Our home’s heating system is extremely dry but I have had very bad luck with humidifiers (neither of the two previous humidifiers we had lasted more than a year). Can you provide some guidance for choosing a humidifier?
Humidifiers are important to keeping the inside of your home comfortable and are strongly recommended if your home is heated by forced hot air, which is the most common and driest type of heating system. Keeping the air moist with a humidifier not only makes you more comfortable, but will also help lower your heating bills because moist air retains heat better than dry air.
I'm not surprised to hear that you have had bad luck with humidifiers, though. In the 20 years I spent as a professional home inspector, I frequently found them in all levels of disrepair. There are basically three types of humidifiers to choose from: flow-through, drum and spray. Drum humidifiers have rotating parts that frequently break down and since water collects in the pan under them, they can also breed mold.
Spray units aren't much better as they spray water directly into the air above the furnace, where it often drips down and causes rust damage to the furnace. The best type is flow-through, in which water trickles over a coil and evaporates into the warm air. Better flow-through humidifiers, like those from Aprilaire, even include computerized controls that measure inside and outside temperatures and calculate just the right amount of humidity based on current weather conditions. For more information on choosing a flow-through humidifier, go to www.aprilaire.com.
Its not the humidifiers fault for having difficulties in longevity or performance. Its the home leaking air.
During the winter months your home looses its moisture to the dry air outside. As this happens we try to increase this moisture level by putting in these units.
They do save money by making us feel warmer with additional moisture in the air, but they also can contribute to mold and poor indoor air quality if they are left to run all the time in an effort to keep the house moist.
You need to look further into your homes performance. A professional home energy audit can help you find where the air is leaking out from and show you ways not only to stop this loss of moisture that you need, but to lower your overall heating expenses as well.
Locate a BPI home energy audit professional and get a performance evaluation done. This will save you money, increase your comfort and help solve your dry home concerns.,