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Humidification with Oil Furnance and Pellet Stove (Should I do a whole house humidifier?)

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by btanoue, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. btanoue

    btanoue New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    CT
    Hi,

    I have oil forced air and we also use a pellet stove in the family room.
    The room with the stove has a vaulted celling with a celing fan.
    Its a colonial style house.

    In the winter it gets really dry! So last year I bought a stand alone humidifier that didn't do such a good job in our 3000 sqft home.

    1. I figure more humidity would maybe help the heat travel further in the house.
    2. My hardwood floors would be happier.
    3. I won't have to burn as much because it will feel warmer.

    Questions:
    1. I'm thinking of adding a whole house humidifier so when the oil kicks in at night while we are sleeping, it would add humidity in the house.
    I understand that the aprilaire 500-700 series might be a good fit, but it only runs on the cold return when the furnace is on.
    We also have the furnance on a timer for the early morning too for downstairs as well. It runs for about an hour or so.
    Does this make sense?

    Any other suggestions, I really need to increase the humidity this year, last year was tough.

    Thank You,
    btanoue

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  2. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Adding humidity also improves the heat feel. Think of a 80ºF summers day with low humidity. No too bad. Add some high humidty and your cursing it feels so dang hot IMHO.

    Not sure adding the humidifier to the furnace will do the job if only on for short periods? I would assume a larger humidifier or multiple units would do just as good a job. Its also like heat, Once the level gets low. You need lots more to get the level back up. The more volume you have the quicker the reaction. Once its back up to the comfort level you only need to maintain it.
  3. nhredbird

    nhredbird Member

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    I've had many whole house humidifiers over the years on our furnace.
    Never been impressed.
    The high temp at the furnace i think is the culprit.
    I have had better results with multi-units in differant rooms.
    These run all day & night.
    This will be our 1 st year with the pellet stove, i'll start with 2-of???
  4. GrahamInVa

    GrahamInVa Minister of Fire

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    Eastern, Virginia
    I have a whole house humidifer that is attached to my ductwork. When the humidity falls below the set level it turns the ductwork circulation fan on and runs until the set humidity is reached. I will have to say it has worked very well but I have always used it with my heat pump w/ gas backup to heat my house. This year will be the first time with the pellet stove. But I don't forsee any issues. It may run a little more though. I run the humidity around 40% and it does make the house feel much warmer. It also helps with static electricty and dry skin.
  5. Nicholas440

    Nicholas440 Feeling the Heat

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    Northeast Oh
    I have a ranch style home, all on ground level, and I use 2 large humidifiers , I have one at each end of the house. They hold 8 gallons of water each and they do a great job. I dont have to add water to them except maybe about every 4 days usually and thats in the real dry months like Jan, and Feb..... I had a humidier on my furnace, but since I added the Quadrafire Castile insert my furnace does not fun until its about 15 degrees outside, so I decided to just use 2 stand alone units and I really love it... humidity makes everyone feel good including the furniture and the hardwood floors.
  6. btanoue

    btanoue New Member

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    CT
    Nicholas440,

    What model Humidifier did you end up with? I've been researching all over, and the reviews are kinda mixed. Also how many sqft are you trying to humidify?

    GrahamInVa,
    So for the whole house humidifier to run, you must be passing warm heated air by it right?
    So I would have to burn some oil to bring up the humidity correct?

    Thanks,
    btanoue
  7. GrahamInVa

    GrahamInVa Minister of Fire

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    Eastern, Virginia
    You don't need to burn oil to bring the humidity up. You just need to run the fan. Mine is all wired together. So when the humidifier calls just the fan comes on. Oviously, sometimes the heat pump and humidifier run at the sametime.

    Mine is made by American Standard.

    Last year i estimated I was using between 5-10 gallons of water a day. My house is 2400 sq ft.

    There are some steam units out there that are supposed to work really well.
  8. flynfrfun

    flynfrfun Minister of Fire

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    Bonney Lake, WA
    I've been using a Lasko 1128 whole house humidifier for my 1900sf 2 story house. It is easy to fill with water and does a good job. I just run it on low fan speed and set the humidity level I want and it switches on/off as needed. Replacement filters are cheap (something like $4ea.) and I only go thru 1 or 2 per heating season.
    Flynfrfun
  9. nhredbird

    nhredbird Member

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    I like the idea of a whole house humidifier that turns on only the fan (no heat) when calling for humidity?
    Can you post the model number and better discription of how its wired.
    This is also good for circulating the heat from the pellet stove through out the house when it does kick in.
  10. GrahamInVa

    GrahamInVa Minister of Fire

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    It is a Aprilaire model 700. It has a american standard sticker on it but apparently it is made by Aprilaire.

    The wiring in pretty simple. It will also depend on the thermostat you have on your existing system.

    This is what I have.

    Honeywell Prestige thermostat which has built in controls for a humidifier system.

    There are two wires that run from the humidifier to the thermostat. Touch these two wires together and the humidifier turns on. Those wires hook into the thermostat. When the stat calls on the humidifier it knows it also needs to turn the circulation fan on.

    Pretty much that's all. The integrated thermostat makes it a little easier and also allows the humidifier to come on even if the heat is not on.
  11. nhredbird

    nhredbird Member

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    Southern, NH
    I,m running the Aprilaire 400 humidifier now.
    Also have Apriliare control board for 2-zone thermosats.
    The stats are Robertshaw programable.
    I,ll look into the 700 series.
  12. btanoue

    btanoue New Member

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    CT
    Hi,

    Was thinking about the whole house humidifier today.

    If I run it without the furnance running, won't the humidity condense on the cold metal duct work?
    Would this cause mold or bacteria growth?

    Thanks,
    btanoue
  13. GrahamInVa

    GrahamInVa Minister of Fire

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    No more than your a/c does on hot duct work in the summer.
  14. ironman70

    ironman70 Member

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    Loc:
    Genoa, OH
    Any suggestions about dealing with hard water and humidifiers? I seem to go through at least two wicks a winter because of all the scale that builds up.
  15. shortlid

    shortlid Member

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    Derry, NH
    For how simple the whole house fee standing humidifers are the are very expensive. Just a batton forme dinto a convayer belt that is dipped in water then a fan blows accoss cost $150!! Anyone use the cast iron humidifiers on top of there pellet stoves?
  16. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Not many pellet stoves get hot enough to steam off water like a wood stove does.
  17. GrahamInVa

    GrahamInVa Minister of Fire

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    I have the same issues. I installed a water softener and air injection system(for the sulfur smell) this summer. Problem solved..

    Not sure how your humidifier is setup but you may be able to put a small softener in the line?
  18. btanoue

    btanoue New Member

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    Hi,

    I called my heating contractor, and went with the Aprilaire 700 with digital humidistat.
    Install is Friday.

    I do have a wire system.
    Heat
    Cooling
    Common.

    I doubt I can control it from my upstairs, but I figure the warmer air with humidity will move through the house.
    We also do run the oil furnance in the mornings and at night.

    I'll try to remember to write an update as it gets colder.
    If I don't someone reply to this post and when I see it, I'll respond.

    GrahmInVA,
    You make an excellent point. I totally did not think about that.


    btanoue
  19. GrahamInVa

    GrahamInVa Minister of Fire

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    Great! The installer will probably run a relay off your positive circulation fan wire. This way the humidifier will only turn on when the fan is running. This was how mine was wired before I upgraded to the integrated
    thermostat.

    Side note... I pulled the cover off my Aprilaire 700 last night to check the filter/pad. Everything looked new besides a little bit on scale buildup on the pad. No mold anywhere, even up in duct work.
  20. btanoue

    btanoue New Member

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    GrahamInVa,

    Can you explain what you mean by the upgradted integrated thermostat?
    That sounds ideal.

    I have to go in to the basement and switch my system from heating mode to cooling mode or off.
    My hvac blower has a switch with either on, off, or auto.

    To turn heat on, I have to switch the system to HEAT and keep the hvac blower on auto.

    Any ideas on an upgrade?

    Btanoue
  21. GrahamInVa

    GrahamInVa Minister of Fire

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    The thermostat controls everything (honeywell prestige), heat, cool, blower/fan, and humidifier. But i have a high efficiency heat pump that is only about 5 years old. I'm not sure if your system would work like this or not since you have some separate controls on the unit. It would be best to ask the HVAC guy. They may have some suggestions.

    http://yourhome.honeywell.com/home/Products/Thermostats/7-Day-Programmable/Prestige.htm

    [​IMG]
  22. btanoue

    btanoue New Member

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    GrahmInVa,

    Man, at first I thought I was looking at an Iphone screen shot.
    Very cool. I will ask the HVAC guys when they get here on Friday about this.
    My guess is that they would need to retrofit the control board for the zoning in my house.
    Might end up being a next year project if its pricey.

    Thanks for the pict though. Its very cool.
    I also like the outdoor temp on there.

    btanoue
  23. GrahamInVa

    GrahamInVa Minister of Fire

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    it has tons of cool features.. might as well be a iphone. would be cooler if it had wifi and I could control it on the web! lol

    I paid $200 for it. And sold my previous stat on ebay for $50.
  24. edwinjk

    edwinjk New Member

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    Loc:
    Southern Ohio
    Hey Guys:
    I have installed a few hunidifers & the April - Aire is a good choice & you can get the replacement pad @ Home Depot. I prefer the Herrmidfier 50 which is spray type humidifer that
    has an oil type nozzle. It is approximately 6" x 6" & fits almost anywhere & they will cost about $100. This humidifer is not recommended for a heat pump system because the temp does not get
    hot enough to evaporate the water.
    Forgot to tell that the pad @ Home Depot is anti-microbial & the pne from the mfg is not, at least when installed one earlier ths year.
  25. btanoue

    btanoue New Member

    Joined:
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    CT
    Hello Everyone,

    I had the Arilaire 700 installed in my duct work last week.
    I had them install the digital humidistat that has the probe for the outside temperature.
    It also uses hot water to my surprise. I like this model because there is no pan for water to collect and create bacteria and mold.
    A friend of mine has the pan drum style and his gets nasty.

    The furnace blower kicks in here and there during the day and night. Maybe for 3-5 mins.
    I think its trying to check the humidity.

    I also purchased a humidistat from Amazon to monitor the humidiy in the room where the pellet stove is located.
    There seems to be about a 10% difference. The furnance at this moment says 60% and the Pellet stove room says 48%.
    I did run the stove from about 6AM-830AM. I'm not quite sure what this means yet. There is also a large return in this room, so the air is getting back.
    Any ideas?

    Here are some early obverstaions. Also its early in the season, and I tend to kick on the stove in the morning for about two hours to take the chill off.
    We also use oil forced air on the 2nd floor to warm it up before we get out of bed.

    As expected when the oil furnance kicks on it seems to really dry the air.
    I've seen the reading on the humidistat on the furnance drop to about 32%.
    The humidifier kicks on and you really can tell the difference with moist air.
    It feels warmer at the same temperature. Which is to be expected.

    When the stove is on, and mind you its only on a few hrs a day at this point,
    I hear the furnance blower kick on and off sporadically, but have not been able to catch the humidifier on.
    Also it seems the humidity is about 54% on the furnance humididstat.

    I think I have to see what happens as we get colder and the heat is on more often.

    I'll try to update. If I don't, just reply to this thread and when I see the email in my inbox I'll update you all.

    btanoue

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