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Old 10-16-2015, 10:00 PM   #1
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Bypass humidifier installed on horizontal furnace, possible?


Hey guys, I haven't purchased a humidifier yet but am thinking of a drum style or the disc drum style as I live on acreage (well water/hard water) my furnace is mounted horizontally to floor joists in crawl space. My cold air return is part of the floor joists using those cardboard thermoboard. I do not have a floor drain down here (just condensate pump for furnace) so I want most water efficient humidifier.

My question is, I'm obviously going to have to install the humidifier on the hot air side and run bypass straight vertical into that cardboard cold air return. Does this seem to be a problem to any of you? I attached few pics of furnace. Furnace is 4 years old. Not sure where I would mount humidistat? (Ideas??) ideally I will run power from furnace board to turn on when furnace kicks on.

In the 1 pic in not sure why it's all butchered and taped up. I was only one in this house since new. (My furnace was moved due to being in a bad location at first though)

Any help or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 10-17-2015, 07:51 AM   #2
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Sure, it'll work. The drum is one of the most efficient in terms of waste water. Do note however that you will be cleaning more often, especially with well water. Maybe once every 1.5 to 2 months.

The humidistat is usually mounted beside your thermostat, but if that's a pain then it could be mounted anywhere indoors where there is good air movement.

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Old 10-17-2015, 07:56 AM   #3
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Might want to change the return panning to sheet metal. I'd use the Aprilaire 400. It does require the pad to be changed twice a year to keep its rate up.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:22 AM   #4
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Thanks fellas, I never heard of the aprilaire 400 till now. Reviews seem good. Looks just like the other style of pad ones but no wasted water on the 400 model.

The 1 I been looking into previously is the desert spring rotary disc style. This one doesn't need any pads to be purchased. Just CLR clean the plastic discs and tray so often. Only downside I see now on this compared to the Aprilaire 400 is it has a motor and rotating assembly. Failure rate sounds a lot sooner on this. This is also a $300 unit.

Only thing I don't quite understand about the aprilaire is how is there no waste water? If the floats on bottom say not to add water does this just use a wicking action to help drain the pan and evaporate it? This doesn't sound very efficient but maybes I'm wrong.

I'm thinking of installing on end of plenum, as seen in pic. As its largest spot. Do not want to put this right at furnace itself as may possibly be adding an AC coil in future.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:35 AM   #5
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My Company sold some Desert Springs and I was not impressed. Cheap cheesy float and unless you get the blowdown timer kit they get sludge in the pan. More $$ to buy it and it can fail.

Do you have a water softener?

Not sure if the fan powered units will work properly with softened water as it has a bit of salt in it. If so then I would use one as the softener should take out the hardness. They are small and just fit on the plenum. Check with Aprilaire if they recommend them with soft water.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:43 AM   #6
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Do not get a rotary disc.... too hard to clean. The pad and drum clean easier and faster. No need to replace the pad if you clean regularly (once every 1.5 to 2 months). My pad has lasted about 4 years now. I have a drum and pad and have modified it slightly so that the tray simply drops out of the bottom of it. It takes about ten minutes to clean the drum, the tray and the pad under running water. No need for CLR.

Aprilair 400 might be an easier way to go but the pads are 15 to 20 bucks each and you have to change them twice during Season. There is also still some cleaning involved. Although the pad is disposable, the carriage the pad fits in is not and gets gummed up. That must be cleaned before a new pad goes in.

Last edited by Bob Sanders; 10-17-2015 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 10-17-2015, 01:03 PM   #7
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Ya I have a water softener in house. So think just one of the cheaper units with the foam sleeve drum style be good enough. I can find one of them for $80 CDN while the rotary disc one is on sale right now at crappy tire for $225 from $300 CDN.

I see a lot of the instructions for these units say to attach the humidistat on the return ducting. That be kind of a pain as this is in a crawl space and don't want to keep changing settings due to outdoor temp.
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Old 10-17-2015, 01:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r.mills View Post
Ya I have a water softener in house. So think just one of the cheaper units with the foam sleeve drum style be good enough. I can find one of them for $80 CDN while the rotary disc one is on sale right now at crappy tire for $225 from $300 CDN.

I see a lot of the instructions for these units say to attach the humidistat on the return ducting. That be kind of a pain as this is in a crawl space and don't want to keep changing settings due to outdoor temp.
Most of the stats that come in the kits are built for return mounting (that's the best place for them and you don't have to run lots of wire)... but you can get the wall mount ones if you wish. They sell them at home depot or any other big box store... 20 bucks or so.
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Old 10-17-2015, 01:37 PM   #9
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I would NOT waste my time and good $$ on those $80 units. They have not made a decent drum humidifier for about 20-25 yrs. The motors are cheap and burn out. The floats are cheap and non adjustable. The plastic or tin body is soft and warps and the covers leak air. I would spend a few more $$ and get a decent Aprilaire. Howver I don't know where you get them easily in Canada for non Pros. May have to order it Amazon and get it from the US.
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Old 10-17-2015, 07:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
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The floats are cheap and non adjustable.
You sure are a scare monger! Want to add to it a scare people over add-a-wire systems too
The floats, and water height is adjustable. Never had a problem with a warped lid, and haven't burned out a motor in 4 years.

They sure are not the most expensive things in the world. You have that right, but at 80 bucks for the entire machine... it does a good job. The usable surface area on a drum is big enough so that you can even humidify with no heat (just fan).

Last edited by Bob Sanders; 10-17-2015 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 10-17-2015, 08:28 PM   #11
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Drums are high maintenance, need at least monthly cleanings.
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:31 PM   #12
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I can't use 1 of them cascading water ones that waste bunch of water down the drain though as this is in a crawl space with no floor drains.

So I guess my options are an el cheapo drum, the desert spring drum with the plastic discs, or the new one I learned about today the Aprilaire 400 which looks to be same as cascading style with a shutoff float in sump and a wicking style pad.

Hmmmmmmmm
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:41 PM   #13
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Years ago Wait Skuttle made very good drum humidifiers with actual floats that were adjustable and a horseshoe rubber plug that could be replaced or turned around. They had sturdy bodies. Then they got sold to someone and became Wait. Went with a cheap solid float that had no adjustment other than bending a rod and a tiny seat to shut off the water. The lid became very thin and if the unit did not sit perfectly level would pop out as it had no thumbscrews.That is what you get for $80. It may work but you could not give me one. No scaremongering just the truth of how they dumbed down the quality. Very little demand for them as most people use the flow thru type.

You could drain one into your condensate pump and it may shorten it's life a bit but at least you would have a decent humidifier. Buy a spare condensate pump as they are not expensive. They do not have to drain a lot of water if setup properly.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Went with a cheap solid float that had no adjustment other than bending a rod and a tiny seat to shut off the water.
You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. First you said they are non adjustable and now you're saying you have to adjust by bending a rod. If you're going to make up stories then at least make them so they jive with each other.

The one I have has no metal rod to bend. It is adjusted with a set screw. It adjusts an off center cam to move the seat further or closer to the float. Granted it is a cheap float system... but it works.

While it is true that the bodies are no longer solid, it works to an advantage. The tray is easier to remove for cleaning.

Flow-throughs present less cleaning maintenance but waste more water and don't work very well without heat. The surface area on a drum makes them more efficient not only with heat but also in a fan only mode. The downside is that they need regular cleaning, and they frankly suck if you don't do it. (most people don't)

Last edited by Bob Sanders; 10-17-2015 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yuri View Post
You could drain one into your condensate pump and it may shorten it's life a bit but at least you would have a decent humidifier. Buy a spare condensate pump as they are not expensive. They do not have to drain a lot of water if setup properly.
so that's now 50 bucks for an extra pump, and 40 bucks a year for pads, and a higher water bill all just to avoid 15 minutes cleaning time per month. Am I getting this right?

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Very little demand for them as most people use the flow thru type.
Strange because you see them as regularly stocked items at Rona, Home depot, Canadian Tire.....

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Last edited by Bob Sanders; 10-17-2015 at 10:46 PM.
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