity or dry conditions

Other Questions

Do whole-house humidifiers work?

Whole-house Humidifiers are perfect for homes with an enormous amount of space and rooms. As the name implies, whole-house humidifiers distribute moist all around the entire house; from the living room to the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and every other space within the home.

Whole-house humidifiers are standard nowadays. They attach to your ductwork and blow moist air into your home, raising your relative humidity and, in theory, improving overall comfort. As long as what you've ordered is in its best condition of maximum efficiency. They are large and so shouldn't be considered except you want to humidify the entire house.

Do whole-house humidifiers cause mould?

Humidifiers breed mould and bacterial, if not cleaned regularly, and so that also applies to whole-house Humidifiers. So also given the size and the capability of whole-house humidifiers, mould is to be expected in mass. Therefore, to avoid this, you can do well to clean and maintain it very well as this is the only way to preserve your device and keep your environment safe.

Where should whole house humidifier be installed?

Whole-house humidifiers can be described as an 'install and forget it item' because of its size and quality. They are integrated into the blower system on your furnace, which draws water directly from your water supply. Some other whole-house humidifiers can be installed on the return-air duct and add moisture to the air before it is heated.

Others use a bypass duct to move heated air through the humidifier and reintroduce it to the air going to the house. Others hire a bypass duct to move heated air through the humidifier and reintroduce it to the air going to the house. It is essential to know that a particular form of expertise is needed in the installation of a whole-house humidifier. 


If you require more information, please check these references

Indoor particle concentrations associated with use of tap water in portable humidifiers , article, "pubs.acs.org", retrieved on, Sun 18-October-2020

Tackling misconceptions about mold , article, "books.google.co.uk", retrieved on, Sun 18-October-2020

Humidifiers Increase Moisture--and Sometimes Bacteria , article, "books.google.co.uk", retrieved on, Sun 18-October-2020

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 An air purifier is a device designed to remove dust, pollen, smoke, soot, mold spores, smog, and other airborne pollutants from the air.

If you want to keep your home clean and free of contaminants—and save money on heating and air conditioning bills—quality air purifiers are a powerful first step.

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