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Old 08-21-2008, 01:57 PM   #1
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Humidifier Questions


Hi -

I need help selecting a furnace humidifier. I have an 80% gas Heil that was installed last summer by the previous owner, but there is no humidifier and last winter was very dry in my house (around 20% most of the time). The house was built in '73 and is about 2000 sf including the finished basement...it is not a "tight" house. There is not much extra space available on the supply side for a humidifier due to the A/C coil and exhaust vent location.

Looking through the posts the main recommendations seem to be either a by-pass unit or steam based unit.

What type should I choose and is there a big difference between the brands? Is Aprilaire a good choice? Can I trust the sizing recommendations the manufacturers have listed for their products? I have access to a drain so that is not an issue but I donít want to waste an obscene amount of water either.

Thanks!

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Old 08-21-2008, 07:49 PM   #2
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Humidifier Questions


Most humidifiers are mounted on the return duct. Aprilaire is a very good choice, thier flow through models really dont waste that much water. Take into consideration the energy required to convert water into steam, and the added expense of maintanence for a steam generator. Remember any minerals in your water will coat the heating elements as the water boils, and need constant attention depending on your water quality.

Flow through also require that the pad be replaced on a regular basis, again, depending on the quality of your water. A 5 or 6in duct from the supply duct forces warm dry air through a wet pad from which moisture is absorbed, then distributed to your home. Again any minerals will be left on the pad as the water evaporates. Believe me, its a lot easier to replace a pad than to clean an electric heating element.

I have rarely seen a steam generator on a home your size.

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Old 08-22-2008, 06:50 AM   #3
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I agree with 8 Ball. I've installed Aprilaire a bunch of times when I worked for an HVAC co. I like their model 700 series for a 2000 sq ft house. It has it's own blower fan & requires a 120V outlet, but doesn't need the bypass air from the supply to the return. If the furnace (on/off) switch is close enough (where it should be), I usually replace it with a switch/receptacle combo and plug the humid into that.
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Old 08-22-2008, 03:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info and the good tip about splitting the furnace switch.

One of the reasons I was considering a steam model is b/c they can be mounted off the ductwork. My utility room is not laid out very well and the gas water heater is smack up against the return side. I'll have to move it and replumb in order to install a humidifer, but it is 21 years old so I think it could stand to be replaced. I don't think the extra work cleaning a heating element and the additional electricity needed for a steam unit is worth it.

If I choose a humidifier that has a digital control capability is it possible to control it from upstairs via a digital thermostat/humidistat combination?

I think I saw someone mention here that Ritetemp makes one? I have a Ritetemp digital T-stat now and could change it out if this setup would work. I think I have a couple extra wires on my T-stat wire that goes through the wall, but I'll have to look for certain.

Last edited by detailedEye; 08-22-2008 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 10-10-2008, 04:07 PM   #5
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Guys we have a very small house, 800 sq ft and I cannot figure out the difference between all of these humidifiers. I don't think we want anything too fancy, probably just a manual system that lets us set the humidity. We have forced hot air and it gets very dry and uncomfortable in the winter. Also, since the humidity is not an issue in the summer, I was thinking of hooking up the hot water line, hoping this would make it feel warmer as well.

I have read that the humidifier should ideally be on the "heat" end of the system, but I am not sure how I would do this. The furnace hooks directly into a large trunk where the branches go out from.
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:23 PM   #6
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Just a point to remember if placing a recepticle in a basement for that humidifier. If it is a finished basement you can use a standard recepticle but if it is an unfinished basement the receprticle must be ground fault per National Electric Code.
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:09 PM   #7
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Thanks it will actually be in an unfinished attic. I think, just to note, the Aprilaire 400 is going to work for me as it does not require a drain.
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by detailedEye View Post
Hi -

I need help selecting a furnace humidifier. I have an 80% gas Heil that was installed last summer by the previous owner, but there is no humidifier and last winter was very dry in my house (around 20% most of the time). The house was built in '73 and is about 2000 sf including the finished basement...it is not a "tight" house. There is not much extra space available on the supply side for a humidifier due to the A/C coil and exhaust vent location.

Looking through the posts the main recommendations seem to be either a by-pass unit or steam based unit.

What type should I choose and is there a big difference between the brands? Is Aprilaire a good choice? Can I trust the sizing recommendations the manufacturers have listed for their products? I have access to a drain so that is not an issue but I donít want to waste an obscene amount of water either.

Thanks!
Ok house built in 73 would be considered a moderately
tight house.

Aprilaire 550 or a Skuttle 2000 would satisfy your needs completely.
In this Case you would not consider the finished basement as part of the humidity load. The cold air return would be a good location for either.

The big problem with humidity is that a great number of times a replacement furnace will be too large for the home and the humidifier does not have enough 'On" time to put sufficient moisture into the air.

That is why I always hook the water line to the hot water side of the plumbing. If the furnace is too big then running the fan in the "ON" position will move air over the the hot water and still humidify the home off the heat of the hot water with out turning on the furnace.


You must also keep the thermostat at a minium of 70* to allow proper operation of the humidifier.
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcampbell View Post
Thanks it will actually be in an unfinished attic. I think, just to note, the Aprilaire 400 is going to work for me as it does not require a drain.
I just purchased the Aprilaire 400A this week (installing tomorrow actually). Though it does not require a drain it does have an Overflow drain line.

Step #12 in the Owner's manual states the following.
Quote:
Under normal operation the overflow drain line will never have water in it. However, inspect it for mineral deposits and replace if necessary. Make sure the drain line has a constant downward slope and is not flattened or blocked.
Not sure if I'm allowed to do this or not but the placed I ordered it online (http://www.alpinehomeair.com/) will price match other website prices and even includes technical support and a dvd with some installation videos. Turns out the video shows the install of the Aprilaire 700A and is not a bypass unit. Though still helpful.

Best of luck.
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Old 10-27-2008, 12:40 PM   #10
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Humidifier Questions


I'm finally getting around to adding a humidifier and have some follow up questions to my original post...

I like the idea of not putting a hole in my supply because I don't have much room to work in my furnace room, so I'm planning on using a powered model. The install instructions for the Aprilaire 700 indicate installing in the supply side is preferred but if installed on the return side it should be connected to Hot water.

I understand why it is suggesting this, the hot water will evaporate more easily than cold water...but it has a fan, so is hot water really necessary? Have you guys seen any issues putting this model on a return and using cold water? I've also looked at the Honeywell HE365B and it doesn't recommend install on the return side at all. Am I going to have problems with either of these units on the return side?

My furnace runs a fair amount in the winter so I'm not too concerned with it not running long enough to put humidity into the air as someone else had mentioned.
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Old 10-27-2008, 04:32 PM   #11
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About all I can say is that I have installed AprilAire 700's on both supply and return sides. I've only hooked up to the hot water on these units...the water heaters were close enough. Both supply & return installs worked great...but I don't know about using the cold water...haven't done it. I still would suggest using the hot if possible.
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:43 PM   #12
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I'v had issues with with some Aprilaire humids in the past and invariably it was a water heater problem. Things like a bad gas control, WH set to lowest setting, disintegrated dip tube.

All led to the same result, the hot water ran out and the humidifier was getting cold water intermittently and not working per spec.

So, yes, hot water is very important on an Aprialaire.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:20 AM   #13
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If you put a Aprilaire 700 on the return, and don't connect to the hot water line.
You won't get enough moisture to know its there.

But it makes a great conversation piece if you install it like that.

To everyone installing a humidifier.
If you install seals on your receps, and switches that are on outside walls, and caulk around your windows and replace worn door seals. You won't need to add much moisture(if any). Plus you will save on your heating and cooling bill.

Put your money where it gives a return first.

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