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Anyone have any experience with Honeywell TrueSteam Whole House Humidifiers

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by CT-Mike, Nov 19, 2008.

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  1. CT-Mike

    CT-Mike Minister of Fire

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    I am looking to install one of these and run the FHA system in fan only mode to help re-humidify the air.

    Any thoughts?

    Mike

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  2. bbeals

    bbeals Member

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    Nice piece of equipment, I have had my eye on one shortly after I put in an AprilAire. Will most likely swap it out for the Honeywell, as it has got to be more efficient (meaning more humidification with short blower cycle time). Anyway, if you are springing for that unit, I would suggest looking into the Honeywell Vision Pro IAQ thermostat to run the thing. Nice control that will engage your blower when you have a call for humidity. I have two of the IAQ's (two zones) runs humidification, heat pump (on the cold mornings, when the stove has dwindled), and god help it if it ever turns on my oil burner :). Also gives you nice stats like outdoor air temp, duct air temp, etc...Good luck and let us know what you think of the TrueSteam.
  3. CT-Mike

    CT-Mike Minister of Fire

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    BI,

    What is the difference between the VisionPro IAQ and the TrueIAQ control systems? I have tried looking around on Honeywell's site for the manuals and haven't had much luck.

    I found the HM509VPIAQ online for $470, called the local plumbing supply joint and they want over a grand. Unbelievable markup.

    My house is about 1900 sq ft, so it seems the 9 GPD model would be more than adequate.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Mike
  4. bbeals

    bbeals Member

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    I have not heard of the TrueIAQ, although; I did find the Vision Pro IAQ with the EIM (Equipment Information Module) for $182 at the following link: http://www.simplyplumbing.com/honeywell-yth9421c-1002.html Honeywell might have a comparison chart on their website to walk you through the differences, I do know that the Vision Pro IAQ is the most advanced that Honeywell sells (can be a good and a bad thing depending who is configuring and using). We like it.

    Anyway, if you go with it, it does come complete with a users and installation manual. It's pretty simple to setup.
  5. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Hmm, haven't seen that one yet. I think Scuttle has had a steam humidifier on the market for a while that is similar, but it isn't real popular. Keep in mind that it has an electric heating element that pulls about 1000 watts; much more than the furnace fan. It's rated at 9 GPD.

    I think it's hard to beat an Aprilaire. Mine uses about 100 watts and is capable of 18 GPD and can be had on E-bay for less than $250. The only drawback to them is the constant trickle of water that goes through them when they are running. If you have hard water, you are not going to like cleaning out the steam humidifier.

    Check out E-bay # 350127787998 I won't post the link 'cause it makes the thread go all widescreen and hard to read. I don't sell them, either.

    Chris
  6. bbeals

    bbeals Member

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    I would agree that hard water will cause maintenance issues, but it does that for both the AprilAire and the steam unit. When you compare 9 GPD on steam, you are putting a solid 9 gallons into the air. With aprilaire, less than 25% of that 18 gallons make it into the air with most of it going down the drain. I have not owned one, but I am intrigued by the concept. I too am not thrilled about the electric element to generate the steam, but then again, I am not thrilled about a dry house and cracked floors either. I think they both have their place, but we have the largest aprilaire on the market and it cannot hold 40% humidity in our house.
  7. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    I think you are misunderstanding the ratings. The 18 gal figure is what is actually put into the air at a 120F plenum temperature. It actually consumes more like 100 gallons/day of water. Yes, it's wasteful, but they usually work very well. If you need more than 18 GPD, you have some serious infiltration problems in your house.

    Part of the problem is that you need heat to evaporate the moisture. This heat has to come from somewhere. At lower temperatures (heat pumps), it is a common trick to connect the Aprilaire to a hot water line close to the water heater. It will up your DHW cost, but I guarantee it will put a LOT more moisture into the air. It isn't really that wasteful as the heat goes into the airstream and the water going down the drain is cool to the touch. In our house, the furnace rarely runs and I have to turn on the fan if I want to add humidity. At full bore, I can push the humidity over 40% and have my glasses fogging up when I come in from outside in the winter. I'm pretty sure that means that it is working...

    I've scraped out a lot of humidifiers in my day and would much rather toss a pad when it gets plugged. On my 700, it takes about 5 minutes, no tools and costs less than $10/year.

    Just my .02

    Chris
  8. bbeals

    bbeals Member

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    Ah, see you are assuming that my 700 could have been mounted on the hot air side. It actually wouldn't fit, so it is on the cold air return and I do have my hot water running to it. The house is a brand new 3000 sq/ft colonial (very tight). Just have a good deal of air volume and the cold air return installation is not ideal (although recommended by the manufacturer). This is our 4th aprilaire and generally we have been satisfied with them (when I have been able to put it on the hot air plenum), I just believe that pumping steam directly into the system will produce better results, especially given that the heat pump doesn't run due to the stove, so the even lowers my duct air temp even further.
  9. CT-Mike

    CT-Mike Minister of Fire

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    I am looking to burn no oil this year at all (except what is needed for the oil-fired hot water heater) so an AprilAire type unit won't really work for me. Seems wasteful to me to use HW to feed a humidifier. That is why I looked into the steam units, and the Honeywell looks like it will fill the bill quite nicely. I plan to wire it so that the humidifier will force the furnace blower, and I am hoping that it will help distribute warm air from the stove throughout the home since the main return register is 10' from the stove.

    Thanks for the info,

    Mike
  10. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Your original question was looking for experience with the H'well. I checked into it a little further and found that it was introduced late last year. I can't find anything negative on it, but it hasn't been around long enough to have a track record. It does have a 5 year warranty.

    Using hot water in a drain type humidifier only wastes water, but not much energy. I wouldn't recommend one for people in areas with water issues, but on the East coast, water is usually plentiful and cheap. I've measured my 700 at about 5 gal/hr and this is not an insignificant amount of water, but is probably less than my neighbor uses in a year to water his grass. The water coming out of my humidifier is actually cooler than the air going through it and it's going in at 100 degrees so that heat isn't really wasted.

    BI, I know what you mean by the humidifier cooling off the heat pump. My humidifier cools the air by about 5-10 degrees when it is running, even with hot water going into it. This is proof that it is doing something. I actually have it on a timer to cut it off in the early AM to help out the heat pump a little. Try a little experiment before you go out and spend 5 bills on the H'well: crank up your water heater. Most people have theirs set to 110-120 for energy savings. I know from experience that if you feed an Aprilaire 150 degree water, they really put out the humidity. Obviously be careful to warn the family about the very hot water and reconsider my suggestion if you have young children. Run it this way continuously for a week and see if you don't have water dripping from your windows. I can make a double pane window sweat in cold weather by doing this. If you are happy with the results, install a tempering valve to the rest of the house, or install a separate 6 gallon electric water heater for the humidifier. You will get better performance and less maintenance than from a steam humidifier at less cost than buying the Honeywell.

    I have run across just about every kind of humidifier, both residential and commercial (computer rooms, labs, hospitals). They vary from a simple nozzle squirting air into the airstream (bad) to live steam and clean steam systems some of them even gas fired. All have their issues and drawbacks, most of them concerning the minerals that are left behind after the water evaporates. I have had the least complaints on the Aprilaire. Using electricity to evaporate water is done commercially, but almost never with an electric resistance element. They are too maintenance intensive. If you really want humidity, you are going to have to pay for it, usually with some energy consumption involved. That 9 gpd Honeywell will cost you about $100 a month running flat out and 9 gpd really isn't a lot of humidity in most homes.

    Just an informed opinion
    Chris
  11. bbeals

    bbeals Member

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    Chris,

    I appreciate your insight and I also agree on many points. With two teenagers, we keep the water piping hot to keep from running out. We are seeing better performance this season than last with the aprilaire mainly due to changing out the furnace controls. Last year when I installed the unit we did not have the wood stove and relied on 125K BTU oil furnace that never cycled for more than a few minutes given the amount of heat it would generate quickly. In that environment we had to run the fan when things got dry, however; our old controls would not cycle the fan on and off when the humidifier called for humidity; therefore, it probably did not run near enough. When we installed the heat pump in the spring I changed out the controls to the ProVision IAQ's which will turn on the blower when the aprilaire calls for humidity. I also did not put a lot of consideration into super heating 9 GPD and releasing that into the air. I suppose the $100 / month is not an unrealistic assumption. Given the recent drop in temps and the humidity holding at 40%, we are going to hold off on steam for now and see how the 700 works this winter.
  12. bsimon

    bsimon New Member

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    Mike, I think you're on to something. In a quick search, I haven't found a ton of information on the product, as it was new last spring. Last winter I was looking at doing the same thing with our air handler - we have hot water heat, so the air handler usually is only used for the a/c. Most whole-house humidifiers are designed to work with forced-air furnaces & won't perform very well running in an air handler. It looks like this steam system is the right solution. There are a couple threads on installing them at: http://forum.doityourself.com/humidifiers-dehumidifiers-130/
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